When we started developing websites, back in 1997, it was relatively easy; create a basic design laid out in a table, check it on Internet Explorer and Netscape, and promote it in search engines by adding a handful of keywords hidden behind the scenes.
As we started offering commercial web design in Salisbury in 2001 things had evolved a little more, with different browser versions to check for and (W3C) standards commonly adhered to.
Now in 2013, web developers have far more to contend with, including a large variety of web browsers and versions, various smart phones and tablets, accessibility guidelines, coding standards, cutting edge browser technologies, advanced search engine algorithms, user interfaces, and the overall design.
Unfortunately creating a website that ticks all of these boxes can be extremely difficult, and so one of the hardest jobs for any web developer is juggling each of these aspects to provide the best solution for their clients and the end user.
Without getting too technical, I’d like to explain why this is so difficult. Consider firstly a website optimised for search engines; this will have, as well as other things, plenty of content and industry specific keywords. On the other hand consider a site that is designed to be minimal, simple and easy for the user to navigate; this may have only a little bit of well-placed content and plenty of graphics. Immediately we run in to a problem, one solution requires lots of text, and the other minimal text. There is of course a solution here, for example a blog or news system, but it is the first hurdle to overcome.
Secondly, many clients require their sites to be ‘interactive’, using the latest web-based technologies to produce effects or deliver results in a very modern way. Due to the nature of the technologies used these may only work on the latest web browsers, and so a consideration needs to be made for users using older web browsers, or those without the necessarily plugins. A fall-back system will need to be developed to allow the maximum possible amount of users to have a good browsing experience.
Finally smart phones and tablets; they have made our lives so much easier, but unfortunately add a dimension to the design and construction of a website. Have you ever hovered your mouse over an item on a website for something to happen such as a drop down menu or a pop up tip? You can’t do this on a mobile because they have a touch screen, you are either pressing the screen or you are not, there is no hover. Then we have the smaller screen size. Imagine squashing your website up so that it is only a couple of inches wide, how should this be displayed?
Of course I have only discussed a handful of elements working against each other where a solution without a compromise can usually be met. When a web developer considers all of the above at the same time, things can become very complicated and it becomes a juggling act to ensure that all aspects are considered and the website is made properly.
What sets web developers apart from others is their ability to juggle the various aspects of a website to minimise compromise and maximise the experience for the end users, whilst keeping the project on budget.
In order to make an effective end solution, it is important that the developers of each component have a working knowledge of the system as a whole. It is often counterproductive to use a specialist in just one field as their modifications could affect other areas. We have experience of this where, with complex websites, certain SEO (search engine optimisation) companies have suggested changes that would negatively impact on a website’s functionality; yes they may achieve a higher Google ranking, but this isn’t much use if the website doesn’t convert enquiries into sales.
At Webbed Feet UK our web developers do everything in house. We have a vast experience of website design, web development, browser compatibility, mobile websites and apps, website accessibility, user interfaces, current coding standards, search engine optimisation (SEO), cutting edge web technologies and, most importantly, working with them all together to create a website that delivers.
You can contact our Salisbury-based web development team at www.webbedfeetuk.com