Bluebloc can create a new design for your website as a standalone project or as part of a more extensive web development endeavour.
Bluebloc has experience in designing many different types of website from small brochure sites to web presences for large public bodies with significant membership needs and ecommerce facilities. Big or small each project is given careful consideration and engages in a similar process:
Successful companies use online experience to support and grow their businesses. Clients approach us with interesting ideas for new online business and products. The goal is always to enhance their customer's experience and add profit to the organisation. Bluebloc knows how to utilise the web to achieve this.
The first stage in any web design project is the creation of a wireframe structure for the website through which the navigational architecture is mapped out and essential infomation is highlighted. This wireframe is achieved through extensive consulation with our client.
What we find out at this stage is exactly what our client needs the website to do, what it expects from it, what should be foregrounded in particular contexts and how it would wish navigational elements to function. This serves as the functional specification of the website. Building on this information Bluebloc will produce a modular wireframe system, the elements of which can be easily switched and moved around, creating a complete picture and map of the website before any actual design work is done.
We can then start designing, and can either deliver full design templates, based on your brand identity, for further external development or can create CSS / xHTML templates as the first output of a larger development project undertaken by ourselves.
Whether it's a Content Management System, Flash animations or enhanced rich media interactivity you require, bluebloc can deliver.
One a design has been agreed we can begin developing the website. Through a consultative process with the client, specific features and facilities for each area of the site will be decided upon, which could include, amongst other things:
- Ecommerce facilities
- Audio Content
- Video Content, either hosted on the website's server or hosted by a third party such as YouTube
- Rich media content to impart information in an engaging and memorable way
- Interactive Photo Galleries
- Jquery interactivity
We then create fully validated and accessible CSS/xHTMl templates incorporating these features. The website will function well on all platforms and in all browsers. Any potential media content such as video will be properly processed and presented to ensure maximum visibility.
The next stage involves the application of an appropriate Content Management System (CMS). Bluebloc's CMS of choice is ExpressionEngine with which we have successfully developed a number of websites, both large and small, although we can work with any CMS of your choice.
We find that the advantage of ExpressionEngine is that it combines an extremely scalable publishing tool alongside a powerful and extremely flexible template engine that gives you complete control over the look and feel of your site. These templates can be combined in whatever way you choose to create a coherent site that still retains enough flexibility to adapt to differing content.It offers blog and commenting facilities as well as easy integration of news feeds, streaming video, advanced form integration and membership modules.
social media & other features
Given the rise in adoption of online social networking, bluebloc feels it essential to engage the audience and increase awareness through these channels.
Facebook has given the opportunity for businesses to harness the power of a 500+ million user-base. Custom branded "Landing Tabs" and flexible purpose driven applications can help you stand out against your competitors and increase conversion.
Social media has emerged as the dominant force in the digital environment and provides several opportunities for orgainisations to achieve their objectives through online engagement.The main objective is to drive traffic to a website by creating a strong presence. In many cases this will involve setting up a fan page on these sites (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter etc) and using it as a content distribution channel. Consumers are increasingly influenced through activities that occur off traditional branded websites. As more consumers favour social media sites, brands are discovering more diffuse models of communication, engaging in conversations on social media platforms in order to drive the consumer to buy their product / service.
By creating a strong and dynamic presence in the online social sphere Bluebloc can help you engage people and encourage them to participate, comment, share and spread the word.
Search Engine Optimisation
In relation to Search Engine Optimisation, by designing the website according to the latest xHTML / CSS standards, Bluebloc can ensure that the website is as search engine friendly as possible. In addition ExpressionEngine automatically creates search engine optimised url / web address titles
for all articles. Bluebloc will also give careful consideration to the application of suitable meta tags (searchable keywords and descriptions), through the Better Meta Tags plugin for ExpressionEngine. The website will be registered with all major search engines.
Bluebloc is greatly experienced in creating e-newsletters that are viewable in all email clients. For distribution of any e-zines, you will have a choice of either ExpressionEngine's in-built newsletter module or a third party solution such as Mail Chimp (www.mailchimp.com) which is a very
powerful email distribution and tracking online service.
To track and store valuable statistical information regarding usage of the website, Bluebloc recommends Google Analytics. With the simple addition of a small piece of code on each page of your website Google Analytics will give you rich insights into your website traffic and marketing effectiveness. Powerful, flexible and easy-to-use features now let you see and analyze your traffic data with an online user-friendly dashboard, breaking down usership figures chronologically, geographically etc.
All our work is xHTML standards-based and so is, from the outset, designed with accessibility in mind.
To further ensure accessibilty we conduct an accessibility audit once the website is at testing stage. This audit provides a thorough analysis of the website's accessibility strengths and weaknesses and changes are made accordingly to ensure AA W3C and NDA / CEUD guideline compliancy.
The audit is carried out by our in-house accessibility specialists. In addition to the large number of human checks, a number of programs are utilised
during the audit:
- JAWS screen reader
- IBM Homepage Reader
- MAGic screen magnifier
- Lynx text-only browser
- Colour blind analyser
- HTML validator
The website is tested against best practice guidelines as set down by the W3C. The tests we carry out cover all special needs groups, such as blind, partially sighted, deaf, learning difficulties, the elderly, dyslexic and mobility impaired users.
Additionally, the accessibility evaluation adheres to specialist advice and recommendations as outlined by the EU, DDA, RNIB, BSI PAS 78 and DRC.
Ongoing accessibility evaluation health check
After we have implemented the changes from the web accessibility audit, we'll run an accessibility health check on your website 6 months after the initial web accessibility evaluation. This is to ensure that client changes made through the CMS over time have not affected accessibility standards. Accessibility is an iterative process so it's crucial that your site continues to maintain high standards of accessibility over time as it changes and grows.