The foundation package is just that – a platform (content management system). It will assist you to do just about anything you would ever want to do on the internet. It is highly scalable and fabulously flexible. Once it is up you can go almost any direction you want to move and it will work with you. The system is one developed out of decades of usability studies about what works effectively online. Why is that important? Simply put you can take advantage of the mistakes millions have made in trial and error. The distilled elements of this system utilises the online methods and systems which have been found to be highly used, effective, and profitable. It is the wisdom of crowds. It is the system they would have built 30 years ago if they already had all the answers.
It includes everything most businesses need to have a fabulous website with the bells, whistles, and the kitchen sink.
The starting point for every project is to implement the content management system; integrate a highly sophisticated design package which defines the menu structures (basic look and feel of the website); add the components that extend the features of the website to meet your needs; imbed the text, images, video, and illustrations to tell your story; test and edit the results; the client is trained how to use the system to manage it themselves; and then we support your use.
The principal things the foundation package includes are:
The process we use to deliver your initial development uses a rapid development model. The delivery is comparatively fast and intuitive to use. The underlying structure is one which is derived from the feedback of millions of users. Surprisingly most of the decisions you think you might need to make on “how” things will work are already defined and optimised. Once you have decided what functionality you want in the platform; and the general look and feel of the website – the majority of work is assembling the structures. Then like a clay statue the outward facing work begins. Through finesse, refinement, and practicality you help define the end product.
Foundation websites typically requires three things – a technology licensing package, twenty hours of development, and web hosting. In fact every other web development starts with this package too. It forms the foundation and basis for expansion for all of our modern, flexible, and search engine friendly websites. With over 10,000 additional modules that can be added to this platform it enables you to do almost anything reasonable on the web.
Interweaving purchases developer licenses for a wide variety of technology and designs which we use for our developments. Some of these licenses are unlimited usage; others are costed per website; some require support licenses; and other payment models. The professional design packages we use for foundation structures, design elements, and navigation require professional developer licenses. There are literally hundreds of technology providers we use. This requires us to manage the licensing and the storage of software from all these systems. Due to the difficulty in defining, billing, and managing these shared costs to individual clients we bill each client for an initial technology licensing cost of $530 ex gst. This covers the cost on all of the technology utilised to establish the initial development of your project. Only on very rare occasions where a highly specialised extension is required does the client have to contribute an additional cost. These are usually once off purchases for a single client.
The bulk of websites commercially produced are for small to medium enterprise (SME) businesses and most of these use common technology. Through the reuse of technology, extraordinary features and benefits can be gained for very little relative cost. Interweaving uses a process driven methodology to maximise value by creating your initial development using open source technologies, self administration, and rapid development prototyping. The focus is on producing 80% of the benefit for 20% of the cost at a rapid pace. The development time for the foundation package delivery is usually less than two weeks. It produces a website that has tremendous functionality, and features way beyond what most people would ever expect for the price. This stage of development is about producing immediate results, providing the client with a website that actually works for them - generating revenue, improving service, and reducing costs in their business.
The amount of time required for a foundation website is arbitrary. The requirements for each website are different. However, the amount of time is fairly consistent for a common website. The difference tends to be where the time is spent. Below is a guide on how that time is utilised:
Planning (2 hours) – as the adage goes if you don’t plan to succeed you plan to fail. Planning is important to define your outcome, choose the right design, and set your strategy. In rapid web development planning is largely restricted to what is called a requirements document. This document is an agreement of the base functionality that you want in your website, the design, and a list of the modules (extensions) that you want to be included. This is the framework of your project.
Engineering (1 hour) – to begin your project a place to work needs to be created (staged web hosting). The content management system that runs your website needs to be installed; a professional design package uploaded and configured; and any specialist hosting requirements taken care of. The administration and backup packages are also installed at this stage which ensures your website can be faster, more secure, and recoverable.
Configuration (1 hour) – in rapid web design modules and components that have been generically created for use in a wide variety of websites - are also reused in your project. At this stage all of the technology that runs the specific features for your website has been installed. On completion the engine and its associated parts are now in place for your project.
Navigation (1 hour) – navigation is the backbone structure of your website. Users only see one web page at a time, but they generally see most of the navigation on every page. Ensuring navigation is clear to each person using the website is fundamental to success. At this stage the structure of your website is implemented. A lot of the secret sauce of search engine optimisation is done when you setup the navigation and how you structure it. Setting this up can take some time.
Assembly (2 hours) – assembly is about moving things around. When the professional design package is installed the structures are a starting point with things “turned on” and in their default places. Assembly moves things to the various positions on the web pages where they belong. Some technology and graphics are turned off so you don’t see them anymore, and other technology is placed on the page where it wasn’t previously available. On more complex websites things like business directories, video libraries, shopping systems, social networks, and advertising components are enabled at this stage.
Design (4 hours) – design in modern web development tends to focus on change rather than raw creation. With professional design packages – it takes the designers around a month per design to create all of the structures and creatives to make the design package appear and work the way it does. Most clients neither have the time or funds to create these from scratch. Web designers take advantage of this packaged fundamental work by using it as the basis of new websites. However, virtually everything in any design package we use can be readily changed. At this stage the colours, fonts, logo, and anything else the client wants to change can be done. This might include new icons, diagrams, illustrations, buttons, advertisements, banners, or other custom graphics.
Programming (2 hours) - although rapid development now tries to reuse as much programming code as possible there is still generally a requirements for some custom programming. This time usually suffices for the average website.
Media (1 hour) – plain text websites are boring. At this stage the developers help you select images, videos, animations, slide shows, and more to inject life into your website. Most of these need to be formatted and edited to fit into the system. Times vary depending on how much media content is required.
Training (2 hours) - the framework is there, the body is on, everything is in its place and shiny – what are you missing? Mostly what is left is the integration of articles, text, and internal advertising. In order to do that the client administrator needs to learn how to use the system. This training teaches them how to add users, articles, images, navigation items, advertisements, listings, etc.
Editing (1 hour) – as most of our clients create, publish, and manage most of the content themselves - editing tends to be more of an opportunity to help clean up early errors and help guide our clients to avoid common web mistakes. When you are close to your project it is easy to get off the beaten track, energetically publish too much information, or become unfocused. When we edit material we tend to work with the client to correct their own issues so they don’t repeat the same mistakes.
Testing (1 hour) – testing is a technical review of ensuring that the website works in various browsers and operating systems. It is also a general review to ensure that everything looks the way it should, is focused on the achievable outcomes, and meets the project mission goals.
Support (2 hours) – although clients usually get the hang of formatting content, regularly updating the website, writing articles, interacting with website users, injecting images, and sending out marketing emails – sometimes they have a question or just need a little help. This time is allocated to ensure we can afford to patiently walk clients through the learning process.
As you can see by the graphic above the foundation development involves a wide variety of specialist tasks to get it off the ground and flying - then you are ready to soar! A strong feature of our technology is that these websites are fully self-administered. Using technology similar to a word processor, spreadsheets, and basic image tools - any high school graduate can manage the website. You can create articles, inject images, update time tables, post news articles, blog, send newsletters, and most common website tasks without the need of a third party. We provide you with a beautiful web design including an extrodianry array of features and functionality - after that it is just a question of what else you would like us to do and what you want to do yourself.
The foundation package has just about every bit of technology you will ever need to do most things online. It is only limited by what you can achieve within the hours of labour included and what you are willing to do yourself. If you use the initial package wisely you shouldn't require much help afterwards. The technology will give you the power to experiment and change as required.
Web design is about specialist knowledge, tools and experience. As a professional services firm we are paid by the hour. Part of this focus is that we utilise rapid development prototyping and the extensive reuse of technology to offer the greatest value in the shortest period of time. Our specialist knowledge allows us to generate a massive amount of value in a short period of time where our specialist knowledge is required. After that a lot of the common work like adding articles, images, and expanding the website is just as easily done by the client. Interweaving has a philosophy which is based on enabling our clients. By all means we help our clients in any effort they require. However, we prefer to "teach a man to fish" rather than to just constantly sell them fish.
Once the original development of your website is complete to train you how to administer and expand your website yourself. When you need us for advice, more complicated tasks, or just getting something done that is urgent - we are there.
The first step for everyone is usually the Foundation Package. 80% of businesses can get started with this package and it will open the world of the Internet to them with so many opportunities they won't believe the extrodinary value offered. It includes everything most businesses need to have a fabulous website with the bells, whistles, and the kitchen sink.
If you don't have time to explore, learn, and tinker with your new website and need help beyond the foundation package - Interweaving is here for you. The benefit of the Interweaving system is that you can get a fully functional e-commere, service, or operations website up and running in only a couple weeks. Then you can concentrate on improving the material on the website, uploading products, marketing to your customers, or whatever you desire. After you have adjusted to your new home, feel free to call us. Websites are about continuous improvements and enagement with your physical business. It is all very flexible. Below are some common additional packages that customers use to extend their websites and accelerate the integration into their businesses.
The online shop, shopping cart, and payment gateway technology is all included in the foundation package. This functionality can be setup as part of the foundation package or as a later addition. Common work involved to become ecommerce enabled includes layout, graphical editing, product setup, encryption, paypal integration, and importation of products. We work with you to give each product loving care and attention. The shopping facilities are very robust, but they still require specialist knowledge to setup and configure them. Interweaving offers a support package which includes everything required to make the shopping facility commercial ready with up to 100 products including graphics, descriptions, and editing. Clients are responsible for the production of the original images and ensuring they are copyright free.
It is now realistic to book appointments online for service providers, rental equipment, and limited resources. The service booking support package includes everything you need to provide top notch service to your customers online. Live website interaction, reservation systems, resource reservations, labour booking, and online service ecommerce. Paypal integration, sms support messaging, and limited iPhone integration are included. Book a hairdresser, reserve a piece of equipment, or rent an apartment online.
This package relates to everything you need to increase service quality, reduce operations costs, and improve sales. It includes setting up a versitile and diverse group of related programs. They include online quotations, sales funnel management, invoicing, client service area, project management facility, customer support ticketing system, and communication tools. If you really want to E-enable your business from an operations perspective this is the ticket - literally.
Do you enjoy your club? Do you want high engage community building? This is the community neworking package that gets you going. Facility setup helps you manage memberships, can support reoccuring charges, commuity rankings, and feedback. It includes the setup, troubleshooting, configuring and importing external community data to make your website fully community interactive. This is very similar to Facebook type functionality. Forums, blogs, instant messaging, chat, photo gallery, everything you need to make people engage and belong.
Creative web design is an art form. Like a painting, it can be rushed - but the outcome is frequently dependent on how much time the designers have to craft the exact visual message, align it with or improve your brand in the process, and get exactly the right look, functionality, and feel for you website. In addition to the design time allocated in the foundation package this increases the time we can give your website to create a completely unique approach to the web. If the appearance of your website is the most important aspect of your development - it is a worthwhile investment to get exactly what you want.
Interweaving can bridge most web enabled software into your website. Whether that is an existing system used in your company or a new third party product - it can all be done. These implementations are completely custom and highly variable so prices are on a request basis.
As a professional services firm Interweaving is paid by the hour of work performed. As guidance below we have provided an estimate of hours each type of activity takes to install, configure, and integrate.
There are a wide variety of additional improvements that can be made. The system that we use as the foundation for your website has over 10,000 modules, components, plugins and other extensions. The things that can be achieved by utilising functional units strait off the shelf is extraordinary. Some of those systems and approximate installation times include:
Actually it is about the customer! It doesn't matter if you are a business or a non-profit organisation - it is always about who you serve. How do they feel and what do they want? Technology and web design are about serving the end user. Building the website is about combining all of the factors of development to produce a website quickly with all the technology at a price which offers a great return on investment.
Building websites is a concert of a wide array of elements that need to come together in a very precise way to deliver a prescribed outcome. Shorthand - it needs to work! Users need to enjoy your website - even if the source of that enjoyment is just highly usable functionality. Can you imagine going to a website and actually enjoying paying a parking ticket because it was so hassle free?
Building a website starts with creating a vision, plan, creative elements, specifications - and then finally building it. The building part of development is actually one of the least important activities as the majority of work that is preformed has already been defined and carefully thought out.
Every web development is unique. Sometimes even what appears to be simple changes can be very labourious, and things that may seem complex are very simple. During a development build changes can be very costly. Interweaving tries diligently to make clients aware of the cost of changes during construction before any work is preformed. The work performed during a build is very much like the framing of a house. A lot happens all at once, and it begins to look very much like a house - but there is a lot to be done before you can move in.
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Most people probably think that creative web design is all about the creation of new fresh ideas - while sitting on red valour lounges with a sketch pad. Well, sometimes it is but most of the time its about researching, adopting, and modifying.
Creative design, just like programming, frequently takes existing ideas and uses them as inspiration for something new. Although the original design may have been the start - the end product usually looks very little like the originating idea. In programming the same is true and probably more so. Programming follows the rule of "build it really well once and use it a thousand times". Interweaving reuses elements of technology, programming and design every time we build a website. In fact one of the untold truths of web development is that most projects are largely about putting existing design, programming code, and ideas together to shortcut the process. Why? To build completely original applications and designs from scratch is REALLY expensive. There is no point in constantly reinventing the wheel.
What this means in real terms is Reuse. Reuse saves you an enormous amount of money, time, and avoids risk. Through reuse we can now deliver web projects that would have cost tens of thousands a few years ago for only a few thousand dollars now. Most of the building blocks of web development are already available if you know where to find them.
So what does that mean? In simple terms that means that 90% of everything you would like to do in any web project can be done quickly, simply, and cheaply. It also means that the other 10% of what you may want is typically impractical or unnecessary. If enough people in the world have wanted what your looking to build before you - the world of programming has probably built it already. You will be surprised how much is available right off the shelf to meet your needs.
What is very important is your organisation's brand and style. Web design takes your brand and formalises it into a style specification. The style sheet describes the logo, image elements, fonts, colours, textures, and format for your website. Sometimes this is just an extension of an already well defined offline style. Although frequently it requires significant interpretation or stylising to make the transition to online.
In summary, a website is a combination of a large share of reused technology & design; some custom applications and creative design; and a liberal amount of stylising to interpret your business brand online. After that all you need is a self-administered content management system with original content (information) and you have an extremely usable and valuable website.
That last thing to understand may be counter-intuitive to you. Most of the custom creative design happens just before delivery. With modern technology websites are built using a content management system. First you create a website map that defines the size and shape of a website. Then we create navigation, visual elements, web technology, and everything that shapes each web page. After that the style sheet is applied, and the website becomes fully functional with all the technical elements required. This is when the truly creative element of web design is applied. It is taking a functional and usable website and making it attractive - infusing your organisations look and feel in the process.
Every website is different. Some end up being all about the technology and others are only about the design. Interweaving understands that both elements are important and we can customise your website to represent how important each element is to you.
Would you like to talk about design? Contact us here for your free consultation