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Web Design FAQs

1Should my site look and behave equally well in Firefox, Safari, IE7 and IE6?

Browsers and Web standards have evolved rapidly over the last few years with a clear trend towards modern standards-compliant browsers like Firefox 2 and 3, Safari 3 and IE7. While support for the previously dominant IE6 will be required for some years to come, older browsers like IE5.5 for Windows, IE5.2 for Mac and Netscape 4.7 need not be considered, although we may allow some form of acceptable degradation. Currently, most high traffic sites are built not only to meet W3C standards, but for compatibility with Firefox and Safari first. Additional styles are applied to ensure compatibility with IE7, preinstalled in Windows Vista and widely used on Windows XP, and then with IE6, the latter often requiring greater adaptation. However, most inconsistencies between the main modern browsers can be easily resolved. Opera has a relatively small, but dedicated fan club of Internet aficionados, is extremely customisable and generally will reproduce well sites developed to modern standards. Of growing importance are mobile browsers such as Safari on the iPhone and variants of Opera on Nokia phones,

Ensuring cross-browser compatibility and avoiding proprietary features is the best way to future-proof your website and keep most of your users happy?

2Do you still need to know HTML and Javascript to develop a Website?

Absolutely, indeed more than ever, but if your Web developer has done a good job, you'll be able to edit the content of your site with little more than a browser and some basic Word processing skills. Web design applications like Dreamweaver may help expedite and organise the design and development process and are great tools in the right hands, but if you're not familiar with HTML standards, Javascript and the integration of multimedia objects such as Flash movies, you'll just have to cross your fingers and hope it will all work together flawlessly on most major browsers. Handcoding content-rich Websites may seem a colossal waste of time, but if you don't understand the functions of markup tags and Javascripts, you won't be able to take full advantage of the most advanced features of today's industry-standard web design tools. Let Web developers take care of your code, so you can focus on the text and images.

3We need our site updated regularly, but only have a small budget?

The initial design, navigation strategy and layout are the trickiest stages in the development of a Website. Updating text, adding items to menus and even adding new pictures are relatively easy tasks.

Indeed by paying a little extra for server-side programming, I can set up a password-protected content management system to let any authorised person with a browser add text and upload pictures with user-friendly interface easy for anyone familiar with Facebook or eBay.

Otherwise I'll be happy to update words and graphics at my standard hourly rates or, if you have the requisite software, give you the Web page templates you need to manage the your site's content in-house.

4Which Content Management Solutions would you recommend?

Broadly speaking there are two strategies. Either you use software on your computer to update single Web pages or you use your browser to access a content management system running on the remote server. With advent of Wysiwyg rich text editors and image upload and resizing utilities, the latter approach is by far the easiest way to maintain your site.

I specialise in PHP 5 programming and offer either MultiWebVista's own veratile, fast and lightweight content management system, MultiCMS, or, if your prefer, deploy an open-source solutions such as Joomla, Drupal or Wordpress.

5What does Web accessibility mean?

Accessible sites use clean and simple lightweight code accessible to the greatest range of visitors using variety of browsers, screen sizes and devices. By separating content from form via stylesheets, the actual (X)HTML is much more readable and compatible with screen readers and mobile devices. In the mid to late 1990s (and still today unfortunately) many leading sites add complex formatting information to the web page, making it harder for visitors to customise the design. Today it is more important to ensure compatibility with present and future standards than to cater for the dwindling number of users with legacy software. At the very least an accessible site should have all main information available as HTML text rather than as images or auxiliary formats (PDF, Flash etc.) and body text should be resizable for people with visual impairments. Making your site more accessible also boosts your search engine ranking as seach engines read the raw source code of your site before they attempt to interpret other content. Google pays particular attention to correct semantic markup. More....

6How much do you charge per page, word or megabyte?

This might be a logical question for copywriters, typists or translators, but in the world of Web development the only honest unit of measurement is time and the value you get depends in large part on experience.

For small projects we charge a minimum of £100 (€ 125) and thereafter £20 (€25) per hour, while we give comprehensive quotes for larger projects. We only charge for the adaptation of advanced features such as content management and shopping cart systems.

7What happens if we don't like your design?

We supply free mockups, i.e. a template of the main pages with navigation features. If you don't like our mockup or feel we are unable to meet your requirements, we won't charge you, but we do expect payment once we've signed a contract.

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designed and developed by Neil Gardner