Categories
web development

Best practices for the creation of corporate websites – the pre-project interview

The early stages of a web project are very important. Whether we are dealing with the creation of a new company website, the restyling of an existing website, the development of a new mobile application, or simply the modification of something already existing, it is in the first moments that are defined together with the customer technical-functional requirements of the new project, identified the referents, formalized the functionalities, the management methods, defined the platforms and integrations.

Content index

It is clear how a correct acquisition of all this information is a crucial step for the correct success of a complex project. The creation of a company website often involves a series of very different company figures across the board. The company’s top management is involved in the definition of the strategy, the marketing offices in the definition of the tactical aspects relating to communication, the technical offices (CED / IT) for the requirements of the technical infrastructure or the integration with other platforms, the commercial areas for information on products and services and many other figures.

In order to facilitate the acquisition of all the strategic information necessary for an optimal development of the design part, we have prepared a questionnaire, a sort of preliminary interview to the project, which we regularly use for all new projects that we are going to deal with as web and digital agency.

For the success of a web project, the correct acquisition of preliminary information is essential.

This questionnaire is administered to new customers (and every time you intend to make a change on the communication methods) to facilitate the description of the company and the objectives that are expected from the communication point of view of the material that will be produced.

The exhaustiveness of the answers and providing as many ideas as possible (even outside of the questions we have entered) is fundamental at this moment, because it allows us, as a web agency specialized in company websites, to be in tune with the Customer and its Goals. In fact, it becomes a useful track to follow, in the phase of the creative process, which is integrated with the needs that emerged from the meetings and from what was viewed directly in the company.

The questionnaire is divided into two parts:

1. The first part concerns a general description of the company, its values, its mission and the way it has communicated so far and how it intends to communicate in the future.

2. The second part is more technical and concerns, in particular, the aspects that concern the creation of the website. Finally, if present, examples of past communication (own or of competitors) from which to take a cue or distance themselves substantially are very useful.

Below we list the main points covered in the questionnaire, however we invite you to download the complete pre-project questionnaire for a detailed analysis of the document.

• Corporate communication

General information on the company’s core business, products and services, strengths and strategic aspects to convey in communication

• Analysis of the current situation

Acquisition of information on the current situation, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses

• Analysis of the requirements for the new website

Acquisition of all the relevant information for the design of the new website, from the definition of users to technical and functional requirements

• Competition analysis

Collection of data on the reference competition, regarding strengths and weaknesses and reference material (websites, brochures, communication examples)

• Use cases / users and functionality.

Discussion of use cases regarding the possibility of interaction of the different users with the new web tools

• Integration of multimedia material

Collection of information on multimedia materials (audio, video, photos, documents, etc.) to be integrated on new websites

• Integration of external databases / corporate ERPs

If you want to integrate external databases (for example with company ERP) analysis of information requirements, data structure, technological aspects

• Security and privacy requirements

Compliance with the laws on privacy and the management of cookies, acquisition of company contacts and procedures related to privacy and security

• Production and content management

Who will manage the content and any translations, both regarding the first body of content and subsequent updates

• SEO strategies and online visibility on search engines

Analysis of the requirements / objectives in terms of online visibility and availability on search engines. Possibility of access to services dedicated to SEO / online positioning and online campaigns with PPC / AdWords

• Social channels

Analysis of the integration of social channels in corporate communication and possible integration on new digital tools and websites

• Hosting and technical infrastructure

Acquisition of all necessary information regarding the technical infrastructure that will have to support the online publication of new digital tools and websites

From the above, you see that the information that makes up a structured web project, whether it is the creation of a corporate website or the restyling of an existing corporate website, is many and varied.

Do you have questions and suggestions to improve this document? Leave us an enquiry now!

Categories
Software Consulting

Common mistakes and best practices when buying custom software

Slow acquisition processes often hamper innovation. As more and more companies prefer to invest in creating software specifically for them instead of buying a finished product, the first process that needs improvement is the one related to concluding a performance contract. To avoid irrational fears, short-sightedness and confusion when acquiring new technology, it is important not to make the following four mistakes.

Mistake 1: You think you are buying an item.

You are not buying a product, you are going on a journey. Custom software is not something you grab from the shelf, such as paper clips. The team of the company responsible for insurance does not focus on factors such as unit price, units, volumes and delivery date.

The sellers of ready-made technological solutions have products available, arranged on the stand. They sell what’s in the box. In contrast, digital consultants focus on identifying investment options and developing a strategy for building fully customized software. When a company is willing to introduce technological innovation, the procurement team should help choose the right ‘leader’, rather than relying on traditional comparisons based on fixed indicators. Projects can be delayed or completely stopped when the team messes up the threads.

The custom software development service exists because there are people who decide that the finished product will not work for the benefit of their business. When working to order, the process is the product.

Mistake 2: You focus on deadlines, not quality.

Custom software development is bound by both budget and deadlines, but the latter should not be the guiding principle in decision-making. Of course, the goal is to create working software as quickly as possible. At the same time, the functionalities required determine the amount of program code that will be written. Very often, specific requirements are formed during the research and planning process. Therefore, flexibility is an important prerequisite for success. Deadlines should be carefully set together with a timetable that gives a clear idea of ​​the time frame at each stage of the project.

Mistake 3: You view custom software as a commodity whose price is determined by the hourly rate.

Hourly development costs are far from the best way to evaluate a custom software project. It is like determining the value of an important building as a function of the price of steel and the number of man-hours invested in its construction.

The supply team can easily fall into this trap simply because the hourly development costs, like the price of steel, are easily measurable. If custom software development was simply a function of the time invested by the developer, then hiring the cheapest service of programmers from a distant developing country would lead to the desired result. It is important to hire business technologists to design and implement technology that does what you want. The goal is to have workflows that are faster, more efficient, more profitable, and more sustainable.

Mistake 4: Expect a price model based on volume.

When you buy a ready-made software product, you have a clear idea of ​​what discount you can expect. Volume-based pricing cannot be applied to custom development. It is important to focus on your priorities, instead of looking for a discount at any cost. The best way to evaluate a project is a cost-benefit analysis. Very often, to evaluate custom software development, it is important to compare the cost of the project with the costs that will be incurred by the business if no action is taken.

How to approach the provision of custom software for your company?

Here are some important guidelines to follow when embarking on this journey. The main goal is to get the highest value for the money you will invest.

Look at the project from a functional point of view. When you buy ready-made software, you get a list of things it can do. When you invest in custom software, you create a list of things you want it to do. Make the most of this position. As it is difficult to objectively evaluate the technological innovation, it is good to evaluate the custom software developer based on the value that the company has created for the business of its previous customers. It is inefficient to compare the value of ready-made software with the value of custom-made software.

The speed of work is also determined by the client, to some extent. When you are well prepared to make decisions and it does not take you time, you practically support the software development process.

Treat hiring a developer the same way you hire a business consultant. In both cases, the task is to improve work processes and the degree of positive change is the main criterion for measuring efficiency, especially when it has a monetary value in the form of revenue. If you have experience hiring a business consultant, you probably have an established work plan that you can use in the case of custom software.

How to achieve good performance in providing custom software for your company? Do not put all possibilities under a common denominator. When contracting to develop a new technology, consider factors such as speed of approval, flexibility, problem-solving capabilities, and overall productivity. Rely on accurate measurements when giving estimates.

Companies often look for custom software when they want to take advantage of a new opportunity and achieve higher revenue through it. At the same time, the lack of clear direction in the development of innovation can create problems. Therefore, the supply team must rely on an innovative, flexible and fast approach.

Do you want custom software specifically for your company? Send an inquiry now.

Categories
web development

4 ticklish questions when designing a website

Web design is a constantly evolving field in which professionals are constantly looking for new solutions to improve the user experience and increase the competitiveness of their customers. The creation of a unique website is usually done by a whole team, and it often happens that ideas and views collide. Here I will look at four of the issues that are most often creatively debated.

How detailed is the study of consumer behavior

When creating a website, the team aims to create significant and pleasant moments that involve users in the world of the brand, as well as the highest level of accessibility and usability. The question is how to create these moments and a truly unique experience in general. Here it helps to study user expectations and behavior, usually by directly observing how people use the prototype site created in a real or near real environment. This is the key to evaluating the concept and its components. The next logical question is what part of the team’s efforts should be concentrated at this stage of the website development process.

There are experts in web design who say this is not necessary at all. They claim that the developer team can be an accurate measure of what users want and expect. Steve Jobs’ remark that customers don’t know what they want is well known, as is his work, based on his own intuition, in which he and his team have expressed what they think is good product design. Given the revolutionary technology solutions created by Apple’s team, can we say that it’s helpful for website developers not to look at the target audience at all? The answer is no. However, not everyone is a genius in their field.

It turns out that the time and effort invested in studying consumers has increased over the last few years and this is considered an effective direction of development. However, it is observed shifting the focus of the study from the final product to the conceptual design. As already mentioned, testing the prototype of a website with real users is already a widely used practice. Through it, the developer receives valuable information about the attitudes of users even before the actual programming begins, thus making changes faster and cheaper. Also, the flexibility is much higher, which allows to achieve full perfection within the time and budget of the project to create a website.

How minimalist web design should be

The maxim that less is more devoted has become a postulate in the field of web design. Minimalism brings many benefits, including faster page loading, clearer navigation and easier familiarization with the main products, services and features of the brand. How is this achieved? The goal of minimalism is to improve the user experience by eliminating unnecessary details from both the design and the content. The layout of the web pages is such that the user naturally focuses on the message sent by the brand without being distracted.

The main tool in this type of approach is the use of empty spaces which eliminate clutter and make each element stand out. The question is how to use it sparingly so that the website does not become too scarce, as well as “lean” and boring. Balance can be found by looking at the components of good communication with visitors. What does the user want to learn from the website and in what sequence? What information has the greatest value for him? How aggressive should page marketing be? The answers to these questions will lead to the optimal use of empty spaces in the design of the site.

What kind of menu to make

The so-called hamburger menu is becoming increasingly used in adaptive web design (responsive design), due to the small available space on the screens of smartphones and tablets. It is represented by the characteristic icon with three horizontal lines, pressing which opens the vertical menu. It is interesting to note that it is not new – it dates back to the early 80’s. Its qualities are indisputable – clean, elegant, easy to use and well organized. The problem is that when it appears, the burger menu blocks all or part of the screen content.

There are several possible solutions of this case. Perhaps the most commonly used is to keep the traditional menu for desktops and laptops, and to keep the “hamburger” for smartphones and tablets, simplifying its contents as much as possible and making it thinner and more elegant. There are also alternatives to this type of menu, such as the so-called navigation at the bottom of the screen. In it, the menu automatically appears at the bottom when the user starts scrolling up, which is considered an indicator that he has viewed the necessary content on the relevant page of the mobile website.

Pop-ups and their role in the website

Pop-ups are often described as annoying, but still remain widely used for marketing purposes. How to find a balance between the user experience and marketing generally speaking? To begin with, you need to consider exactly what role pop-ups will play. It is best for them to present an offer with specific benefits for the user related to the content of the respective web page.

Second, you need to determine the location of the pop-up window within the screen. The two main options are in the middle and in the lower right corner. In the first, the window is immediately noticeable, but actually blocks the content. The second option is much more elegant, and the chance for the user to pay attention to the proposal is not small, given that this part of the screen traditionally displays notifications from various applications, as well as system ones.

The third important step is to decide when the window will pop up. The most effective in this regard are the windows, the display of which is regulated by the user’s behavior. When he intends to close the page, for example, then in the middle of it can pop up a large window with a tempting offer, which will make him stay.

How to make the right decisions

When designing a website, testing is of paramount importance. Ideas collide at the concept level and are evaluated using prototypes. Thus, in the actual development phase, when the design is done and the code is written, the team works with a clear and detailed concept that is the best possible. This is the way to create working online business solutions.

Do you want a new website that works reliably and tirelessly for your business success? Contact our team with an inquiry now.

Categories
web development

10 questions to ask before hiring a web developer

Let’s make a clarification that is directly related to the title. In the phrase web developer we put a large team, and each member contributes through their competencies to get a well-oiled machine, a whole.

A common interpretation for a web developer is a prodigy who can do anything. This view is far from reality, as web development is a wide field of expression, saturated with different technologies and levels of competence.

Once we have made the lyrical introduction and found that the target is a web development company, we can move on to the essence.

What to ask to hire the right company?

1. Where can I see your project portfolio?

This is the main issue with which the dialogue must be opened. The portfolio will immediately shine the skills, expertise, achievements of each web developer. At the same time, there will be shortcomings that signal that you should not engage with non-professionals. Examine carefully everything they have built for their customers. Don’t just look at the colorful pictures, deepen the research, read all the explanations, challenges and suggested solutions. See our portfolio.

2. Can I look at a list of customers?

It is important to see who the web developer has worked with and continues to work with. This will give you information about his level and scale of thinking. A quick look at our customers.

3. What is your favorite project?

This question is important to check the level of connection between the web developer and the projects he creates. You will easily find out if he loves what he does or beats things up to get home earlier.

4. What technologies will you use to create my site?

Here the web developer must be able to describe the technological solution he offers, as well as all its specifics. It is good to point out the advantages and disadvantages if it offers different options.

5. How will you optimize my site for search engines?

Learn about the level and know-how of the developer in terms of search engine optimization. Your site needs to be indexed well to make sense. Discuss the types of strategies for pushing the newly created site to the top positions.

6. What else can you put on my site?

This is a question that aims to test the proactivity of the web developer. Solutions for connections with social networks, chat systems, banner systems, forums and many others should be made here. Additional modules that are relevant to your specific case.

7. What happens after the creation of my site?

Inspect the after-sales service offered by the developer. Whether it provides monthly maintenance, warranty service or entire one-time sales. Ensure the operation of your site by making backups, as well as the mandatory presence of an administrative panel.

8. What about the content?

Take up this topic from the very beginning to know what is expected of you, what the developer takes as a responsibility. Each site has images, they must have licensed rights. The content is also a serious commitment. Have a discussion about who will get them and who will introduce them on the site.

9. Who owns the site?

Look carefully at who owns the website. Whether it remains in your possession or you use a “rental site”. Clarify this part of the contractual relationship.

10. What are the payment terms?

Get acquainted with the payment scheme for the construction of the site, everything you need to run it, as well as subsequent maintenance. Ask what is included in the creation price, whether there is an administration, service fees and so on.

With all this information you will be able to safely vote of confidence in the other party. Or vice versa, redirect your attention to another web developer.

How about we discuss your site? Our team will answer all your questions. Send an inquiry now.

Categories
Ecommerce

5 Basic prerequisites for a profitable online store

The volume of online trade, both in the world and in the US, is constantly growing. Global turnover reaches hundreds of millions of dollars. The network sells practically everything from modern gadgets and appliances to clothes and accessories. At the same time, you can’t start an online store and expect a huge number of customers to just come to the door. You need to have a well-developed online trading platform that attracts and retains consumers and turns them into customers. Here are some ways to achieve this.

1. Create a clear business plan and marketing strategy.

You cannot expect to build a profitable and popular online store if you do not have an accurate idea of ​​what you are selling, how you will sell it and to whom you will sell it, as well as how you will win loyal customers. You don’t have to create a long document that includes the smallest details to have a good business plan. It simply needs to answer the following key questions:

– What are your main products?

– What is your unique offer that sets you apart from the rest?

– What are the main marketing techniques you will use?

The answers you give will determine the direction in which your online store will develop and will be the basis of your digital strategy.

2. Position the products you offer in the right way.

The positioning of the goods on the website has a great effect on sales. It is good to put the most popular and sought after products at the top of the page. They need to be central so that users can find them quickly and easily.

Don’t forget to offer goods that complement the main product, such as accessories, as well as its alternatives, with additional features and / or more features and a higher price. This tactic has been used successfully by online commerce leader Amazon for years. It contributes to a substantial part of the trader’s income.

3. How will you collect information about your customers?

The protection of users’ personal data is a major concern, but at the same time, you must collect a certain amount of information for marketing purposes. For starters, you need to know exactly what information you need and ask for the minimum. The more and more detailed information you want, the less likely the customer is to give it to you. You don’t want to drive away buyers by filling out long and detailed forms.

If you only ask for the user’s name and email, the chance that he will provide them increases many times over. One way to gather the information you want is to use a light box on your homepage. This is a small window that opens automatically, without clicking or other action by the user, while the page itself is dimmed. Whatever method you choose to use, it should grab users’ attention and encourage them to share information.

You need to use the data provided in the most effective way to develop your online marketing strategy. Promoting goods through special email offers, for example, is an easy way to reach interested users and turn them into customers.

4. Remove the entrance barriers.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is requiring all users to register their account in your online store before purchasing anything. This is a sure way to lose a lot of potential customers who are visiting your website for the first time or looking to grab a particular product as quickly as possible. Should any visitor to the online store can freely use shopping cart and buy goods.

There are a number of studies proving that the more steps lead to a purchase, the less likely it is to be made. For this reason, online commerce leaders gather everything they need within a page or two. In this business, simplifying every action a consumer wants to take is a sure key to success.

5. Create a social experience.

Social media is an important tool for increasing the number of visitors to your online store. To increase customer flow and sales, you need to create a social experience. This includes uploading attractive and interesting blog posts that contain links to your products.

It is good to have buttons for sharing content on social networks on every page of your online store . This is a free and easy way to attract customers. Incentive users to share pages as well as leave comments. Greater commitment leads to higher sales in the long run.

Here are some more useful ideas:

– Give a face to the brand – In addition to the logo, you can use photos of friendly employees.

– Use a quality mark and certificates from recognized industry and international organizations.

– Present product ratings given by previous customers.

It takes time to build trust with your customers, as well as loyalty. Since the competition is fierce, don’t waste time. If you lay the foundations now, you will undoubtedly achieve the desired results.

While a functional online store can be built in a relatively short time, turning it into a profitable project requires continuous work. A / B testing (alternative testing) should become an integral part of managing your online business. Test each new idea to make sure it works. Experiment as much as necessary to get the best result.

Remember that the best focus group is your customers. Seek and take into account their opinion.

Want a modern online store with custom management software? Send an inquiry now.