Archive for category Web Design

Mobile Website Design – Is it time to offer a mobile version of your website?

Image representing iPhone as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

I guess it’s not really surprising that mobile web browsing is continuing to grow at lightening fast pace. The sheer amount of people who carry a web enabled portable device has grown significantly over the past couple of years. A lot this growth is of course due to the massive success of the iPhone. Like, it wouldn’t be strange if your granny had an iPhone nowadays, yet she probably didn’t have an Internet connection before she owned one!

Of course, browsing the web through a mobile device is by no means a new phenomenon, it’s something that has been available for quite some time. In reality though, most people didn’t bother using the web on their phone to access the Internet and with good reason. One obvious reason, was that it could be quite expensive to access the web on your mobile phone. And secondly, viewing websites on a mobile could be at best, extremely annoying. Websites simply weren’t built to cater for mobile devices.

Even today, most businesses don’t bother providing a mobile alternative of their website. In fairness, most mobile phone web browsers are pretty good at allowing you to view full websites quite easily. However, they are not perfect. Most of the larger and more popular websites such as Facebook, Twitter, CNN and Google automatically offer you a slimmed down, mobile version of their website when you visit from a mobile device. Navigating around a pupose built website is always a lot more fun than having difficulty choosing and clicking on links of interest, even with a decent mobile phone browser.

Recently, on one of my own websites I was shocked to notice that over 10% of the traffic to the website (over 1,200 unique visitors) on one given day was from mobile devices. You might say I missed the boat a little, but for me this was a clear indication that the growth in the use of the web from a mobile device now warrants a mobile friendly website.

Look, I’ve been there in the WAP days. I’ve built WAP websites… what a disaster. There were a lot of issues with WAP, but I just don’t see those issues arising with the current state of play. As long as pricing for data packages from the mobile phone providers continue to decrease and people buy web enable devices, it just seems to be the way people will start viewing the web.

73 Million iPhones have been sold since they were launched and I think it’s safe to assume that a lot of those that own one, have also used the App Store to buy an app or two. A process that is very straight forward – in fact probably more straight forward than any website you’ve ever visited. Would you have envisaged many people buying items with their phone, through the web 5 years ago? Probably, but you probably thought it would take more than 5 years to get there!

For me, there has never been a better time to get your website mobile. Things are only going to get better. Already the sale of Android enable phones is out stripping the growth seen by the iPhone. It’s clear to me that the mobile web has arrived and is in full swing!

And of course, developing mobile websites is something we do at 2bscene – so if you have a project, why not have a chat with us and we’ll see where we can help you. Call us on +353 1 2190223

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments

IEDR to give 10 SME’s a €10k Website Grant

.ie: Ireland's official Internet address
Image via Wikipedia

The Irish Domain registry, the IEDR have created a €100,000 fund to help boost SME e-commerce. The idea of the fund will be to identify 10 SME’s who can take advantage of a €10,000 grant to to build an eCommerce website to help grow their business online. In an age where online buying continues to grow significantly, only 21% of Irish companies with websites have the ability to handle transactions online.

I’m personally delighted to see this incentive from the IEDR and it’s something that the government really should take note of. This incentive by the IEDR will help 10 businesses start to trade online and see the true potential that the web can bring their business.

I don’t say it often about the IEDR, but “Well Done” on this one – great idea!

As of now, I’m not sure how one goes about being included in the process for being selected, but when I find out I’ll post it here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

No Comments

How much does a web design cost? Real Web Design Costs

It’s over a year since I wrote a similar article to this one on what it costs to design a website. Surprisingly, since that last post and with all the turmoil that is happening with the global and Irish economy, little has changed in terms of pricing. What has changed however, is the number of small web design companies popping up all over the place offering cheap web design solutions. I personally take no issue with these companies, unless of course they start comparing their work to the work a professional web design agency.

The problem with web design is that generally speaking, most people don’t actually understand what it takes to design and develop a website. I know from even my circle of friends, they would expect the building of a website to be something that can be done in a few clicks of a button. Of course this is a possibility and one of the reasons there are so many cheap and nasty web design companies in the market today.

We regularly get people telling us that we are “much more” expensive than other quotes they have received. In this case we always ask them to provide us with the proposal from the other company to see where the difference in price lies. In most cases, they are comparing apples with oranges. The service we offer is far superior to the cheaper alternatives. There are of course the exceptions when I can’t even contemplate why a company is going in so cheaply.

Like with every professional service, I think it’s best to look at things in context when discussing pricing around a service you require. Hopefully this article will open most peoples eyes into how a professional website is cost-ed and why.

Web Design Pricing
When we get a call from someone looking for a website designed, the first thing we ask for is an idea of other sites that the client is trying to emulate for their own business. This isn’t to plagiarise their ideas, but for us to get an idea of what the clients expectations are. Our next question would be related to the websites functionality, e.g. do you need to sell anything online, what level of interactivity do you want with the client etc.

Generally speaking, the answers provided will lead us two ways, one needing more questions answered or two, in a position to put together a proposal for the costs involved in the project. With the information received from the client, we can the plan the time we feel is required to deliver a finished website based on the clients brief. If it’s a complex project, it can take quite sometime to put together time-frames expected.

Time Required to Build a Website
Let’s take a simple brochure type website, with a Content Management System as an example of the time  required to deliver such a website.

  1. Design
    Design is a strange procedure that can’t be timed to an exact time-frame. There’s a massive level of creativity required and therefore, you can’t rush it. A typical design can take anywhere from 2-3 days to meet the initial design brief and at that stage, you will probably have one or two ideas developed.

    In all our projects, we work with our client to get a design that they are 100% happy with. If they don’t like what we have delivered, we will keep working until we get exactly what the client wants. Luckily enough, in most cases we don’t have a problem with it going beyond the 2-3 days allocated.

    Total Days: 2-3

  2. Design preparation for CMS integration
    Once the design has been fully signed off, we move onto preparing the agreed design for the CMS integration. This means developing the necessary HTML, CSS and JS code etc. This can take up to 1 day to complete.

    Total Days: 1

  3. CMS Installation & Design Integration
    As soon as the design has been cut up and is ready to be integrated, we start the process of installing the CMS. Depending on the CMS chosen and the complexity of the design, this can take anywhere from 2-3 days to fully integrate. At this stage, we also look after any functionality issues, such as forms, login systems etc etc.

    Total Days: 3-4

  4. Content Insertion
    The final build stage is the insert the content provided by the client. Typically we do a maximum of 15-20 pages of content for a client and then train them up on how to use the CMS to insert their own content if they require more.

    Total Days: 1-2

So there you have it, that’s a typical example of the time required to build a very basic website with a CMS. I haven’t included the time required for meetings, design briefing or testing. The basic nuts and bolts of building the website will take at least 7-10 days, yet it generally takes 4-6 weeks before the whole process is completed.

Web Design Costs
We charge per project basis. It’s not easy for me to give a set figure for the cost of the design and development of a website because requirements differ so much from client to client. Typically speaking, we would be charging anywhere from €2,500 – €3,500 +VAT for a typical brochure site with CMS.

To some that sounds quite expensive, but let’s break that down further to see where the costs come in.

a) Web Designer / Web Developer

A good web designer/developer’s annual salary will be anywhere from €30-40k per annum depending on experience. Since we need two people working on your website design, let’s take a mean salary of €35k per annum.

It costs the employer just over €790 per week (accounting for holidays) to have someone working on the project. The total cost for a 2 week project is therefore €1580

b) Project Management / Meetings
With any project, there is a certain level of project management required. Project management means meetings. As much as we can, we try to have meetings on-site, but most of the time it makes more sense to meet with the client in their offices. This obviously takes someone’s time and costs money for travel etc.

c) Rent, Calls & Other Misc.
A necessary evil of running a business, but we need to put a roof over our heads and buy PCs, phones broadband connection etc etc. Without all this, we wouldn’t be a web design company.

You can throw your own figures at b and c – but even with the lowest level, you can see there is very little margin in the costs charged for designing a simple website.

Cheap Web Design

So now that you’ve seen what the costs involved in developing a typical website, let’s look at how a cheap web design business operates. I say business as opposed to “company” because a lot of these businesses are one man operations run by self employed individuals working from home with little overheads etc. Other cheap web design companies will outsource their work to cheap labour countries such as India, Pakistan or China.

  1. Design
    Generally speaking, most of these companies do one of three things when it comes to the design aspect of a website.

    a) Download  and use freely available templates from the Internet. They then do some basic customisation of the design such as include your logo and other graphical material.

    b) Purchase already created designs from Templatemonster.com or similar websites. Again, there is a certain level of customisation required in this case.

    c) Outsource off-shore – absolutely nothing wrong with this, but the quality tends to be pretty poor.

  2. CMS Integration
    The majority of the cheap web design companies use one of the many freely available CMS solutions such as WordPress, Joomla or Drupal. Apart from being really easy and quick to install, there are thousands of online resources where they can download free templates to use for their website theme.

Typically speaking, someone could put together one of these cheap websites, that will potentially look like thousands of other websites across the Internet in less than 2 days. If it takes them longer than this, either you are a nightmare client that is expecting too much or they don’t know what they are doing!

The bottom line is that if you want your website design from a professional design agency, expect to spend anywhere from €1,500 to €4,000 for a brochure type website. If you want to go the cheap route, don’t spend more than €500 – otherwise you are being ripped off.

I hope all the information above gives you a good idea of the complete disconnect between cheap web design and professional web design. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to use a cheap web design company, but before you start comparing apples and oranges make sure you completely understand what you are getting from your web designer.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

3 Comments

Choosing a web designer to build your website

Nowadays, most people’s first port of call after hearing about your company is to check out your website. For that very simple reason, your website needs to make that all important first impression that will hopefully help them decide if your company is the business they would like to work with. If your website isn’t easy on the eye, clear and concise, you may put them off and ultimately lose the sale.

If this is your first web project, choosing the right web designer may seem like a daunting task. If you’ve been here before, you are likely to be looking for different things from your web designer. There are so many providers to choose from that finding a web design partner that suits your needs best can be like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

But before you go checking out every single web designer in the top of the Google search results, you should first establish what your needs are. Do you need a dynamic eCommerce website where you will sell products online or is your website more of a basic brochure type website that will simply give you an online presence? Personally, I’m not a fan of the latter as I believe the majority of businesses can sell something online.

Choosing the type of web design companies that you’d like to approach can come down to many factors. Can they build the type of website you require? How long have they been in business? What is their portfolio like? And probably most importantly, how much will it cost?

It’s always good to have a budget in mind, especially when prices can differ greatly from designer to designer. Just to give you an idea of realistic budgets, using a reputable web design agency, who deliver quality custom designs you should expect to pay anywhere from €1,500 to €4,000 for a brochure type website. If you are looking for a cheaper option, you can get websites from as little as €300 but they are like to be prebuilt templates with little room for customisation.

When you’ve decided what you need, it’s time to find your new web design partner. The easy thing to do is to run a search in Google, but it’s probably best if you seek recommendations from others. Try and build a shortlist of no more than 3 web design companies that you think you’d like to work with.

One thing to remember is that it’s not important if the design agency hasn’t worked in your industry before. Just because they don’t know your industry doesn’t mean they won’t be able to deliver a quality website. In fact, it’s probably best that you work with a company that haven’t worked with a similar business to yours. The best web designers will want to see the website they build for you succeed. They will be eager to learn about your business and as the relationship grows, you will probably divulge a lot of inside knowledge of how you sell your business to help them understand what you need from your website. Can you imagine if they were telling another client all your secrets? All that hard work you put into making your website a success, simply being passed to a competitor.

When you’ve decided to request a proposal from your chosen web designers, it is important to brief them properly. If they don’t understand your requirements the price they quote will either be too low or too high. If the price is too low, this will lead to problems in the future. Web designers love to call it “feature creep?. This is where the client hasn’t explained their requirements properly, the designer feels that the request is extra work and inform you that they will want to charge extra. This can lead to a breakdown in the relationship which is a common occurrence in web design projects. I’m sure you’ve heard of someone who has a web developer who doesn’t answer calls or has gone missing from the face of the earth, well this is generally the reason why. The other side of that coin is where the designer over estimates your requirements and give you a massive estimate. Web designers are all too aware of this “build me a bebo? syndrome. Bebo of course would cost hundreds of thousands of euros to build, whereas most clients don’t even need 20% of the functionality for their own website.

After you have received your proposal and you like what you see, the next step is to look for references. Ask the web designer to provide you with a list of referees that you can contact and make sure you ring at least one of these. Find out key things like, did they deliver what you requested, did they do it on time, are they good to work with etc.

Finally, you should meet the chosen web designers – just like you would an interview. If you take your website seriously, your web designer will essentially become part of your team. If you want to get the best from them, treat them like you would a good member of staff.

Now you are ready to make your decision. Remember to treat this relationship as a long term one. A good web designer will always respect the clients who respect them. As your project comes to an end there will be changes required, some large and some not so. If you’ve a good relationship with your designer, they will be happy to make these changes without charging. But equally, if your designer tells you that it’s more work than they expected, let them know you are willing to pay them for their extra work. Good web designers aren’t easy to find, so if you’ve found one, cherish them!

Tags: , , , , , , ,

2 Comments

Creating a new website for your business – should I create my own?

Web Design Resolution - Best Screen Size
Image by Hobo! via Flickr

As we all know, a website can be one of the most cost effective tools in your arsenal in terms of promoting your business online. It requires minimal maintenance, operates 24/7 and is your shop window to the world. A good website can win new business for you, while retaining existing customers.

You don’t need to be selling products online for your website to be hugely beneficial to your company. In the past businesses without a fax number weren’t taken seriously, nowadays that applies to businesses who don’t have a website. The added credibility and prestige created by having a good website is worth quite a lot to your business.

Recently, there has been a massive uptake in the number of people trying to create websites for themselves. There are a number of reasons for this, the most obvious one is that people want to try and cut costs. The other reason relates to how technology has improved and someone with good computer skills can create their own website with ease.

But is it a good idea to go this route? The answer to that question isn’t so simple. You see, the beauty of the web is that you can look as big or small as you would like your company to be perceived. You need to decide where you want to position your business.

If your target market is made up of large corporate companies, using a free template web design that you created from hosting companies control panel just isn’t going to cut it. You need to have a website that looks professional, concise and unique. On the other hand, if you want to target your business at the lower end of the scale, one of these cheap/free solutions will suffice.

I always use the high street shop front as an analogy. Which shop would you prefer to go into, the one with the old fashioned, ugly shop front display or the new, fashionable looking alternative? The chances are you will choose the latter first. But some may perceive that shop as being more expensive – which it probably is. So you can see, it’s all about where you want to position your company.

If you still want to position yourself at the lower end of the market, believe it or not, it’s probably still worth paying a professional to do this for you as they have the knowledge and expertise to get these sites up and running quickly and efficiently.

Better still, if you have the budget just pay for a proper web designer to do the job for you – with the right web designer, you will get a better return in the long run.

No Comments