Along with a new office I thought it was high time that I should spruce up my website. It’s not quite finished, there are a few projects to add to the showcase, and unfortunately a lot of what I’ve been doing recently has been under NDA, and I can’t even talk about it, let alone show you it.
I’ve finally moved into my new office in the lovely Temple Studios full-time. Frustratingly it’s been furnished and ready to use since mid-January, but BT have screwed up not once but three times leaving me without phone or broadband, with BT WiFi or 3G tethering just not reliable enough for most of what I do, so the space was pretty much unusable, other than as a space for quiet contemplation!
Thanks to the lovely guys next door at Atomic Smash sharing their connectivity, I now have a usable connection and can really make use of the space. I’ll add some photos when I have a minute, but if you’d like to pop round for a look, just give me a call.
The good news is that I’ve just signed the lease on what will hopefully be the most amazing office within Bristol’s new Temple Studios development, which not only looks as though it will be an awesome space, but also hopefully will be full of fellow media types.
I’ve taken a 400 square foot unit, which is a bit OTT for my requirements, but I got a great deal on the space and it should enable me to bring in people to help out with projects.
The bad news is I’m going to have to wait until mid-January 2013 to move in, which is a shame, but should give me plenty of time to get everything organised!
July has been a busy month with two big websites and a SCORM e-learning module to deliver.
Unfortunately all are under NDA, so I can’t talk about them, but just wanted to say I was still alive!
We’ve just finished building a website for talented young theatre set and costume designer Fly Davis.
For a number of years I’ve been looking after the website of Promat UK. Whilst they are a great client to work for, the nature of their products means that it’s hard to showcase them, as they are usually embedded deep within buildings, protecting them from fire. It’s also hard to talk about how they can be used, as almost every installation is unique.
So I’ve really enjoyed the latest assignment for them, which as been to create an online tool that they have dubbed SPEC SELECT. The tool enables visitors to the website to find and compare tried and tested solutions (known as systems in the trade) using Promat’s products, for example, how to create a partition with a 60 minute fire resistance. Once they have found a suitable system, the visitor can view and download full details of how to build it in PDF format, and even get CAD drawings in DWG and DWF formats. Effectively it’s the digital counterpart of the systems described in Promat’s Fire Protection Handbook, considered by some to be the industry “Bible”.
Whilst most of the information is freely available, downloading the CAD drawings requires registration and is logged. This data will enable Promat to be proactive in contacting industry professionals to ensure that their needs have been met. It will also enable us to start adding elements of personalisation and interactivity to the website.
As with the rest of the website, the tool has been built as a module in ASP.NET to fit within the client’s existing content management system, with data stored in a SQL Server database. The project has included custom content management tools, which with over eighty systems so far, nearly 500 images and goodness knows how many files, have needed to be as user-friendly as possible.
So far the tool has been really well received both by Promat and the beta testers within the industry who have seen it. We’ve had some great feedback that not only does it look good, but that it’s easy to use and browse.
A while ago I helped build a website from my good friend George’s (then) new project – Ruby Wedding Design. As time and money were tight, we put together a simple website, designed by our mutual friend Ho.
Since then, not only has George’s business gone from strength to strength, but she’s discovered a love of social media and blogging, with over a thousand people following her on Twitter and about 500 unique visitors to her site each month.
Initially we set up a blog on the Blogspot platform which was quick, easy and worked well. Unfortunately having two domains wasn’t great for search engine optimisation, so we came to the conclusion that we needed to merge the two sites and get all the content within a single domain.
We did this by setting up a new WordPress-based site. As you’ll know if you’ve read my blog before, WordPress is one of my favourite tools for small websites, being cheap, flexible and easy for clients to maintain and extend once the site has been set up and they’ve mastered the basics.
I took care of the website set-up, installing my set of tried-and-tested plugins. We chose to keep the existing design of the website, adapting the default Twentyeleven theme to match the existing look and feel. Content was imported from Blogger using the excellent Blogger Importer plugin, which did a great job, George just had to check through the posts and make a few tweaks, mainly to image sizes.
So that’s it really. You can find the site at http://www.ruby-weddings.co.uk or take a look at the pictures below.
I’ve just helped James Rosenegk at Future State Consulting launch a new website, showcasing the consultancy that he and his associates do.
It was a great project to work on, not least because James is such a nice bloke, but also because he’s pretty tech savvy and knew what he wanted, so my role was pretty much just to get the core site set-up, deal with the fiddly bits, then provide support to James as he populated the site with content.
The site has been built in WordPress, which continues to be my favourite tool for building small sites as it’s just so easy and flexible to use. We used the Genesis Enterprise theme which James found and liked, as well as a selection of tried and tested plugins for things like the contact form, sitemaps, Twitter integration and so forth.
James is delighted with the site and has had lots of positive feedback. The only thing we’re not so happy about is the hosting. We used a package from 1-2-3 Reg that James had bought previously, but we’re getting performance issues from the server, and are contemplating moving the site elsewhere.
Anyway, take a look at the photos below and visit the site at http://www.futurestate.co.uk.