Take Good Notes
About every other month or so, a client comes to us with a problem related to a domain name. In a few cases, the domain name registration has expired right underneath them because somebody at the organization registered it 10 years ago and never left any other documentation of it. Website goes down; email is unavailable. Verifying that you own the domain name can be rough if you're not listed on the account. Doman name records can take 24-72 hours to update so this can be something that impacts you pretty significantly. Sometimes it's a little less dire, but no less inconvenient.
Upgrading from Joomla 1.5 to Joomla 2.5
At Third Sun Productions, we are constantly monitoring updates to the Joomla software to keep the sites that we have built running as smoothly as possible. In recent months, Joomla has released a 2.5 version of their platform and will discontinue support of Joomla 1.5 in 2012 meaning that no further security patches or performance updates will be available for Joomla 1.5. Some of you have heard about this so we have begun to field questions about this and what it means to migrate to this newest version of Joomla.
Mobile templates are starting to be part of many people's web presence, though perhaps still not for everyone.
Mobile sites either:
a) strip down information so that only the essentials are available on a mobile phone or
b) allow users to simply see text for a website.
We'll be honest -- sometimes we like them in some instances more than others.
The important part, whether you go mobile or not, is to provide a design to your users that lets them access what might be most important to them in a mobile moment. For example, if you are a restaurant taking reservations, you should have your phone number easily available so someone can call you. If you provide a directory of listings that you want to make more accessible, make sure people can still search that, even on a mobile phone.
End Users Don't Care How Your Company is Organized
This quote from an article I read recently by Peyton Lindley made me think of a few of our clients lately who are struggling with their website organization. Instead of worrying about their user experience, they forced their web content to align with their mission-oriented areas (of course, we advised them not to do this but sometimes when 'the customer is always right,' our advice gets overruled). The problem is, while "Engagement" or "Empowerment" and "Think" may seem like very active and exciting words that you have spent many hours discussing in a board or staff meeting with your particular vision of how these words might help you achieve your goals, they are usually not at all intuitive or helpful to your user.
Your website, although it content-wise about you and your organization, is only effective if it really is all about your user. It might seem obvious to label something "Get Involved." And it's supposed to be, you know, obvious. You want your user to "get involved", right?
"The end user doesn't care how your company is structured."
User interface matters, and therefore, labeling and the words you choose matter. And they matter a lot. Combined with intuitive design, they are your best hope to move your donors/patrons/constituents toward a committed action -- donating online, registering for a class, buying your product, etc. Don't make them work so hard.
The further extension of this, as Lindley points out in his article, "The Key To A Unified Brand: A Consistent UI," is to bring your design and messaging into one consistent voice. Be mindful that your web presence should speak the same language as your design and brochures and all of the other things that help you express a clear and united message.
One of the first questions we often get when talking to potential clients is “Why Joomla?”
In modern web development a content management system of some sort is essential. Web design firms take different approaches to this reality - some build their own, others use commercial solutions, and others utilize open-source software.
When we first went into this web design business, building static HTML sites worked for a while. However, we soon realized our clients needed a way to update their sites themselves, and for most people using Dreamweaver or editing HTML wasn’t practical. So we looked at our options for content management systems. For us, building our own wasn’t practical, we didn’t have the time or resources, and soon realized there was no reason, since many solid solutions already existed. We also focused on open-source software since many of clients are nonprofit and appreciate being as cost effective as possible.
After evaluating many of the open source we settled on Joomla! which at the time was a relatively new CMS. What we found:
- Although Joomla! was a new project, it was a fork of Mambo, which was a stable and mature CMS.
- Joomla! seemed to have a engaged and active developer community. Over the years this proved to be true, as Joomla has continued to make vast improvements. With the release of Joomla 1.7 this year, Joomla took another giant leap in quality.
- Joomla had a good balance of ease of use and flexibility. Some CMSs are much simpler and streamlined, however at the price of being rigid in their structure and setup.
- Many extensions were already available. Over the years the extensions and add-ons available for Joomla have increased in quality immensely - there are now excellent extensions for calendars, e-commerce, galleries, multimedia, online donations and much more. These add-ons create features and functionality on a website that only a few years ago would have been cost-prohibitive.
Five years later, we are very pleased with our choice. We now have over 120 clients using Joomla and managing their websites, some on a daily basis. We are able to offer robust and feature rich websites for clients on a budget that otherwise wouldn’t allow it. Joomla has become a leader in Open Source software, and is used by millions of people throughout the world. This large community of users insures a bright future for Joomla
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