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Business Innovation Internet Software & Hardware Technology Web Design & Development

Milestone

Well, I’m getting closer. Today should see the launch of a vastly re-designed and developed website of one of my clients.

I’m happy to report that the newly-created website should go live sometime today, baring any last-minute problems, but the client does seem to have a firm grasp of the flexibility of web design and development and seems happy to go live with a few under-nourished sections that we can fatten out later.

For me, this project has been somewhat of a testbed for some stuff I’ve been eager to get my teeth into; namely standards-compliancy, along with being disabilities compliant.

I’m sure we don’t meet with the disabilities stuff 100% of the way. That said, in all of the various tests with the on-line compliancy checkers, we’ve breezed through.

Also, as of last night, I’m close to meeting with a major milestone for an internal project of my own.

I’ve held off discussing this for sometime. I really didn’t want to do the whole vapourware thing and then go and deep-six the project.

I’m working on a suite of web-based applications for the creative market.

This will include various applications for such things as time sheets, invoicing, contact reports, group collaboration, digital asset management and so and so forth.

Here I’ve made good use of what I’ve learned previously to build an extremely flexible architecture that will form the framework atop which all of the other applications will sit.

The advantages being that I will have built a set of common API’s that the various applications will make use of, without me having to reinvent the wheel each time I try doing something else.

Also, the framework contains a number of assets and tools that will allow for an extremely consistent look & feel across all applications.

So for example, no matter what application you’re in, you will see all of your To-Do items, Workgroups, Clients, Contacts and Events, all searchable or viewable via a Calendar with Day, Week and Month views.

I could go on and on and on, but there’s just too much to talk about .. such as user-based privileges, application portability between hardware architectures and database types, being able to search by asking questions like: ‘show all contacts from last month’ or: ‘show all to-dos by Wayne Smallman’.

Needless to say, the framework is nearing completion.

Getting closer…

By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

5 replies on “Milestone”

You’re a perfectionist, right? They’re probably happy to say they’re happy now, but you’re right to try to make sure you’re happy with it.

Nice to hear your hard work is nearing fruition.

But what does “the framework is nearing completion” mean – is this something we’re likely to see on the web sometime this month, this year, next year? I’m not trying to pin you down to a specific date (oh no, wouldn’t do that now), just wondering roughly when to expect it (as well as what it will look like, how it will work, etc).

But what does “the framework is nearing completion” mean – is this something we’re likely to see on the web sometime this month, this year, next year?

I want to get the framework sorted for the end of the month, if possible.

The framework will form the foundations of all of the other applications.

As soon as I think I’ve finished, I want to test the framework extensively for a month or so.

Then I want to start developing the applications to go on top…

“You’re a perfectionist, right? They’re probably happy to say they’re happy now, but you’re right to try to make sure you’re happy with it…”

Yes, absolutely!

I’ve just made the Kapitex Healthcare website live.

Still some content to add .. specifically some contact details.

I’m blaming the client for that!

Nice :-). Whats up with the “Specialized Airway Management” menu?! Nothing there…

How do you make it disabilities compliant? For example, for blind surfers…

“Whats up with the “Specialized Airway Management” menu?! Nothing there…”

You’ve answered your own question! There’s no content yet, but the client wanted to go live anyway.

“How do you make it disabilities compliant? For example, for blind surfers…”

That’s all down to how you mark up the content.

For example, by making use of bullet lists for all of the menus and avoiding the use of images as much as possible, a screen reader will pick up the titles of navigational elements and read them out to the user.

Now, you may have noticed that the left-hand menu uses graphics for the buttons, but that’s a trick of Cascading Style Sheets.

Once you peel away the CSS options, you’ll see regular text labels instead.

The biggest battle was the main product navigation at the top of the page.

That too is standards compliant, which was a major win.

When using JavaScript to create a menu, you end up with something that has little structural markup and is semantically unintelligible to both screen readers and search engines.

By having this series of nested menus embedded within each page, each page essentially acts as an indices.

By thinking more about how people read, or how various devices might read for them, you begin to see that text-level markup needs to be dealt with very carefully.

For example, rather than using Bold tags, use Strong instead, also avoid using Italic and use Emphasis instead.

These more descriptive markup types will actually alter the pitch and tone of the voice of the screen reader.

The way that I’ve created the website also means it’s going to be exceptionally easy to make quite huge changes.

For example, the client now wants people to be able to print specific pages, minus all of the menuing.

This is quite easy and I can simply write a function to deal with this and each page will inherit this functionality.

This is because I’ve developed the whole of the website is Object-Oriented PHP, using classes throughout.

So the client paid more up front for all of the planning and pre-development, but now they’ll reap the benefits of an extremely flexible website.

Plus, I won’t be spending countless hours faffing around trying to make stuff fit, which is what happened with the last version…

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