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Robert Frost-Bridges 07-25-2005 09:43 PM

A few questions on the site building process (and hats off to the pro's)
 
I was recently asked to help out with the reworking of a company web site by
a friend of mine who had been approached by someone at the company. (my
friend is actually a student on a graphics design course so we think maybe
they were looking for a cheap alternative to a professional designer).
Anyway he did some flash work for them and they asked if he could maybe
help freshen up their web site. Basically they were looking at getting a
redesign done at some stage but wanted the code to have a bit of a spring
clean in the meantime and as he knew I was a html hobbyist/nerd I was roped
in.

Anyway, so far I've produced this:
http://www.mxdigital.co.uk/

from this:
http://www.brightonfixedodds.net/oldmxd/

What I didn't realise 'til now was how difficult it is for you people who do
this for a living when dealing with clients.
Our contact at the company has been heavily involved at all stages and quite
forceful in his ideas of what he wants (hence the transitional contact page
as he was most insistent on the new window link). He also fancied himself
as a web designer without ever having really read any html at all (never
mind css), but he had a copy of frontpage which he kept using to send me
knocked together demo pages which I then had to pick through. He also had
an office full of colleagues who all had an opinion too. (for instance, he
had one who suggested that we didn't use a serif font for the site as it
made it look dated - I suggested maybe his colleague could adjust the font
settings in his browser options). How do you cope with this? I tried
explaining about the fluidity of a web page as opposed to one of their
brochures and about accessibility but it just wasn't getting through. I
think all he wanted was that it look pixel perfect on his company issue
laptop. The whole process took weeks as he was constantly asking for things
to be changed and then changed back. Drove us mad. He didn't seem to have
any concern for copyright either and seemed quite happy to just whack a
multimap right there on the page until I pointed out that no you can't
actually do that. We really found it hard work at times trying to explain
what we were doing and why.

A couple of things I wondered along the way were:
How do you go about testing your sites?
My friend and I both use Linux and it all looks fine. I also hooked up an
old 300mhz box via a kvm switch so I could run IE for viewing, but then I'm
only limited to the installed IE6 (and Opera etc of course). When I was at
the bank the other day, they were using IE4, so how do you allow for that?
Our contact at the company seems very happy with it all so is that your
criteria?

Also, there are now so many css hack sites around now I was wondering how
many of you actually use them? I mean, if you look at something like
http://www.positioniseverything.net/ there are hacks there for any number
of scenarios but at the end of the day is it worth trying to slip them all
in. How do you know where to stop? Are there maybe one or two that you
should definitely use and just look at the rest if you get a problem?
I used a font hack as he was insistent that the font-size was too big for
his liking originally (I hadn't specified one but he just kept bringing it
up until I cracked) but other than that I didn't really worry too much.

Anyway, hats off to you all, it's been a real eye-opener for me. (I think I
would like to do it again though and it looks like we may get the chance as
a couple more jobs have been mentioned already - we've just got to be
careful we don't get in over our heads with anything too big).

regards,
--
Robert
http://brightonfixedodds.net


SpaceGirl 07-25-2005 10:00 PM

Re: A few questions on the site building process (and hats off tothe pro's)
 
Robert Frost-Bridges wrote:
> I was recently asked to help out with the reworking of a company web site by
> a friend of mine who had been approached by someone at the company. (my
> friend is actually a student on a graphics design course so we think maybe
> they were looking for a cheap alternative to a professional designer).
> Anyway he did some flash work for them and they asked if he could maybe
> help freshen up their web site. Basically they were looking at getting a
> redesign done at some stage but wanted the code to have a bit of a spring
> clean in the meantime and as he knew I was a html hobbyist/nerd I was roped
> in.
>
> Anyway, so far I've produced this:
> http://www.mxdigital.co.uk/
>
> from this:
> http://www.brightonfixedodds.net/oldmxd/
>
> What I didn't realise 'til now was how difficult it is for you people who do
> this for a living when dealing with clients.
> Our contact at the company has been heavily involved at all stages and quite
> forceful in his ideas of what he wants (hence the transitional contact page
> as he was most insistent on the new window link). He also fancied himself
> as a web designer without ever having really read any html at all (never
> mind css), but he had a copy of frontpage which he kept using to send me
> knocked together demo pages which I then had to pick through. He also had
> an office full of colleagues who all had an opinion too. (for instance, he
> had one who suggested that we didn't use a serif font for the site as it
> made it look dated - I suggested maybe his colleague could adjust the font
> settings in his browser options). How do you cope with this? I tried
> explaining about the fluidity of a web page as opposed to one of their
> brochures and about accessibility but it just wasn't getting through. I
> think all he wanted was that it look pixel perfect on his company issue
> laptop. The whole process took weeks as he was constantly asking for things
> to be changed and then changed back. Drove us mad. He didn't seem to have
> any concern for copyright either and seemed quite happy to just whack a
> multimap right there on the page until I pointed out that no you can't
> actually do that. We really found it hard work at times trying to explain
> what we were doing and why.
>
> A couple of things I wondered along the way were:
> How do you go about testing your sites?
> My friend and I both use Linux and it all looks fine. I also hooked up an
> old 300mhz box via a kvm switch so I could run IE for viewing, but then I'm
> only limited to the installed IE6 (and Opera etc of course). When I was at
> the bank the other day, they were using IE4, so how do you allow for that?
> Our contact at the company seems very happy with it all so is that your
> criteria?
>
> Also, there are now so many css hack sites around now I was wondering how
> many of you actually use them? I mean, if you look at something like
> http://www.positioniseverything.net/ there are hacks there for any number
> of scenarios but at the end of the day is it worth trying to slip them all
> in. How do you know where to stop? Are there maybe one or two that you
> should definitely use and just look at the rest if you get a problem?
> I used a font hack as he was insistent that the font-size was too big for
> his liking originally (I hadn't specified one but he just kept bringing it
> up until I cracked) but other than that I didn't really worry too much.
>
> Anyway, hats off to you all, it's been a real eye-opener for me. (I think I
> would like to do it again though and it looks like we may get the chance as
> a couple more jobs have been mentioned already - we've just got to be
> careful we don't get in over our heads with anything too big).
>
> regards,


Bascially, for testing:

IE6 (Windows), Firefox (Windows), Opera 7 (Windows), IE 5.2 (Mac),
Safari (Mac) and ignore anything else. Forget Linux, as such a tiny
number of people use it it's not worth testing against. If you make sure
your sites fully validate against W3C *and* render fine under those
browsers, there are so few people using any other browser it is NOT
worth the effort - The chances are that any other browsers that hit the
market in the future AND browsers you've not tested against should work
too so long as they are fairly modern. Also, if you are building
graphics-heavy web sites, it's a good idea to provide a simplied
mostly-text version for accessibility, users using PDAs and mobile
phones etc - or at the very least an RSS (XML) alternative.

--


x theSpaceGirl (miranda)

# lead designer @ http://www.dhnewmedia.com #
# remove NO SPAM to email, or use form on website #
# this post (c) Miranda Thomas 2005
# explicitly no permission given to Forum4Designers
# to duplicate this post.

mbstevens 07-25-2005 10:44 PM

Re: A few questions on the site building process (and hats off tothe pro's)
 
Robert Frost-Bridges wrote:

> http://www.mxdigital.co.uk/
>
> What I didn't realise 'til now was how difficult it is for you people who do
> this for a living when dealing with clients.


Consider working on an hourly basis in future. For a little thing like
a few web pages, writing up a good contract could be more expensive than
the pages!

> I tried
> explaining about the fluidity of a web page as opposed to one of their
> brochures and about accessibility but it just wasn't getting through.


That shows on your page -- on a narrow browser window it morphs to one
column, and has a horizontal scroll bar even on a wide window.

> I think all he wanted was that it look pixel perfect on his company issue
> laptop. The whole process took weeks as he was constantly asking for things
> to be changed and then changed back.


Small businesses like to put you on contract or verbal agreement by the
page, then keep fiddling with it forever. I know your pain! But if you
were working on an hourly basis, it would not be a problem for you at all.

> How do you go about testing your sites?
> My friend and I both use Linux and it all looks fine. I also hooked up an
> old 300mhz box via a kvm switch so I could run IE for viewing, but then I'm
> only limited to the installed IE6 (and Opera etc of course).


I'd also look at each page with both the Lynx and Links browsers.
You already validate, thanks.

> Also, there are now so many css hack sites around now I was wondering how
> many of you actually use them?
> .......
> I mean, if you look at something like
> http://www.positioniseverything.net/ there are hacks there for any number
> of scenarios but at the end of the day is it worth trying to slip them all
> in.
> ......
> How do you know where to stop?


I never use any, except the old 'ahem' hack to protect older browsers
and text browsers from some of the CSS. I find other hacks completely
unnecessary -- but my style doesn't try to crowd a lot of stuff onto
each page. Businesspeople who don't understand how the web works want
lots of stuff on each page. You should explain to them how much extra
it will cost to crowd a page with information visitors could use more
easily if it were spread across several pages. If they still want it
crowded -- well, you're working by the hour, right?

Explain that you could be doing it more cheaply, making it easier for
visitors if the information were spread over more pages. It might be a
good idea to write a polite memo. If they say "no", get out the hacks
book, take the time to get it the way they want it, and try not to
giggle when you drive to the bank.
--
mbstevens
http://www.mbstevens.com/

dorayme 07-26-2005 12:31 AM

Re: A few questions on the site building process (and hats off tothe pro's)
 
> From: SpaceGirl <NOtheSpaceGirlSPAM@subhuman.net>
> Newsgroups: alt.html
> Date: Mon, 25 Jul 2005 23:00:27 +0100
> Subject: Re: A few questions on the site building process (and hats off to the
> pro's)
>
> Bascially, for testing:
>
> IE6 (Windows), Firefox (Windows), Opera 7 (Windows), IE 5.2 (Mac),
> Safari (Mac) and ignore anything else.


Is there a IE 5.2 (Mac)? I use (less often these days) 5.1.6 and I know
there is a 5.1.7

dorayme


Neredbojias 07-26-2005 03:18 AM

Re: A few questions on the site building process (and hats off to the pro's)
 
With neither quill nor qualm, Robert Frost-Bridges quothed:

> Our contact at the company has been heavily involved at all stages and quite
> forceful in his ideas of what he wants (hence the transitional contact page
> as he was most insistent on the new window link). He also fancied himself
> as a web designer without ever having really read any html at all (never
> mind css), but he had a copy of frontpage which he kept using to send me
> knocked together demo pages which I then had to pick through. He also had
> an office full of colleagues who all had an opinion too. (for instance, he
> had one who suggested that we didn't use a serif font for the site as it
> made it look dated - I suggested maybe his colleague could adjust the font
> settings in his browser options). How do you cope with this?


Sometimes your really have to put your foot down. If you hire me, you
hire all of me, not just the part you want to control. Naturally there
may be some compromise, but it has to be smart compromise with certain
issues beyond negotiation.

> I tried
> explaining about the fluidity of a web page as opposed to one of their
> brochures and about accessibility but it just wasn't getting through. I
> think all he wanted was that it look pixel perfect on his company issue
> laptop.


A natural desire. However, can he resize the viewport of his company
laptop? If so. what does he want then?

> The whole process took weeks as he was constantly asking for things
> to be changed and then changed back.


That's fine - if you're paid for all the time.

> Drove us mad.


That is your problem.

> He didn't seem to have
> any concern for copyright either and seemed quite happy to just whack a
> multimap right there on the page until I pointed out that no you can't
> actually do that. We really found it hard work at times trying to explain
> what we were doing and why.


You shouldn't have to explain each detail. A few interim samples for
approval and that's it.

> A couple of things I wondered along the way were:
> How do you go about testing your sites?


Upload them and test the major browsers. Nowadays you don't have to
worry about anything to old; I no longer support NS 4 and only give a
passing thought to IE 4. However, checking different platforms is
beneficial (-but often difficult.)

> Also, there are now so many css hack sites around now I was wondering how
> many of you actually use them? I mean, if you look at something like
> http://www.positioniseverything.net/ there are hacks there for any number
> of scenarios but at the end of the day is it worth trying to slip them all
> in. How do you know where to stop?


Nah, don't use 3rd-party hacks. -Make your own (snicker). Seriously,
most things can be done with css (-even with today's less-than-
scintillating support) and those that can't are (-if you can salt-grain
the currently popular antipathy) usually well-handled by tables. Also,
in a pinch, there's server-side scripting.

--
Neredbojias
Contrary to popular belief, it is believable.

Jedi Fans 07-26-2005 09:14 AM

Re: A few questions on the site building process (and hats off tothepro's)
 
dorayme wrote:
>> From: SpaceGirl <NOtheSpaceGirlSPAM@subhuman.net>
>> Newsgroups: alt.html
>> Date: Mon, 25 Jul 2005 23:00:27 +0100
>> Subject: Re: A few questions on the site building process (and hats off to the
>> pro's)
>>
>> Bascially, for testing:
>>
>> IE6 (Windows), Firefox (Windows), Opera 7 (Windows), IE 5.2 (Mac),
>> Safari (Mac) and ignore anything else.

>
> Is there a IE 5.2 (Mac)? I use (less often these days) 5.1.6 and I know
> there is a 5.1.7
>
> dorayme
>

just make sure you validate html/css as well, to guaruntee most of the
other 200+ browsers...

saz 07-26-2005 12:28 PM

Re: A few questions on the site building process (and hats off to the pro's)
 
In article <3kl48eFv255pU1@individual.net>, web@brightonfixedodds.net
says...
> I was recently asked to help out with the reworking of a company web site by
> a friend of mine who had been approached by someone at the company. (my
> friend is actually a student on a graphics design course so we think maybe
> they were looking for a cheap alternative to a professional designer).
> Anyway he did some flash work for them and they asked if he could maybe
> help freshen up their web site. Basically they were looking at getting a
> redesign done at some stage but wanted the code to have a bit of a spring
> clean in the meantime and as he knew I was a html hobbyist/nerd I was roped
> in.
>
> Anyway, so far I've produced this:
> http://www.mxdigital.co.uk/
>
> from this:
> http://www.brightonfixedodds.net/oldmxd/
>
> What I didn't realise 'til now was how difficult it is for you people who do
> this for a living when dealing with clients.
> Our contact at the company has been heavily involved at all stages and quite
> forceful in his ideas of what he wants (hence the transitional contact page
> as he was most insistent on the new window link). He also fancied himself
> as a web designer without ever having really read any html at all (never
> mind css), but he had a copy of frontpage which he kept using to send me
> knocked together demo pages which I then had to pick through. He also had
> an office full of colleagues who all had an opinion too. (for instance, he
> had one who suggested that we didn't use a serif font for the site as it
> made it look dated - I suggested maybe his colleague could adjust the font
> settings in his browser options). How do you cope with this? I tried
> explaining about the fluidity of a web page as opposed to one of their
> brochures and about accessibility but it just wasn't getting through. I
> think all he wanted was that it look pixel perfect on his company issue
> laptop. The whole process took weeks as he was constantly asking for things
> to be changed and then changed back. Drove us mad. He didn't seem to have
> any concern for copyright either and seemed quite happy to just whack a
> multimap right there on the page until I pointed out that no you can't
> actually do that. We really found it hard work at times trying to explain
> what we were doing and why.


Always have a contract. Specify exactly what is expected from both
sides. If they give you something to do and then go back to the way it
was, charge them for that extra time - it is not part of the contract.

You're allowing your customer to run your business. I once said to a
customer "I don't tell you how to run your business, please don't tell
me how to run mine". He is still a customer, but now he's very
reasonable in his requests and listens to my input.

If I had lost him after the comment, no big deal. Like your customer,
he was more trouble than he was worth.

Robert Frost-Bridges 07-26-2005 07:53 PM

Re: A few questions on the site building process (and hats off to the pro's)
 
saz wrote:

> Always have a contract. Specify exactly what is expected from both
> sides. If they give you something to do and then go back to the way it
> was, charge them for that extra time - it is not part of the contract.
>
> You're allowing your customer to run your business. I once said to a
> customer "I don't tell you how to run your business, please don't tell
> me how to run mine". He is still a customer, but now he's very
> reasonable in his requests and listens to my input.
>
> If I had lost him after the comment, no big deal. Like your customer,
> he was more trouble than he was worth.


Thank you all for your comments. Our client has today asked us to do some
further work but wants a quote on a fixed price for it. He has hardly even
mentioned what the work is. We're going to email him tonight to put
ourselves on a proper footing from now on. We have actually incorporated
ourselves and that has now come through (this came from our client too,
they were having a tax audit and they wanted to know who we were and what
our tax reference was). So they way I see it, they want us to be a
bona-fide web design company for their taxman and a student and his mate
for their accounts-payable.

I have taken all your comments on board and we will definitely be a bit more
forceful from now on and hopefully business-like. I suppose we are lucky to
be in a position where we don't need to take any job, but if we do I would
like to make sure we do a good job.

--
Robert
http://brightonfixedodds.net

mbstevens 07-27-2005 04:37 AM

Re: A few questions on the site building process (and hats off tothe pro's)
 
Robert Frost-Bridges wrote:

> I have taken all your comments on board and we will definitely be a bit more
> forceful...


"What we do here today will echo through history!"
[ Crowe ]

"You talkin' to _me_?"
[ De Nero ]

"Go ahead, make my day."
[ Eastwood ]
;)




Blinky the Shark 07-27-2005 08:43 AM

Re: A few questions on the site building process (and hats off to the pro's)
 
mbstevens wrote:

> Robert Frost-Bridges wrote:


>> I have taken all your comments on board and we will definitely be a bit more
>> forceful...


> "What we do here today will echo through history!"
> [ Crowe ]


> "You talkin' to _me_?"
> [ De Nero ]


> "Go ahead, make my day."
> [ Eastwood ]


I dunno what's going on, here, but I must add:

"Did you say 'yoot'?" [Gwynn]

"Anyway, it was a great copulation." [George]

:)

--
Blinky Linux Registered User 297263
Killing all Usenet posts from Google Groups
Info: http://blinkynet.net/comp/uip5.html
*ALSO contains links for access to the NON-BETA GG archive interface*


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