Application Architecture

In conventional architecture and design, you do not put a building on a hillside without considering the foundation.

We work with all kinds of clients. Everything from existing applications undergoing changes to new applications from the ground up. We'll work independently to take a Project from inception to production, fill a specific role on a team, or work hand in hand with individual clients. All that really needs to happen is a simple phone call to begin a discussion to see if we can help eachother.

Strategic

In keeping with the Architecture theme, we need to lay some foundations in our earliest communication. A clear picture of the nature of what you want to modify or build is essential wheather this is a new or existing application. We're going to take the time to study what you want to accomplish so we can make sound reccomendations on things like what platform, what languages, what databases and the other technical requirements that may me required.

Site Strategy. We have to assume that you already have some specific ideas about what you want to do, or you wouldn’t be coming to us to begin with. Once we understand what your objective is and conceptually visualize how it might be achieved, our role is to give you guidance on what is feasible, and what is not, based on your budget, and to suggest different ways that you might produce the similar results, with different economies.

Technology Strategy. Your technology strategy involves scale-ability, the platform you are going to host the website on, the types of databases that will be deployed, the programming languages that will be used, and the development environment that will be used to build and maintain your website in. The complexity of the application will sometimes determine the direction, but there are always options, and thus more important decisions to make.

Content Strategy. The goal here is to clearly identify the actual content that you want to present, how it is going to be organized, and the way the website is going to use and manipulate the data as if flows through the various processes as part of the user experience. The ebb and flow of your website is defined in this phase.

Tactical

Implement your Vision

Content Production. Someone has to write the headlines and the copy, someone has to gather all the photos and images that are needed, and someone has to build and populate the databases. Is it all new data? Is there information in other databases that needs to be merged into the new ones? How? Do you need to take or buy different photos and images, or edit existing ones? If you are getting content for your website from other online sources, what does that look like? All this work needs to be done if you want to realize the original design concept.

Programming and development. Based on the application’s requirements, this is where the databases are connected to the pages that require access, and the presentation and programming flow of the applications is implemented and finalized for user testing.

Site construction and integration. Only at this late stage of the project are the bulk of the website pages constructed and filled with content. With all it’s pages complete, graphics refined, database and programming components in place along with a navigation structure, the full site is ready for user testing.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO). One of the original goals of going through the architecture process to begin with was to ensure the most recent SEO strategies were being deployed in the original application design. We don’t necessarily consider ourselves to be SEO experts, but we do follow the latest trends and keep ourselves current with what is considered good page design to the search engines that will be indexing your site. The website itself is just a part of the marketing mix, and there are a lot of variables for why a site gets listed on page one in a Google search. We focus on the fundamentals of you sites page layout and keywords so your site is easily indexed. XML Sitemaps are essential, and we have solutions for tracking, social media and blogging, and anything you may want to use to drive customers to your site. And of course we can also modify existing pages (and code) to incorporate anything that an independent SEO professional is advising you to do.

User testing and site refinement. Ideally, your full site testing should be done by people outside of the development team, so in most cases we exclude ourselves as objective partners in this process. However, if you have a site developed elsewhere and you want to have the site, or parts of it, tested we are set up to do that and provide you with an objective and quantified report on our findings. Either way, full Pilot testing of a new or modified website is always a good idea. It's your last line of defense and there is always something that can be tweaked in response to the feedback you get from user testing.

Social Media. You cannot ignore social media marketing if you are trying to drive visitors to your websites. Those days are gone, so meet the new normal. Any site we assemble will have two way links to at least Facebook, Twitter and Google+, and we can integrate another 20 or so sites on top of that. If you aren’t there yet, we can explain how it works and help you integrate links and code into you existing websites.

Blogs.You can not have a discussion about Social Media and connecting to your user community without talking about blogging. A lot of commercial business and eCommerce websites already use blogging to help improve their communication, and connection with their customers.

Integration, Control and Monitoring

Managing your application and it's Support System

The "Back-End". Every application is going to generate varying amounts of data and, even if it's just server and usage statistics, all of that can be presented here. Additionally, depending on what the application is doing, you may need interfaces into the databases that your application is storing data in. Things like Membership details, Order details, Email addresses, or data from a comment from. your users.

eCommerce Back-End. If your application is engaged in eCommerce, there is a need for another set of Back-End functionality to manage things like Orders, Fulfillment, Products, Product Categories, Item quantities, Sales Tax, Shipping Charges and a range of other options that may be present in your shopping cart application.

Tracking and statistics. In addition to your back-end control and reporting functions, we can gain additional information about your application's overall performance by looking at your server logs and by installing systems like Google Analytics into your applications from the beginning so you can gain additional insight into how well your offering is being received. Google Analytics is a decent tool and the data it generates is important. If you do not have Google Analytics integrated into your current website, we can set that up for you, and show you how to use it to improve the results you are obtaining with your Internet marketing.

API Integrations. API's (Application Program Interfaces) are used by a wide variety of companies to let your website communicate with, and use, their online services. Examples would include using Google reCaptcha on a comment form, using PayPal to process your customer's payment transactions, using FedEx or UPS API's to get shipping rates for a current order, or using the QuickBooks API's to keep your local Quickbooks data file in sync with you daily online transactions. There are lots of others API's out there, depending on what vendors you work with. We've worked with a lot of these over the years and the fundamental communications between servers is similar, using either REST or name/value pair sets to pass data and then handling the responses that come back. We can help you with any of this type of programming.