The sites of clients I’ve worked with for the longest time are not the ones I feature as examples of my work. The reason for my choice in reference sites became painfully obvious last week when I worked with one of my established clients to refresh her site. The work is still in progress and the new site isn’t yet live, but I’ve already learned alot.
When we worked on the site in 2002, all we were trying to do was to increase her visibility on the Internet. She wanted her clients and prospects to be able to find her site when searching the Internet. She didn’t have much information to share, really, but wanted an Internet calling card so that people would know she was a real business. She also thought she might want to update the information herself.
To meet her needs, we created her website using FrontPage. We optimized her home page for the search phrase “San Francisco Medical Transcription”, and posted the little information we had. In those days of mostly dial-up Internet access, I remember fighting to find small graphics that would decorate the pages.
But, times, styles, and Internet norms change. Web pages no longer have background texture, mood music, and unrequested animations are either very slick or showing tacky ads, or both. FrontPage is no longer made, and most clients recognize that they don’t have the time to do their own web publishing so they allow web designers to use professional tools and blogs.
Today we expect web pages to be blocky, and we demand good-sized graphics. We want the pages to show up in a number of different browsers, so we expect that the code used to write them conforms to standards. In 2002, you viewed your web page in Internet Explorer. If it looked okay there, you were done. Now you validate your web pages according to international standards, and then you check them with Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and on a smart phone.
What can I say? I just like the result of today’s web development better than I like the look of what we did in 2002. Here’s the prototype of the new site.
The client chose the colors and layout, and we updated the text and added some stock photographs. It’s still a small, calling-card niche on the Internet. But, it looks like a 2010 niche, and will help her prospects feel comfortable with her business.
The shelf life of software — and web sites — is good. They don’t spoil and go bad. On the other hand, a site that hasn’t been touched in 8 years may not show off your business as best it could.