Development

Website Timeline: A Plan for Success

The two most common questions that we are asked when it comes to producing a new website revolve around price and time. “How much does a new website cost?” “How long does it take to build a new website?” The answers to these questions vary dramatically depending on the size and scope of the project. Our team has designed, developed and launched websites within a month when absolutely required, while others can take a phased approach for more than a year.

Regardless of this variance, we have found that it always make sense to follow a well-defined process for designing and developing a new website. We establish phases and milestones for every web project and ensure that we hit the goals at each stage as we move into the next. This phased approach easily turns into a plan and a clear website timeline. Having designed and built hundreds of enterprise-level website, we know that this process works and builds a platform for success.

Drupal and Advanced Collaborative Content Authoring

One of Drupal's many strengths is it's ability to empower developers with a host of methods to architect an elaborate and granular content access permission hierarchy.  This allows multiple site administrators, typically from various organizational departments, to collaboratively administer site content through differing access levels. Upanup deployed a couple notable projects recently that required a fairly sophisticated user access structure: oakbay.ca and westfraser.com.  To achieve this, a rather complex matrix of permission levels was strung together using the following superb contributed modules:

Real Digital Agencies Don't Do I.T.

Creating websites, web apps and online branding requires marketing, design, communications and technical expertise. The technical aspect of this overlaps with I.T. (information technology), but it’s not the same I.T. required to set up email accounts and manage computer networks.

Not to say that some of our technical people aren’t capable of doing this kind of work. But, since it’s not their specialty, they wouldn’t be overly efficient at it and our clients wouldn’t be getting the kind of quality they should expect from us. So we leave the I.T. work to I.T. companies.

Making Websites Mobile Friendly Without Sacrifice

Mobile browsing is on the upanup (pun intended) and at a staggering rate. At the beginning of the year, overall mobile site traffic on average had jumped to 10%.  As we head into the new year companies are starting to see mobile visits to be climbing towards the 20% of total site traffic. There is no denying the rapid increase of mobile browsing and the growing need to have a mobile friendly website.

Considering the fact that 85% of Canadians are phone subscribers and 45% of those have smartphones this should come as no real surprise. What is surprising is the lack of awareness companies and businesses have when it comes to making their site mobile friendly. It may seem like a daunting, time consuming and expensive project, but it doesn’t have to be. Oak Bay Responsive Design

Silver for Upanup & Outset Media at Davey Awards

We're pleased to have received notification today that we won a silver award for the Outset Media website in the toy/hobby category.The site was jointly designed by Outset staff and our creative team, and developed at Upanup using Drupal content management system. It effectively promotes Outset's brand and profiles hundreds of Outset's products. The site incorporates a great deal of imagery, videos and a blog by the founder of the company. 

The Davey Awards are the largest and most prestigious awards competition exclusively for the "Davids" of creativity.

Oh, what will we do without IE8?

There's nothing like opening up a test site in Internet Explorer 8 for the first time. Granted it's a lot less painful since support for its predecessor died an inevitable death, but nonetheless there's that familiar feeling of "oh, right...the max-width image bug" and "of course that font doesn't render nicely" and "geez, the FOUC is gross".  Just for a second take a look at the evidence. It's damning. IE8 hurts efficiency, workflow and our sunny dispositions.

Security of open source CMS versus proprietary CMS

Recently we have had some questions about whether open-source content management systems (CMS) are more "hack-able" than proprietary systems. The concern is likely being planted by salespeople for a proprietary CMS, but I do realize that the subject does warrant research and a comparative assessment.

To clarify what I am talking about, open-source CMS platforms, like Drupal, Wordpress and Joomla, are free to use, and developers can adjust code at will. The platform is built and updated by a community of developers. Proprietary or closed-source CMS platforms have been built and packaged by a company, and remain in the possession of that company. That company, or their certified partners, are typically the only ones that can provide maintenance and updates.

Over the past ten years, the companies I have led have implemented hundreds of websites on both proprietary systems as well as open-source systems. Here are some of the truths about security and hack-ability as it pertains to all content management systems, both proprietary and open-source.

Keeping Things Semantic

Does this sound familiar: "I like how my website looks, but I hate updating it" or "When I update my website, things just seem to break"?

An integral part of Content Management System (CMS) development is investing the needed time and consideration into ensuring that site administrators are provided with editing tools that instil a sense of comfort and confidence when managing their website.  This is done by creating a CMS architecture in the most intuitive and semantic structure possible. There is tremendous value in designing usable CMS admin workflows, for the client and developer alike.

Create content nodes by type

Upanup Has Game From The Outset

Website Launched for Outset Media May 25, 2012 – Upanup Studios is pleased to have developed and launched an interactive website for Outset Media (www.outsetmedia.com), a prominent board game and puzzle maker based in Victoria, BC. The site, launched with more than 400 unique URLs, is completely customized and interactive, targeting end-users and retailers of Outset’s products.

The site was built utilizing the Drupal open-source content management system (CMS) which, along with Wordpress and Joomla, is one of the three major CMS's that Upanup typically considers for website development.

Upanup designed the site to be responsive to various platforms. This means the design aesthetic, navigation and usability is optimized whether somebody is viewing the site on an iPhone, Android, Blackberry, tablet, laptop or desktop.

Other features of Outset Media's new CMS website include scalable product-listing management, customizable forms, editable feature banners, photo library management, a video feed and several other admin-friendly content tools.

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