On The New Needmore Site

First, a bit of history. We’ve been in business now for more than five years, and as time goes by, it can get tough to take the time out for a project like this. They say the cobbler’s children are the last to get new shoes, and I believe it’s true. It certainly is for us.

In the past, it wasn’t this hard! In our first few years, we went through the first three versions of our site. Version 1 was terrible – I don’t know what I was thinking. This was in February of 2001. Version 2 was a little better – we actually had a few legit clients, as of mid-2003! Version 3 was 100% made with Flash, which didn’t work too well over time, but it was fun. This is now in March of 2004.

After that, we knew we wanted something a bit more professional than what had been representing us up until then. In March of 2005 we released version 4, which used some of that Flash, but added more text and resources, including a blog. We built it in a weekend, not realizing that it would last us so long. As it turned out, this version was up for almost three years.

There were some problems with that last version. For one thing, there were a half-dozen logins. We had a login to work on our support articles, a login to write in our blog, a login to see our statistics, a login to see our client surveys, and so on. When you have that many places to log in, you tend to get lazy, and you tend not to give your site the respect it deserves. Those days are over!

Our new website is built with ExpressionEngine. We like this content management system, and frequently use it on client projects. We’re thrilled to be able to use it on ours. Not only does this bring together all of the logins I just mentioned, but it also lets us update content all over the site. We can maintain our project and client listings, and it can automatically update the slide show on the home page. It can also generate news feeds from the different bits of information around the site. It has statistics built in, and a blog, and soon, our support area.

In fact, the flexibility of ExpressionEngine means that we don’t have to have everything ready on day one for the launch! We don’t have the support area up yet, but we’re almost there. (We just want it to look nicer first!). We also have a lot of tweaks left, here and there, but it’s no hurry. We just keep a to-do list of the things we still want to spend time with.

But the point is that we got it done quickly, and without using any Flash! We actually used the jQuery JavaScript library for our effects, which is a delight to work with. We were able to bring just enough interactivity to keep it interesting (try clicking the login areas at the top!), but without needing our visitors to have a plugin. It works great on the iPhone! And the site is almost 100% standards compliant, which means that it’s still usable by folks with disabilities, and will serve us much better for a much longer time than the last version.

We hope you like it!

Raymond Brigleb

Creative Director, dreamer, partner, father, musician, photographer. Has been known to ride the rails. Pulls one heck of a shot.