Web strategy

As our industry evolves, the very definition of the web is changing and expanding. Today, "the web" includes mobile sites and applications, social media, and integration with third-party services through APIs. Topics such as data collection and provision, privacy, and licensing are now critical considerations for every project. We can advise you on web strategy to make sure that what we deliver to you works for your business.

But your web project is only one of the many things you do as part of your business. We can help ensure that your web project is aligned with your overall marketing and company strategy. If you are already working with other companies on your web strategy, we are happy to collaborate using their recommendations as a starting point.

Business analysis

Websites built today no longer just deliver information. Even basic websites allow your users to complete simple tasks online, such as giving feedback or making a one-off payment. As websites become more complex, they may completely redefine how you, or your users do business.

Whatever your project, SilverStripe works with you to understand your business and the processes you want to automate. We perform research of your business domain and market, review your processes and systems, and conduct stakeholder interviews.

These activities enable us to model your environment and translate what we learn from our business analysis into an optimised web application.

Consulting

Do you have your own development team using the SilverStripe web platform?

When you are facing a tight deadline, need to create a new feature quickly, or require technical expert advice for critical piece of development, SilverStripe consulting can help.

Because SilverStripe CMS is our own open source product, we know every line of code. This knowledge, combined with our many years of experience in delivering web projects for our clients, allows us to offer a level of support second to none.

Prototypes

Certain projects, such as large migration projects or deep integrations with third party systems, come with high risk. Those risks may be related to:

  • Technology — Will it work?
  • Usability — Will users understand it?
  • Business — Are we modeling the right processes?
  • Performance — Will it hold up under load?

High-risk work requires significant effort to determine size, scope, and technical approach. In those situations, we build a prototype before embarking on the full project. This helps us understand the challenges on a deep level, manage risk, and establish how we work together. Prototyping also allows for early feedback and reduces the time and cost of the overall project.

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Information architecture

No matter how great your website content is, if your users can't find what they are looking for, you're not communicating effectively. Information architecture is all about enabling the user to find relevant information quickly.

Labels, searchability, navigation structure, word usage, and how you choose to organise your content all influence how your users meet their goals and how likely they are to stay or come back to your site. SilverStripe can help you build an information architecture comprised of content audits, user interviews, and card sorts. If you are already working with another company on creating an information architecture for your site, we are very experienced in working with such companies to bring their recommendations into our design process.

Wireframes

Wireframes map out key pages of the website, visually documenting the pages' suggested structure and content at a high level. Wireframes don't contain final copy or even show a final layout. Instead, they show indicative elements of each page.

The simplest wireframes are static graphics, but for more complex sites or applications, we create interactive wireframes that show not only the structure and content of the pages, but also user interaction. In an interactive wireframe, clicking on the wireframe's elements simulates on a high level how to interact with and navigate through the final site. This makes wireframes ideal for early user testing.

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Visual design

The visual design of your website carries your brand through to your web presence. But design is more than just making your site look good. A well-designed site draws users in because it communicates clearly and effectively, and is easy and enjoyable to use. The end goal is to organise the information your company has to offer in a user interface that speaks in a clear, unambiguous visual language.

SilverStripe practices design-led development, a process that puts discovery and research first. Only after we have a deep understanding of your business goals can we create concepts, start solving problems, and discover solutions while evolving the conceptual design.

The vision gained during the research and design phases guides the technical implementation through launch and beyond.

Mobile website design

Web design is not just for the desktop any more. The number of people who expect to interact with your business at any time through mobile platforms is growing rapidly, and mobile users aren't content with simply looking up information, but want to use services such as making a purchase or completing a survey.

At SilverStripe, we are enthusiastic users of the mobile web ourselves. We can create templates for your site that are optimised for mobile devices, or even create a special version of your site that's designed for mobile platforms.

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Website & application development

Website development is at the core of what we do at SilverStripe. We have built hundreds of websites for clients across the planet and we love doing it. Our proven open source CMS and web framework make up the base on which we build your site.

Whether you want to create a brand-new website or migrate an existing one, we use the latest web development techniques (and even create a few of our own), intelligently apply them to your site, and give your users an outstanding experience.

Application development

The distinction between websites and web applications is less relevant than it once was. Business software, including internal processes, are moving increasingly from desktop applications to the web, and geographically dispersed people collaborate through web-based tools.

Nearly all of our projects have at least some application components. In fact, we split the SilverStripe CMS from the Sapphire framework to accommodate this industry evolution. Doing so allows us, for example, to model your custom business processes and create multiple user interfaces based on business needs.

Because no two web applications are the same, every project is tailored specifically to your business needs. However, because the SilverStripe CMS and the Sapphire framework are open source, we can build upon the foundation of the SilverStripe platform so you can take advantage of a rich history of design and technical best practices.

Integration

Few projects start from scratch and are fully self-contained. Most likely, what we build for you will work with your existing systems or with third-party applications or databases. Every integration is different and tailored to your specific business needs.

In the past, we have successfully integrated with diverse systems that deal with environmental data, geospatial data, document management systems, payment gateways, journey planning systems, and many others.

Content migration

New web projects often have existing content from previous websites that needs to be migrated to the new site. We can migrate this content in a number of different ways, from manual migration to a completely automated system. We work with you to come up with the solution that's best for your particular situation.

When migrating, you need to consider:

  • The amount of content that currently exists, and the amount of content that will be created during the project
  • The state the content is in — will the content be migrated as is, or do you plan to rewrite it?
  • The current format — are you migrating already formatted web content only, or do you wish to migrate other types of documents?
  • Your internal processes for creation and review

We can write scripts to automatically pull some or all of your existing content and map it to the new site structure. We can also give you tools to easily manage large sites with many documents.

Intranets

Evolving organisations have evolving needs for communication, collaboration, and efficient completion of tasks. Intranets are no longer just a means to distribute information from management to staff. Intranets need to have content relevant to the specific roles of staff members, and they should be able to find that content quickly and reliably.

We have worked with a number of different organisations to redevelop their intranets. Our experience will benefit your project when it comes to needs assessment, integration with existing systems, content planning and copywriting, search and personalisation features, and deployment within your organisation's infrastructure.

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Mobile website development

The number of people who expect to interact with your business at any time through mobile platforms is growing rapidly, and mobile users aren’t content with simply looking up information, but want to use services such as making a purchase or completing a survey.

At SilverStripe, we are enthusiastic users of the mobile web ourselves. We can integrate 3rd-party services with your site and optimise them for mobile devices, or create a special version of your site that's specifically designed for the mobile platforms.

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Copywriting

We like to write clean, tight, and on-point copy. You have a message, and you need to make sure your message resonates with the reader.

Whether you are undertaking a content migration effort, creating a new site from scratch, or augmenting an existing site, we can help you craft the right words in the right way.

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User research

Your customers or users are the ones who will decide if your site is successful.

Who are they? Why do they use your site or application? What are they expecting when they interact with your business? What would they love to see?

At SilverStripe, we ask your users directly and find out through interviews, surveys, and site visits what matters to them. Using what we learn in what we build creates better outcomes for you and your users.

After the initial user research is complete and we’re in the early stages of your project, we can provide A/B testing and usability testing to confirm that we’re on track. Here’s a brief introduction to these two testing methods.

A/B testing

Are your customers more likely to respond to a video or text? How do you know that having a red button on your site is more effective than having a blue button? Using A/B testing means you run two different versions of your site, or an element of your site, and you can track which version delivers better results.

Statistics from analytics programmes are really useful at showing you what’s going on in your website, but they don’t provide you with the option to try two or more different versions of something to see what gives you better results.

A/B testing allows you to monitor two different versions of your site, to see which version provides you with more click-throughs, purchases, or whatever else that you hope to deliver to customers through your site.

At SilverStripe, we’ve developed a new module for A/B testing. In fact, we can even install it for you. Installing the code on your site is a fairly simple process for us. Specifically, the code change is trivial, it’s just adding the module and one line of code, which will then need to be deployed. However, if template variations are required, design resource is required to do this, and possibly development if there are javascript changes. After that, you will be able to use A/B testing in a multitude of ways, to see if different content or design elements provide you with different results.

Usability testing

Usability testing assesses how your site or application works for your users. Can your users find what they are looking for? Can they accomplish the tasks they've come for? Do they find it easy to use the site? Where do they struggle or get stuck?

We test usability with a small group of diverse users who are asked to complete a test script. We observe their interactions and document them. Lessons we learn from the test inform our design process.

We recommend running usability tests at several stages throughout the project, as early as the wireframe stage to get initial feedback, and later to validate what we've built. In fact, it is useful to conduct usability testing on your finished site at regular intervals to ensure that your Information Architecture and content is consistently useful and relevant for your users.

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