Website Design

Website design is about much more than homepage graphics. Skill Zone can help you at all levels of design: the design of logos and corporate branding, the look and feel of the website, the style of writing and the marketing messages, the menus, the forms and the presentation of data.

If you want anything more than just a few pages on a web site, a well-organised navigation system is vital. Without that, visitors will get lost in your site, will not find the information they want, and will look elsewhere. Skill Zone will help you organise your information and suggest ways that it can be presented to make it as clear as possible to your target audience, easy to use, and show you how to incorporate calls to action and positive outcomes.

Information before animation

The driving force of a web site is its information content, not technical gimmicks. The world's most popular websites, Google, Wikipedia, the BBC, all owe their popularity to a wealth of up-to-date information, not intricate graphics and animated logos. Skill Zone will help you identify the information content that matters to your customers, and suggest ways of improving and enhancing that content, and ways of keeping it fresh and topical.

Website usability

A website is different from most computer products. When we design a website, we cannot expect the user to go on a training course to understand how to use it. Usability, and understandability are key factors in successful websites.

We invest a lot of time to keep abreast of usability techniques and studies, to understand what today's typical web user and your typical customer is expecting. We always take time to put ourselves into the shoes of the site visitor, the one who isn't familiar with your terminology and who doesn't already know what you know. We ask ourselves if they will be able to find the information they are looking for and if they will understand what the website is trying to tell them. And we test, test and test again. It is this attention to detail which makes Skill Zone's websites so succesful.

Website quality standards

The reason for the breathtaking success of the Internet is that it is underpinned by strong technical standards. It is only by understanding those standards, and applying them in conjunction with good publishing, design and engineering principals, that we can develop robust and reliable web sites that deliver on the promise of the technology.

Skill Zone builds its web sites to the highest technical standards. We don't "optimise" it for one particular browser or one screen size, and sites which we built five years ago or more still work just as well on the browsers that are around today.

We build quality in. Not only do we invest a great deal of time in understanding the published standards, but we also have our own internal standards and guidelines which we build our web sites to, based on our real world experience. We avoid using code which we know causes problems with certain browsers in common use, even if it is endorsed by the W3C committee, and we regularly test our coding against major browsers and versions, and against a number of independent verification systems.

Our drive for quality also extends to proper documentation and auditing, sensible naming conventions, and peer review of coding style. It isn't enough to build a web site that works. We also have to build web sites that will still work years after they were written, and which are written in easily maintainable code. In everything we do, we try to make it easy to do it well, and hard to do it poorly.

Good technology is transparent

Technology works best when people don't even realise they've been using it. When you listen to a CD, does the artist want you to marvel at the wonders of laser beam technology or listen to the music? When you recommend a restaurant, do you base that opinion on the quality of the food and warmth of welcome, or on the sophistication of their food processors and deep freeze?

We are here to make you look good. When people visit your web site, we don't want them to admire our HTML coding. Instead we want them to admire your product or service, and to go away feeling they've got exactly the information they came looking for.

  THE VISITOR STUDIES GROUP: The Visitor Studies Group wanted a website which appealed to its target audience of museum professionals and which could convey important information easily.

COCKHEDGE SHOPPING CENTRE: Cockhedge Shopping Centre's bright logos are incorporated into a design aimed at the local shopping public.

THE BATHROOM REFURBISHMENT COMPANY: The Bathroom Refurbishment Company's website is its primary sales brochure and needed to show the quality and range of its work.