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We know how to help you communicate with your clients, customers and prospects, with beautifully designed websites, reliable and trackable email marketing, and social media

laura@inventivemanagement.co.uk or 0131 248 2552

Web design & development

If you think it's expensive to hire a professional, wait until you see how expensive it is to hire an amateur
Red Adair

Anyone can build a website, because there is no barrier to entry and the web is relatively unregulated. In many ways this is great, but it also makes it difficult to separate good designers from bad.

The web design half of Inventive Management is Alistair Robinson (@saxjam), who has over 10 years' experience in web design and development, working for many organizations large and small.

Everyone is still getting used to the technological challenges of the web, and the choices available are bewildering. But paying close attention to the web design standards that have grown up in the last few years we can navigate through this confusion.

The web sites we produce are built to standards derived from the most forward-looking web gurus in the world, as well as from research into compatibility, accessibility, and user-experience.

Your web site has to work

A web site is usually more than just a business card. But even if that's all it is, it still has to convert a page view into an enquiry. This is why it's vital that form and function work in harmony: it needs to be useful, not just pretty. The design should never be an obstacle in the path of a site's visitors, who have something they want to do - they're not there to gaze admiringly.

We build sites that are not only good-looking, but actually work properly: they respect the visitors' instinctive user-interface expectations, which makes them easy to use - all with the aim of producing sales, sign-ups or enquiries. We know how to solve the numerous problems that can beset even relatively simple web sites...

How will people find your site?

Web sites do not magically appear on the first page of Google. The art of getting a site ranked highly in the search engines is called Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and we know how to do it the right way. There is no area of design or implementation that doesn't have an affect on SEO, so it is integral to every step in our web development process.

Our business combines technical skills with marketing skills, and that's exactly what is required for strong, ongoing SEO. We do everything from the use of the best web standards, well-structured HTML and fast page-load times, right through to keyword optimization and monitoring using various tools, such as Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools.

How will you get people to stay on your site, and come back?

We design and structure sites to ensure that there is every incentive for visitors to hang around. This means an attractive design, good functionality, easy navigation, and good content.

The web has changed, and websites are not what they used to be. Much of the content on the web is not browsed directly on the web sites it comes from, but in feed readers and other applications.

We make the most of blog feeds, product feeds, newsletter signup forms, and feedback forms, to involve the visitor in the experience and gain return visits from subscribers.

That's all backed up by social media marketing and properly designed email newsletters, all optimized to bring people back to your site. And we make it easy for you to keep an up-to-date blog to tell your customers and contacts about what's happening with your business.

On top of that, we can actually measure how your site performs, and the effectiveness of any campaigns, with the detailed statistics we get in Google Analytics.

Using this we can see how long people stay on your site, what pages they looked at, and what buttons and links they clicked.

How do you know if your site will work on all the available platforms and devices?

You can't control how people will view your site, so we test for compatibility across multiple platforms, browsers, and devices, throughout the build process.

As it's impossible to mimic every user's experience, we ensure maximum compatibility and accessibility by using well-structured semantic HTML, tested for W3C standards-compliance and following the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

The end result is that our sites cope well when viewed and used in a variety of ways:

  • Platforms, eg. Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac
  • Operating system versions, eg. Windows 7, Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 2000
  • Internet browsers, eg. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Google Chrome, Opera
  • Internet browser versions, eg. Internet Explorer 8, 7, and 6
  • Devices, eg. Desktop PC, laptop, netbook, iPhone, Smartphone, iPad
  • Monitor sizes and screen resolutions

To varying degrees, all of these make a difference to how your site will work for your visitors.

How will you keep the site fresh and up-to-date?

One of the biggest turn-offs is a site that has been left to stagnate. If there's even a hint that information, contact details, product descriptions or links are out-of-date, this can seriously damage your reputation and compromise any trust you might have built up.

Content management is key to making a long-term success of a web site, allowing you to keep on top of things without having to pay your web designer every time you need a change.

For this reason we supply content management as standard. We take the best content management systems (CMSs), such as MODx and Wordpress, and customize them for your needs, whether that's general content changes, product management, image galleries, customer databases, booking calendars or blogs.

The CMSs we use are also optimized for good search engine optimization, ensuring good crawlability for search engines.

Technologies we use

Wordpress logo jQuery logo MODx logo PHP logo MySQL logo FoxyCart logo Trac logo Basecamp logo Subversion logo Django logo

Wordpress

Wordpress is the most popular blog publishing platform and open-source CMS in the world, and winner of the 2009 best Open Source CMS Award. It is used by the Wall Street Journal, Yahoo, Ford, Sony, Ebay and many other big names.

jQuery

jQuery is a JavaScript library which allows us to provide cross-browser compatible interactivity. We use jQuery for: AJAX to make pages more responsive; interactive interfaces for calendars, tables and forms; and getting data and media from Twitter, Flickr and other services to display on web pages.

MODx

While Wordpress is a blogging platform which can also be used as a CMS, MODx is a full CMS and our platform of choice for sites that require a lot of content management aside from just blogging. Equally as configurable as Wordpress, MODx provides a sound basis for the development of search-engine-friendly web sites, and provides you with an interface that makes managing content quick and easy.

PHP

PHP is a programming language designed for web development. Wordpress and MODx, as well as thousands of other software products, are built on PHP, and it also powers many high-profile web sites, such as Facebook, Flickr and Wikipedia.

FoxyCart

FoxyCart is a shopping cart and checkout solution that can be integrated into any web site and completely customized in terms of both design and functionality. It massively simplifies the process of setting up an online shop, but still enables you to provide a completely integrated experience for your customers, without requiring them to go to an external site to make their transaction.

MySQL

MySQL is a database server that makes a natural partner for PHP, and is used heavily in Wordpress and MODx. It's used as an underlying database for most of the data-driven web sites in the world, including Wikipedia and Facebook.

Subversion & Trac

Subversion is one of the best examples of revision control for software development. It allows us to keep a central repository on our server containing the files that make up a project, with a history of all of the changes to those files. This means our code is always organized and safe, and gives us the freedom maintain several versions of the final product, and to try out new things knowing that we can easily roll back to a previous version if we need to.

Trac is an interface to our Subversion repositories that allows us - and anyone else who is involved in the project - to browse through the detailed, documented history of changes that have been made from the beginning of the project.

Basecamp

Basecamp is a web-based project management tool where you, the client, can see what's going on and - if you like - add messages, documents, issues and your own to-do lists. For the web development side of things we use Basecamp for tracking milestones and maintaining to-do lists. This works in tandem with Trac and Subversion to give us a powerful means for producing quality sites and applications quickly and securely.

Django

Django is a modern alternative to PHP-based web sites. It is a web application framework based on the Python programming language, and it is designed for the fast development of customized, modular, maintainable, secure and high-performance applications. If Wordpress or MODx doesn't quite fit the bill, we use Django to create an application that does just what you need it to.

Portfolio

Life is Good: Launching November

Life is Good screenshot
  • Bespoke hand-crafted design
  • Full e-commerce system
  • Product management
  • Order management
  • Social media integration
  • Search engine optimization

Launching in November, this site will be the online arm of the Life is Good shop just opened in Morningside, Edinburgh, selling designer furniture, clothes and décor.

As well as being an e-commerce site it will also be the hub for the many social events that are being held at the shop, and will make the most of social media and blogging.

More details soon!

Tilly & Rose

tillyandrose.co.uk screenshot
  • Bespoke hand-crafted design
  • Shopping cart & checkout
  • Wordpress content management
  • Product/inventory management
  • Blog integration
  • Twitter/Facebook integration
  • Inventive Mail newsletters
  • Search engine optimization
  • Web site & email hosting

Based in Argyll, Tilly & Rose sell handcrafted gifts from independent artisans around the UK. They wanted a fun and approachable - but solid and professional - web site, geared towards selling products, making the most of the product photographs.

We built the site using Wordpress and the Shopp e-commerce solution, which gives the client full control over stock, orders, customer management, delivery and special offers. The site also features a customer login system and gift-wrapping options for customers, and a blog.

Visit site

Chop Chop Chinese Restaurants

chop chop screenshot
  • Bespoke hand-crafted design
  • Custom restaurant management
  • Custom content management
  • Loyalty members log-in
  • Social Media Strategy
  • Booking system coming soon!

It was a treat for us to work with the owners of our favourite restaurant in Edinburgh, the award-winning Chop Chop, which has breen going from strength-to-strength over the past few years, not hindered by their appearance on Gordon Ramsay's F-word

Alistair's work on the web site, which we launched in January 2011, was focussed on bringing the style up-to-date without compromising the restaurant's no-nonsense reputation.

The new site also makes it much easier for people to find what they're looking for, and consistency is ensured throughout with custom-built content management built with the Django Web Development Framework. Integral to the whole thing is a custom-made secure management system that allows owners and staff to manage loyalty members and points, and maintain reliable statistics.

Visit site

Critique of Pure Reason

critique screenshot
  • Bespoke hand-crafted design
  • Built with the Django framework
  • Standards-compliant HTML/CSS
  • Custom blog engine
  • Disqus comments

This is an ongoing project of Alistair's, based on a blog engine that he has developed with the Django web application framework, for sites that require more customization, efficiency and simplicity than normal Wordpress blogs.

Currently he is using it as a diary for his distance learning philosophy studies, but the application is in constant development and may grow into an online community for like-minded people.

Visit site

Capital Window Cleaners

capital screenshot
  • Bespoke hand-crafted design
  • Built with GetSimple CMS
  • Standards-compliant HTML/CSS
  • Payments by PayPal

Capital Window Cleaners, a great wee company who use the Reach-and-Wash pole system, wanted a quality web presence to help them in their quest for a paperless business.

The site didn't require a blog, and because we're great believers in using the right tool for the right job, we used a very lightweight and super-user-friendly content management system called GetSimple.

Visit site

Clementine Home & Gifts

clementine screenshot
  • Bespoke hand-crafted design
  • Standards-compliant HTML/CSS
  • Shopping cart & checkout
  • Wordpress content management
  • Product/inventory management
  • Blog integration
  • Twitter/Facebook integration
  • Inventive Mail newsletters
  • Search engine optimization
  • Web site & email hosting

The owner of this Edinburgh shop approached us to completely redevelop their old rudimentary web site, with an emphasis on quality, to fit with the style and product range of the shop itself. We drew much of the inspiration for the design from visiting the shop, and from the owner's boundless enthusiasm about her business and its future in online sales.

This site features a custom Wordpress theme, a blog and a fully integrated shop with inventory management system. More than simply an online shop or a brochure site, it's integral to the design of the site that it will be kept fresh, with blogging, features and news, backed up with email newsletters.

Visit site

Musselburgh Old Course Golf Club

mocgc screenshot
  • Bespoke hand-crafted design
  • Standards-compliant HTML/CSS
  • MODx content management
  • Latest news system
  • Image Gallery integration
  • Google Calendar integration
  • Massive SEO improvements
  • Web site & email hosting

This site, for the "Club at The World's Oldest Golf Course," went live in March 2010 and took the content from their old site and presents it in a modern, clean, easy-to-use design. The site was built with MODx CMS and this allows full content management, which we customized to fit the requirements. Customizations included an image gallery for every page, a news section (effectively a mini-blog), and Google Calendar integration for clubhouse, competition and training events.

Using the open-source MODx CMS software with "friendly URLs" was integral to satisfying one of the club's big requirements, namely for search engine optimization, in their effort to market to golfers around the world.

A couple of weeks after launch the site saw a huge increase in the number of its pages indexed on Google, from under 10 to around 140, owing to the new logical structure and good URLs. Visit site

The Scottish Golf Heritage Festival

golfworldsoldest.co.uk screenshot
  • Bespoke hand-crafted design
  • Flexible dynamic layout
  • Standards-compliant HTML/CSS
  • MODx content management
  • Shopping cart & checkout
  • Product/inventory management
  • Event and hotel booking system
  • User registration & login
  • Inventive Mail newsletters
  • Search engine optimization
  • Web site & email hosting

Launched in early 2010, this was a really interesting project for 1672 Golf Management Solutions, promoting their golf festival - which took place in July 2010 - to golfers worldwide. The two crucial parts of the site were the shop, selling merchandise from Musselburgh Old Course Golf Club, and the event sign-up process.

Building the sign-up process involved the creation of a multi-stage form for the registration of teams competing in the competition, and the optional booking of hotels and transfers.

To meet this quite complex requirement we created a clear step-by-step sign-up process, culminating in an integrated payment process implemented with FoxyCart. This was complemented in the customized backend with automatic inventory updates and product management.

Registrants were automatically signed up to use the secure user section of the site, where they could return later to view and amend the details of their team, and book hotels and transfers.

Pinnacle Telecom Group PLC

pinnacle screenshot
  • Bespoke hand-crafted design
  • Standards-compliant HTML/CSS
  • MODx content management
  • Announcement publishing
  • Company report publishing
  • Search engine optimization

Launched in January 2010, this information-centred site is aimed at potential investors in the Pinnacle Telecom Group. Essential components were the integration of live share price data from the London Stock Exchange, scheduled publishing of regulatory news announcements, and the publication of company reports.

Full customized content management is provided with a customized MODx content management system.

The guiding design principles revolved around simplicity, clarity, openness and consistency. Visit site

Sunny Side Apartment

sunny-side-apartment.com screenshot
  • Bespoke hand-crafted design
  • Custom booking system
  • Interactive calendar
  • Bookings management
  • Custom content management
  • Photo gallery management

When the owner of this holiday apartment in Side, Turkey, approached us to build a web site from scratch, we knew that photographs had to be essential. Photographs are displayed in sliding galleries in various parts of the site, showing the surrounding area as well as the interior of the apartment. Background-loading of images is used to keep the page load times fast.

But perhaps the star feature is the booking calendar, which allows people to view availability, select dates and send enquiries, all backed up with a more feature-rich calendar in the private availability management system, which we designed and built using the jQuery JavaScript library, having found that there was no comparable existing service. Visit site

Invision Your Life

invisionyourlife.com screenshot
  • Bespoke hand-crafted design
  • Custom booking system
  • Interactive calendar
  • Bookings management
  • Custom content management
  • Photo gallery management

We originally built this web site and administration system to advertise, promote and manage a series of seminars that hypnotherapist Jeannie Spencer held in early 2009. Features included a registration form, PayPal integration and an online pre-seminar questionnaire.

Since the success of these seminars Jeannie has gone on to sell CDs, run birthing classes, and most recently hold monthly workshops. Jeannie's ambitions are boundless, so to cope with the demands of her developing and growing business we have decided to upgrade the site to include full content management, due to go live in summer 2010. Visit site