When it comes to web design and development there is always two paths to take – the bespoke service or the ‘off-the-shelf’ package. Personally I feel there is always the right option for the right job.
Take our new site for example, have a look around, poke a stick at it, kick its tyres and click a few links. On the face of it it looks like a fairly simple site but to achieve this it has taken a lot of hard work. However, a lot of this hard work had already been done for us by courtesy of the kind folks at the WordPress camp and its steadfast community.
Started in 2003, WordPress has since grown to become one of the most popular Open Source publishing/blogging platforms who’s developers are entirely focused on aesthetics whilst achieving web standards and accessibility. Its user friendly experience – you don’t need to be a ‘php guru’ use its content management system, built in Search Engine Optimisiation and the ability to entirely customise pretty much everything, make it extremely flexible for the designer, the developer and ultimately the client.
Their ethos towards web development is comparable to ours and when it came to re-developing our site there really was no option but to construct it on the WordPress platform. Sure, a bespoke, personal option would perhaps make us feel a little more special and all warm inside but put up against WordPress and its 5 years of development, its community of developers and constant security and functionality updates, it would seem a little over the top and a waste of resources to fulfill our requirements.
To utilise established, Open Source platforms such as WordPress, CubeCart, Joomla, Vanilla as well as other applications and frameworks such as MooTools, Script.aculo.us and jQuery is like having someone lay down the foundations for a building for you. The hard, messy, yet hidden parts are done and so, as web designers, we are able to focus upon the form and the function of the rest of the “building”. Afterall, we like making things look pretty, that’s why we became designers.
Open Source applications are becoming more and more accepted as viable, cost effective, alternatives to commercial software. We, as many others, now think of it as our 24Hour, One-Stop web development team. They have given us more tools to produce the desired results and meet the demands of our clients.
Our such recent examples include www.shipmanagementinternational.com and www.forgeracing.co.uk. Both sites have different demands but both began as a basic WordPress site. With WordPress anything is possible, that’s why I think it rocks!
However, I must add that with all this talk it probably makes me sound like I am dissmissing a bespoke service, I am not. Yes, I won’t deny we like and regularly build sites on WordPress but there are a lot of benefits of commissioning a bespoke site that shouldn’t be ignored. I am mearly pointing out that today’s web developers and designers need to assess each job on its own requirements and restrictions to choose the most practical solution.
After all, we still go all warm and fuzzy over custom sites.