Posts Tagged ‘Web Development’
in Beacon News, Mobile / Responsive Design, Web Development
Beacon Technologies is excited to announce the launch of NCTA’s responsive site redesign at http://nctechnology.org! The site was already in Cascade, but Beacon’s team helped to redesign the existing site with slight graphic changes and adopt a fluid grid layout. Our development team helped implement a new “rounded” look and highlight key areas of the site to improve site navigation and ease-of-use for the end user. View another one of our projects for more information on responsive design.
- Implemented a responsive design for desktop, tablet and mobile devices.
- The client wanted How to Sponsor an Event, Become a Member, Event Calendar and their Membership Directory given a prominent presence. Beacon helped make it easy for their members or prospective members to find this information.
- They thought their last site was too “boxy”; however, they liked the rounded corners that Apple has, so we provided them with rounded corners
- They wanted to highlight their main sponsors on the homepage, which we’ve done via a scrolling carousel right above the footer
- Changed the layout of the Events pages to highlight What, When and Where higher up on the page. On their old site, these features were getting lost in all of the content.
- Provided them with bigger and more prominent calls to action such as buttons in the left-hand navigation of the events pages for Register Online and Print Form buttons in the left-hand navigation.
- Made the News ticker more prominent on homepage – ticker at top of page
- Upgraded the search feature from Perlfect to Google Custom Search
The following folks had major role in the success of this project:
- Jennifer did a great job of coming up with a responsive design that addressed all of their requirements, but was still functional in a mobile capacity.
- Keana did virtually all of the development and Cascade implementation with great results.
- Tiffany was always available for technical support. She was there to answer any questions the developers had and helped out from a development/testing perspective when we were down to the wire.
- John Vine jumped in towards the end and helped set up Google Custom Search so we could migrate NCTA off of Perlfect.
- Justin provided analysis, development, and launch assistance as needed.
If you are building a new website or redesigning your old one, it’s time to consider a responsive design. Mobile and tablet usage has increased significantly and will continue to do so. In addition, there are SEO and maintenance benefits with responsive design versus having standalone mobile, tablet and desktop websites.
Tags: beacon web development, ncta, ncta responsive design site launch, north carolina technology association, reponsive web design, responsive design, Web Development
Posted in Beacon News, Mobile / Responsive Design, Web Development | No Comments »
in Web Marketing
Beacon and the team recently met with our long-time partners, VecoPlan. VecoPlan develops, produces and sells superior systems and machines for shredding, conveying and processing which are primarily used in the recycling process. Beacon is VecoPlan’s web management partner. We have been successfully providing design, development, managed hosting and digital marketing services for many years and enjoy working with their awesome team.
At our meeting we spent the first half talking about how Beacon’s services have led to a 100% year over year increase in leads. Leads that have fueled VecoPlan’s growth. The second half of the meeting we toured their facility to introduce some new member’s of the team to their operations. It was interesting to learn about the systems Vecoplan produces and how they are turning ‘waste’ into valuable materials that are used to produce new products, mulches and even fuel.
Check out the image below of Kim James showing Brad and Andrea one of their innovative machines that will help provide a more green and sustainable future.
Tags: Beacon Clients, digital marketing, Managed Hosting, Vecoplan, web design, Web Development
Posted in Web Marketing | No Comments »
in Beacon News
Greensboro, NC, March 1, 2013
According to CEO Mark Dirks, Beacon Technologies was nothing more than “an idea – a plan to form a web development company” when he joined forces with John Scaramuzzo (COO) 15 years ago. Today Beacon has turned a small web technology team with a local focus into one with a national reach.
“I still remember our first client like it was yesterday. It was invigorating to work closely with a small business to help give them visibility to the world through the internet, but also to feel the work had an impact. It was quite different within AT&T for the previous 13 years where we never dealt with outside customers” says Dirks.
In January 2013, Beacon Technologies reached a milestone with its 15th year in business; a feat rarely seen today. Starting out as a group of computer information professionals in 1998, Beacon now offers web development, web hosting and digital marketing services to a diverse set of clients in 43 states.
This past year saw unprecedented growth, with Beacon Technologies adding 54 new clients including Hanes Brands, Harvard University, Syracuse University, Honey Baked Ham and Shelba D. Johnson Trucking. The company now lists over 30 universities and colleges as clients. It is also one of the longest standing Google Analytics Partners in the country.
Dirks goes on about Beacon’s future, “We navigated through highs and lows over the years. We were excited by the fast growth and partnerships with Accenture and Lockheed Martin in the early days to develop FAFSA for the Dept of Education and web-based applications for the EPA. We toughened up following the dot-com fallout, the 9/11 tragedy and more recently, the stock market crash. My partner and Beacon’s COO, John Scaramuzzo, was instrumental in working through those difficult days and deserves a ton of credit in setting the financial foundation for success over the last 5 years and the future. I still greatly enjoy Beacon and its people. This year, we made another big step by growing our sales staff which will subsequently increase demand for additional development and digital marketing staff to support the widened sales funnel. We are traveling to many more national trade shows and continue to establish Beacon as a leader in Higher Ed and Retail web solutions as well. Plus we have several other cool initiatives that will be announced later in the year. It’s certainly an exciting time for Beacon.”
Beacon continues to give back to the local Greensboro community with both time and financial gifts. As a community partner of the United Way of Greater Greensboro, Beacon technologies increased its collective annual contributions in 2012. The company invites you to help celebrate their 15th by making a contribution of your own at www.unitedwaygso.org.
Founded in 1998, Beacon provides custom web solutions that help its customers fully utilize digital technology to grow their business. Beacon’s customers gain a competitive advantage through its unique, in-house ability to marry creative web design, quality web development, data-driven digital marketing and dependable hosting services to produce measurable results. In addition, Beacon’s long standing relationship with Google as a certified partner and premiere partnerships with best-in-class eCommerce content management, site search, email and other software vendors, allows it to deliver dependable, well-integrated web solutions to its customers throughout the U.S.
Rob Darst, Mark Dirks and John Scaramuzzo at the Anniversary Party
Tags: beacon news, beacon technologies, digital marketing, press release, united way, Web Development, web hosting
Posted in Beacon News | No Comments »
in Beacon News
This striking new Cascade site was launched on January 4, 2013: http://whitman.syr.edu/. Beacon completed a lot of excellent custom development on this site including the following:
- Develop a new website for the school using design templates provided by a third party design firm
- “Extended” top nav menu system that displays sub-level pages in a formatted and user-friendly manner and controlled by an include file “behind the scenes”:
- Customized home page banner rotation with extensive summary text area that can be maintained within Cascade
- Right column area (on lower level pages) that inherits the section page’s default content (or can be overridden at the page level) to minimize site maintenance
- Widgets to display specialized content (like news, testimonials, events, blog entries, etc.) as well as customizable call to action buttons
- Option to display standardized video player on any content page
- Customized testimonials template
- Cascade Workflow process for page-level approval
- Specialized navigation “pods” (like on this page: http://whitman.syr.edu/whitman-experience/index.aspx) that allow the admin to select which sub-pages to link to and display content about those sub-pages within the body of a page:
The client is really pleased with the new site and kudos to everyone involved!
- Justin—For extensive assistance in requirements gathering and software engineering, content import from the old site, Cascade training as well as “as needed” development assistance
- Tiffany—Responsible for the majority of the site development, including several pre-launch issues that were resolved in record time!
- Zed—For content updates and “as needed” site development
- John W—For assistance with a RSS feed issue
Another impressive Cascade site!
Tags: cascade, cascade server, content management, Managing Web Content, Web Development
Posted in Beacon News | No Comments »
in Creative Design, Mobile / Responsive Design, Other, Web Development
Two years ago I wrote a blog about “HTML5 the future of the web?” and now the future of the web is here. On December 17th, 2012 the Worldwide Web Consortium (W3C) published the complete definition of the HTML5 specifications.
“Though not yet W3C standards, these specifications are now feature complete, meaning businesses and developers have a stable target for implementation and planning.”
“As of today, businesses know what they can rely on for HTML5 in the coming years, and what their customers will demand. Likewise, developers will know what skills to cultivate to reach smart phones, cars, televisions, ebooks, digital signs, and devices not yet known.” said W3C CEO Jeff Jaffe.
Check out the W3C announcement: http://www.w3.org/2012/12/html5-cr
Tags: html, html5, mobile, mobile design, mobile development, mobile devices, smart phones, tablet, W3C, web design, Web Development, web standards
Posted in Creative Design, Mobile / Responsive Design, Other, Web Development | 1 Comment »
in Other, Web Development
I’ve been doing Web Development for years now and have gained a lot of insight on what can make or break a website project in any given stage of the life cycle. I typically am involved in full life cycle development (from start to end) and with this comes a lot of variables and unseen surprises. I’ve come up with a list of things that help a project stay on track and under budget.
This is the first post of 3 and will focus on the Analysis and Design phase of building a website.
Analysis and Design - The analysis and design is the MOST important stage of any website project. Some of the things we do during this stage are:
- Research all details from the audience to the back end integration.
- Make suggestions based on field research and client needs.
- Lay out exactly what the site will contain and how it will work.
- Plan out things like hierarchy and content importance.
- Create a design that suits the needs of the site.
As you can see it is a very detailed road map for the project. If something is not accounted for during this phase it could throw the entire project off track. If this stage goes well and all information is accounted for, planned for and explained clearly to the client it proves to be priceless for every other stage of the project. As a developer I can’t stress the importance of a good analysis and design phase. Some things that are done in this phase that help smooth over the development phase for me are:
- Clear communication and interaction from the beginning. I’ve found that sitting in on the last few meetings of the analysis and design phase is very beneficial for me in development. It assures me that everything being promised can be done and will work with other requirements of the site. It also keeps me familiar with the purpose of the site and why certain decisions were made.
- Written portion of requirements are also very important for me. I am very much a list person and having everything individually detailed out allows me to quickly finish development given there are no questions about what I am doing. It also allows me to test and ensure development is exactly as we promised. This saves what could be endless rework time of having to guess or hold off on items and then go back in and familiarize myself again just to make an update that could have been done the first go round.
- Lastly there are the design files, the actual PSD or AI files that have been created for the site design. Personally I feel the more detailed and thought out the better. If there is a form on a page did we account for the error messages? Is the file itself organized in a way that I can find things easily and slice from? Is it all inclusive in one file or do I have to open 10 different files? What if the text changes and gets longer? I prefer examples of all possible scenarios. Again if we have to come back and do things later it causes a lot of rework and headaches from having to redo countless other things to accommodate the change for that one thing.
The ultimate goal is to rinse and repeat the design and analysis phase as many times as needed to get a clear and accurate view of everything the site will entail. I know everyone wants to dive in and start building but just remember that we only want to develop once. Making sure everything is thought about and accommodated for in this stage ensures a more streamlined and surprise free project.
Please check back for the 2nd article in this series soon.
Tags: analysis, design, life cycle, planning, project, requirements, success, tech specs, Web Development
Posted in Other, Web Development | 1 Comment »
in Other, Social Media Marketing, Web Development
I enjoyed the following article “Inside Forbes: ‘Aha Moments’ From Our New Home Page” this week and thought I’d share a few thoughts/observations:
- Social media (“The breadth and depth of our home page changed dramatically with the addition of the Most Popular stack“)– We at Beacon are seeing social media become of vital importance in virtually every software development project we are now starting. If you aren’t considering social media in every customer touch point, particularly your corporate website, you are missing critical opportunities to engage your customer! Beacon can help, particularly with our “Social Media Marketing” services.
- Writer profile information (“Accomplished by including the journalist’s photo under all home page headlines. Then, upon roll over, you get an enhanced “info card” about the writer“)– Very cool! I’m not exactly sure where I’ll recommend this to my non-media clients, but I’m keeping it in mind for just the right opportunity… Perhaps a roll-over balloon on a university site whenever a professor is mentioned in an article or news that shows their expertise, contact info, etc?
- De-clutter the home page (“It invites engagement, not the brain freeze caused by home pages with a sea of 400-500 links“)– AMEN! Though I recognize the politics of the home page are very delicate, it is so important to engage your visitor to click deeper into the site rather than presenting them with hundreds of links and gobs of text content to choose from on the home page. The writer says that the comments have been 100% positive on this “clean and simple” approach, and I applaud them for accomplishing it!
What are your thoughts about Forbes new home page? Please share!
Tags: forbes, social media, Web Development
Posted in Other, Social Media Marketing, Web Development | 3 Comments »
in Web Development
I officially have 1 week left at Beacon Technologies. So far everything is going great! I am really excited about the Beacon NetCafe website. The website is coming along nicely. I am very impressed by the website and I would like to publicly thank Jennifer for her hard work on the website. I know everyone is busy right now and I appreciate her work on the website. The big thing this week is having a test run of the Beacon NetCafe. I am really excited about this event. All my hard work will come to a big finale with the test run. The test run will be short but it will show us how this event will happen in the future. Hopefully, the video feed will work and we will be able to utilize Twitter with the video. There are still many things to be done before the test run and many things to be done after I leave but I think this is a positive step towards having a monthly event for the company and its partners. I am confident that I can finish the projects I am completing for Beacon Technologies. After this week, I will hand off my responsibilities to Richard but still answer any questions if need be through email. It is a bitter sweet feeling to be ending my internship at Beacon Technologies. I am ready to get back to school and ready to complete the Beacon NetCafe test run.
Tags: Beacon NetCafe, Web Development
Posted in Web Development | No Comments »
in Web Development
My internship at Beacon Technologies is coming to a close but there are still many things to be done before I leave to go back to school. The previous week I completed the requirements and wireframe documents. I submitted the documents to the web designer of the Beacon NetCafe website. So far, the website is going along very well. The designer has setup a test website and it is taking shape. This week I have been working on the content for the website. This is just mostly writing up the various sections of the website. It will be important to finish completing the content for the website and giving this information to the web designer. I can’t help with the design of the website but I can help with the content. The next major step after completing the website will be a system test. With a system test, we will try to crack the website in every possible way. This is important before ever releasing a website to the general public. After the system test, a user acceptance test will be completed by Mark. The system test is from the developer’s side while the user acceptance test is from the user’s side. After all the tests are completed, we will complete a test run of the event or Beta test of the event. The website is coming along nicely but there are still many things to do. I am very excited to complete this project for the company. The website is starting to look complete and every day it looks even better.
Tags: Beacon NetCafe, creative design, Web Development
Posted in Web Development | No Comments »
in Beacon Team, Managing Web Content, Web Development
I officially have 3 weeks left at Beacon Technologies. I have learned so much in a short amount of time here at Beacon. I am learning the processes of creating a website. Last week, I finished the requirements document and wireframe of the website. The requirements document is a standard document created by the company to outline the basics of any website. The wireframe is a basic PowerPoint design of the website. It is important to complete both these documents in creating a website. The wireframe gives a bare bone design of the website so the designers have a direction to go when creating the website. I basically used Paint to create different sections of the website and put them into a PowerPoint. Once again, my photoshop skills are not great but the wireframe still created a basic design and feel to the website even if you can see the box lines of where I copied and pasted various items!
I never truly realized how much planning goes into creating just a basic website, and for the most part, this website is basic. It is always important to plan ahead of any event. We have not even started working on the website, but I have already put a lot of time and effort into getting this website up and running. I am looking forward to putting this website together in the near future. We still need to see how Google+ Hangouts will be utilized with the website. There is still a lot to do for the website before I leave this summer internship. I just hope we are able to get everything done before I leave and have a pilot run of the website and event.
The next step for the project is designing the website. I will not have much to do with the design of the website but I can start on the content of the website. The content will include the About Beacon section, Partners sections, Requirements section, and much more. I can utilize my writing skills for this part of the project. Another direction I will take next week is coming up with a slogan for the website. I am thinking about combining the café feel of the website/idea with the technology side of the website/idea. Mostly, I will try to brainstorm as many ideas for the slogan until I get the slogan for the website.
Tags: beacon team, Managing Web Content, Web Development
Posted in Beacon Team, Managing Web Content, Web Development | No Comments »