Alacrify Ltd

Cross Fertilisation and Brainstorming

Published on: 20th April 2009
By Alacrify



Cross Fertilisation and Brainstorming

Looking after a wide spectrum of clients' websites means there's always a new and different combination of issues to deal with. Some sites just need a small amount of content updating; like with Bay Publishing who needed a new banner advert placing on three of their sites today. Other work involves much more involved programming and development; we're still hard at work on two of our major projects at the moment, one in multiple languages and one using our new Simple CMS system.

Pros and Cons of Diversity

There are advantages and disadvantages to this diversity. The two big projects have benefited from parallel development. There have been lots of ideas in each that have been developed to benefit both projects. One good example is the use of "friendly urls".

In order to build a multi-language website we want to be able to use a simple means of identifying the correct language for presenting the site to the viewer. We could follow the path of using a Google lookup to see where the visitor is located geographically, but of course that doesn't account for Mexicans working in Monrovia, or Greeks in Guadaloupe who will want to view the site in their own mother tongue, regardless of where they're living or accessing the internet.

We also wanted to make the urls easy to remember and write down, avoiding the use of messy "variables" in the address - you know the sort of thing - anysite.com/page.php?variable=9287has989at08&var2=398798y. They're found all over the internet - we've even contributed a fair few ourselves with some of our sites. But as for remembering them ... not a chance!

So we've opted to arrange our urls in a more readable fashion, like the ones that you find on this website too. The result is web page addresses like: oursite.com/en/home where the language is embedded as 2 letters after the main website domain name. The rest of the url to the right of the language indicator is the page name that is being viewed - much easier to read and remember. Solving the issue for the multilingual site has given us options for our other sites too.

The only difficulty in this way of working is trying to keep everything rolling along at an even pace, and making sure we deliver all the work on time. And occasionally there are times when my brain melts...

New Networking Opportunities

The cross-fertilisation of the development process makes for some interesting and often unplanned for opportunities, not just in terms of code and design, but also in terms of business networking. A current example. One of our new clients is using their own YouTube videos on their site to showcase their work. Another client is in need of just such a service to promote their services and with them both in the forefront of my mind it seems natural to make the introductions. We'll see if it helps. Our wide spectrum of clients makes this sort of networking increasingly common. 

Some days it can seem like one long series of consecutive brainstorming sessions. And there are often threads that develop and grow through having many interlinked conversations. Many heads are better than one and we're always keen to hear other points of view and opinions about new ideas and opportunities. The result of this multi-layered dialogue is that no day is identical and the end results are invariably richer and more useful than if we'd just developed things on our own to our own initial plan and idea.

If you'd like us to work on a project for you or your business and weave your work into this creative mix then please ring us on 01300 320076 or drop us an email to jon@alacrify.co.uk We'd love to hear from you.