A website is, first and foremost, a communication channel between an organization and its constituents. It is a tool that should better enable you to serve the mission of your organization, and it should not feel like an obstacle or a financial burden. It needs to be designed for impact, simple for visitors to navigate, and easy for staff to maintain. At the same time, it needs to be affordable and sustainable. In order to meet these goals, we adhere to the following guiding principles.
- Best Practices
To help ensure a healthy and stable site that can grow easily in the future and be maintained with a minimum cost, we adhere strongly to Drupal community best practices, including using Git version control, paying attention to security releases, and using only well-vetted modules, etc.
- Work Collaboratively
It’s in our name and we mean it. We work collaboratively with our development and design partners as well as with our clients. Effective websites cannot be produced in isolation.
- Streamline & Consolidate
Simplicity, wherever possible, keeps building and maintenance costs lower, helps ensure content and functionality consistency, and a makes for a better user experience. Sometimes it takes a more complex solution to get your good work done. We don't shy away from that, but to keep costs down, we try to limit complex solutions to situations where they make strategic sense.
- Long-Term Sustainability
We have worked with many organizations on tight budgets. Sticking close to the Drupal community codebase, rather than writing custom code, means easier ongoing maintenance, smoother upgrades, and a more stable and reliable website.
- Always Educating
Our role is not just to build websites. It also is to educate our clients about website best practices. We do not build your website in isolation; we involve you through each iteration of the build and expect feedback and ongoing dialog with you as the site evolves.
We build all new Drupal sites in a responsive theme, prioritizing web accessibility and responsive web design best practices as much as possible, within the bounds of time and budgetary constraints.
- Transparency & Accountability
We invite and encourage you to participate in all stages of the project. You will have early access to the development site and will be able to track progress, ask questions, and get hands-on training. We will ask you for feedback throughout the engagement; we don’t have a big reveal at the end so there are no surprises.
- We Give You The Keys
At the end of the project, we will hand you the keys to your new site. Our goal is to build your site so that you will be able to do as much as possible without a development team on staff. We will teach you what you need to know so that you can take your website over at the end of the project.
Staying Close to Drupal Core
We want our clients’ sites to be as stable as possible for as long as possible into the future. To meet this goal, we are committed to building sites as closely aligned with the “Drupal superhighway” as possible, and not going too far “off the road” with low-use contributed or custom modules. This is because we want organizations to be able to move forward in the future with their content database and website front-ends without us if needed, whether an internal team takes over, or another development team comes on board. This means that, for each piece of functionality that we build, we carefully consider following factors before deciding what contributed modules to use to provide the feature:
- How many people are using the contributed module?
- How well supported and stable is it?
- How well-documented is the module?
- How does the modules functionality and feature set fit in with the internal development and content admin needs of organizational staff?
Put another way, we will never use contributed modules for essential site functionality that would “paint you into a corner”, and we will never write custom modules without a solid use case, and without discussing it at length with you, and documenting them heavily and often.
Two Websites in One
We also look carefully at opportunities to document the site for you in the Drupal admin user interface itself. In short, we see every Drupal website we build as two websites: one that is outward-facing, toward an organization’s external audiences, and one that is inward-facing, that content administrators and website managers will use on a daily basis. We aim to enhance the administrative interface as much as budgets and timelines will allow.