Arup Designs

Arup Sen designs and builds websites according to your requirements. You will find all the information you need about my services on this page, so get in touch and we can make it happen.

update 04/02/07 the arupdesigns site is now ready and can be found at the arup designs icon image

Contents of this page - testing, testing

what you need to get your site up

You will need 3 things to get a site up and running:

A domain name
Such as yogarup.com or yourname.co.uk. There are various domain name sellers on the internet and you can check to see if your idea has already been taken. The average price for a domain name is between £7 - 10 for a year.
Hosting
This is where your web pages will live. You pay rent (around £30 a year) for actual physical space on a server. There are many web hosting companies available and it's very easy to sign up for an account with them.
Web pages
These are the pages that are seen when you put the url or link to the site into the address bar of the browser. And this is the bit that I do. I can offer help in choosing a web host and getting a domain name, but I don't offer them. What I offer is to design and build the web pages with you. This is the most expensive part of getting a site up and can run into the thousands. I don't charge by the hour or per page but negociate a final fee with you before we start the project.
What is a domain?
The domain is not a website but simply the name. When you purchase a domain you essentially buy the rights to that name for the next year or two years or however long you want it. You also get to decide where that name will live. To start with it remains "parked" where you first purchase it. You can then move it where you like, usually to the hosting server. The hosting server has an address and you enter those details where you buy the domain and your domain will now live at the new address.

It can be worth getting your domain name and hosting separately although some companies now offer both in one package. If you buy your domain name through a hosting company then they own the rights to the domain rather than you. If you have problems with your host such as faults with their servers then you cannot move your domain elsewhere.

Hosting companies that offer actual physical hard drive space for rent also offer other things in their packages such as databases email addresses etc. It is worth comparing the various packages and deals on offer before signing up. The prices are coming down rapidly as companies are becoming more competitive. It can be tricky to understand the above when you have no knowledge of the web but need a site, so if it does seem confusing, then do drop me a line and I will explain further.

what I can do

I can do basic page layouts, picture galleries, ad banners, animations and many other things. It all depends on what you need. Perhaps it's just a simple home page about you and your news. Or a few pages to promote a small business. You may even want to sell your products and services online. Or have a banner created to be placed on another more prominent website. You may want a site that offers instruction and information rather than sales or marketing. You may want to have music or video clips. Any and all of this is possible.

Here are some links to what I have done:

I should also mention here what I can't do . . . yet. Dynamic or database driven sites. The website content is sourced from a database which may hold product information or news etc. So if you want to have a search field on your site, I can't help you. Nor can I do forms or any form of secure ordering. But I'm working on it. So if you want a full blown e–commerce site, then I suggest you look elsewhere for now. What I can do are called static pages which I create using html code and style with css code.

Update 21/11/06. I can now create forms and do blogs, fora and shopping baskets. I am not able to write the software myself but I can install it on the server. So if you want to have blog as part of your site, then I can do that. If you want e-commerce i.e. having a catalogue of products and a shopping basket system then I can do that as well. Some sites have an online community section, well now I can do that too. The last link in the list above is to my yoga teachers forum.

how it works

The process begins with content. Because the internet is a mainly visual experience, we tend to begin the design, but it really begins with what you want nn your site and who will look at it. The mass of content can then be divided up according to categories defined by your prospective user. It is those users in particular that you will be targeting, so it is important to get an idea of who they are and their likes and dislikes. This is what gives rise to the design. So first we look at the content, then at the prospective user, then create a rough site map. From that comes the visual layout and design, again keeping the prospective user in mind. We then meet for a coffee so that you can convey your ideas to me. I explain to you about domain names and hosting plans and then get to work on your designs. Once I have something I create a version 1.0 of your web pages and put it up on the internet so that you can see it and make comments and give feedback. This leads to version 1.1 and so on. At each stage I will require you to give me the thumbs up (sign–off) before we move to the text stage. Eventually we reach a stage where you are happy with your site. We design the site together.

design points

As you will be providing all of the content for your site, such as photos and text etc., here are a few basic pointers to save problems further down the design stage. These are not necessarily in order.

  1. It's not for you

    The website is for others to see and not for you. You have to make it attractive and have a general appeal. What you may like design wise may not be what your clients or customers want to see. It's best to try for a design that is fairly similar in layout to many existing sites that you already use. For example, the home button is always in the top left hand corner. You could put it in the bottom right, just to be different, but would probably cause the number of people using your site to decline rapidly.
  2. Ease of use

    How long do you stay with a site that is visually tiring and unclear? 10 seconds? That would be the maximum. You want people to look at your site, all the pages. But if it isn't clear as to what it's about and it's not easy to use, then they will go somewhere else.
  3. Compatability

    This is more for me really, but worth bearing in mind when you do your designs on paper. People use the internet with various platforms. Some use Windows computers, some Mac and some use Linux. Nowadays you can see it on your television and even on your palmtop computer. And then there's the mobile phone as well. One website being viewed on all these various devices with different operating systems and browsers. Will it look the same on each one? Probably not, but there are ways to make it so that they are fairly similar. One important consideration is the size of the screen that the average person is using. Also certain colours and fonts won't display properly on some machines.
  4. What sort of image do you want to project

    How do you want to come across? No one can tell if you are a one man band or a huge company. You can appear bigger or smaller than you are.
  5. Good photos

    The photos that you submit to me are the ones that will be displayed on your site. Make sure that they are of a high resolution and quaility. I will crop and resize them anyway, but it's better to have good raw material. Get them done by someone experienced or a professional. If you are going to do them yourself then consider a few points. A plain background that shows off the subject. Sharp focus. Well lit, preferably during the daytime and outdoors.
  6. Flash

    If you want your site with animations, then you need to do your designs in a storyboard style. You may want the whole site animated or just some elements such as buttons. Ad banners are often animated. Flash needs to be used carefully and seems to be going out of fashion in the mainstream. Specialist sites, such as music, arts and media still use it. But most users will think that if they see any form of animation that it is advertising and leave the site very quickly. Personally I find it very offputting and think that it should be restricted to ad banners or used in tutorials and guides. And from what I've seen lately it seems to be going out of fashion. (Hurrah!)
  7. Favicon

    The favourites icon is a tiny 16x16 pixel icon that comes up on the left of the url in the address bar. You may have seen them next to your bookmarks. I can design these for you, but remember to make it really simple as it's tiny. Can you see it in the address bar at the top?
  8. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

    This is all about getting your pages higher in the ranking when a search is done through a search engine such as Google. This will increase your internet prescence. I will do what I can to make sure that yours is up there when someone searches for something that pertains to your pages.
  9. Browser Testing

    The most popular browsers today are Internet Explorer for Windows and Firefox. So of course I will test your site in these browsers. I will also test them in other browsers namely, Safari, Camino, Firefox, Netscape and Internet Explorer for the Mac.

updates, aftercare and support

What kind of service would I be if I didn't offer aftercare. You may want to update your content every so often. Or your product range may change and you want your website to reflect that. If you have a schedule then that will need to be updated too. You may even want to fully redesign your site to keep up with current trends. Then you will need to renew your domain subscriptions and pay your hosting fees. Don't worry, I won't leave you to sink or swim once your site is online.

about me

I started designing websites last year around January 2005. It started by accident really. A friend of mine needed a site and I offered to do it but really had no experience whatsoever. Having made this promise I quickly learned how to do it and found that I really enjoyed it. I have since then designed and built many pages and have been giving advice on the basics of web design. I'm continuing to learn more and more every day, so the range of what I can offer you is constantly increasing. All of my work is done on a Mac G4 and the main software that I use is Dreamweaver MX, Fireworks MX and Flash MX. When I first started I used mainly visual tools in order to create layouts etc. But now as I am learning more I prefer to write all the code by hand. This gives far greater control even though my knowledge of code is not great, I can more easily find errors and bugs. I code using html, xhtml and css. I teach yoga half of the week and do web designs the other half.

This page is really a primer for what is come which will be full Arup Designs site offering a lot more.

update 04/02/07 the arupdesigns site is now ready and can be found at arupdesigns.co.uk

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