Responsive Design

  • Time: Tuesday, 21 April 2015 00:00
Gone are the days when people viewed your website from the comfort of their den on a big monitor.  Chances are that visitors are using a tablet or a smartphone.  Your site needs to look good on a small or large screen.  If your site isnt mobile ready, Google will actually reduce your ranking!  Your website needs to be seen properly no matter what it is viewed on.  
To some, this means taking the lowest common denominator approach, using the smartphone view for all devices.  Pull out your smartphone and take a look at the typical non-responsive site.  What you will see is the entire width of page squeezed into the small screen, the text is unreadable and the images are unrecognizable.  Expand the page to where you can read the text.  You will probably  need to scroll left and right just to read one line.  Not very friendly is it?
What is really needed is for your website to recognize what it is being viewed on and adjust accordingly.  This usually means scaling the font to a readable size and reflowing the text.  
You could solve the problem by having several versions of your website.  The site then would only need to recognize the type of device that it is being viewed on (desktop, tablet or smartphone) and display the appropriate version.  The problem is that you now need to maintain at least three versions.  Not very efficient!
Of course, there are many other considerations.  Whole books have been written on the subject, so here are just a few:
  • Leave out the awkward content, if it doesnt fit on a smartphone, it may not belong on the website
  • Images need to be scaled to fit but do they work at the different sizes?
  • When columns dont fit side by side, they need to flow vertically, but does the content get mixed up?
  • Menus need to be adjusted (what do you do when you have one on the left and another across the top?) so that the visitor can click it easily
  • Does the site have anything that doesnt work on a smartphone.  Flash was big for a while but it is not supported by Apple devices
  • Bandwidth on mobile devices is limited compared to desktops, if its slow to load on a desktop, it may be intolerable on a smartphone
The answer is to design the website to respond to the device that is being used to view it.  A good solution needs to combine technical techniques with good design practices.

Content Management

  • Time: Tuesday, 21 April 2015 00:00

A content-management systems, or CMS, is a technology that enables websites to be updated by content specialists who don't want to be bogged down by the technology. A specialist configures the different components, giving the system functionality, wraps it in a pleasing visual presentation and then hands it over to the client. With training/instruction by the specialist, the client is then in charge of the site's content. This separation between the technology and the content enables 'non-techies' to work with the content, safe that their involvement won't break anything.

The content management process is relatively easy. If you can use a word processor or have ever posted a comment on a website, then you can modify the content on your own website using a CMS.

A CMS is also a whole lot more than a system for managing content. It's partly a publishing system that enforces all sorts of careful design rules without an author needing to know anything about how it all works. The key is the separation of the technology from the content. Think of it like a wedding invitation, you are only concerned with the details of the affair, the layout and design have been setup for you.

Do It Yourself Websites - Do It At Your Own Risk!

  • Time: Monday, 06 April 2015 00:00

You've made the decision to rebuild your website, or maybe you're looking to set up your first website. The first question that you ask yourself is "Should I do it myself or should I hire someone?". For some, you might be able to do a good job. For most people, this is a disaster in the in the making! To make things worse, many people go to one of those "build a website in 20 minutes without knowing what you are doing" site and hope to get value.

Let's look at the pro's of the DIY model first. Well, it's cheap! that's great, especially in this economy. Just remember, you get what you pay for! Your website projects an image about you and your business, just like a business suit. Would you make your own business suit (tailors & fashion designers aside) or would you buy the best you can afford. Maybe you can't afford the top of the line tailored Italian suit, but you can do better than sewing it yourself. Now a design is not the only consideration, functionality counts, A website is more than a logo, some text and some pretty colors on a screen and it takes more than expertise with a web site generator tool.

  • Looking at the flip side, the list is enormous so I'll only touch on the most important
  • Using one of the cookie cutter tools will get you a copy cat site, there will be many other businesses that look the same
  • You won't attract visitors because you don't know much if anything about SEO. What's SEO? I rest my case</li>
  • Your website needs to change often to keep visitors coming back, selection 1 of 3 options through the cookie cutter tool won't give you what you need
  • Using flash and stock graphics won't help you with Google and Bing searches.</li>

So why should you use a professional web designer? Experience! A good designer is not a tool jockey, a good designer thinks business and marketing, they eat and breathe technology and they understand enough psychology to get into the minds of visitors to your site. Combining all of this a good web designer will design and build a website on a technology platform that positions you and your business for the future.

  • How do recognize a good professional designer? Easy you might say, after all, doesn't your neighbor's kid develop websites? Look for these key talents
  • Business experience - does the designer understand your business, or business in general? Remember, the designer is part of your marketing team, NOT a tool jockey
  • Technical expertise - that's expertise not experience. Using a tool to generate a website is not the same as creating a website. The former is not much better than doing it yourself, you need some one who may leverage an open source system to keep the cost down but can write or enhance the programs. Not everyone can do this!
  • Web experience - writing code to appear on a website is easy but can the designer create a pleasant experience for your visitor or will it be a nightmare? Ask them to show you what they have done before. A good web designer is also a bit of a psychologist; they understand what a visitor wants from a web site and how they go about trying to get it. Not a trivial task! A website doesn't come with instructions and you don't get to stand over the visitor to guide them. A good web designer can do that.

Invest in a professional, you'll get what you pay for

For some more ideas, feel free to explore my website. give me a call to discuss how I might help you and your business

Websites for the Professional Practice

  • Time: Friday, 02 January 2015 00:00

Why does a website belong in an established professional practice? After all, you've been practicing for years, you've build up your practice to where it is through hard work and dedication, right? "Of course" you say. You have done everything you could to spread the word about your expertise, haven't you? "Well yeah I guess so" you respond. Have you aligned your practice with the current trends in the market and have you positioned your practice to service the critical business needs of your clients? Current trends? Critical business needs? "Wait a minute" you say, "I'm a professional, not a business person!".

Most professionals might agree with you. Take a look at your more successful colleagues (and competitors). They are successfule mainly because they have figured out how to to combine their profession with the business of their profession. OK, back to the point of this posting. Why do you need a website, a good website? You need one because your clients or patients and professional colleagues expect it. Even more importantly, your potential clients and patients demand it. Just for a moment, put yourself in the shoes of someone thinking of coming to you profesinonally (a.k.a. doing business with you). You are looking for the services of a (what ever type of professional you are), what do you do? You might look at your insurance provider's website if you are looking for a health care provider. You may ask family, friends, coworkers or others for a recommendation. Once you have a few names, what do you do? Most people today turn to the Internet. They will Google or Bing the names to see what the Internet has to say? They are going to look at your website, look at what you have written or done. They are going to look to see what associations you are a member of, and they are going to read what other people may have said about you in the blogs. Notice, picking up the phone to talk about their problem with you hasn't come up yet.

Try this. Search online for one of your better known colleagues or competitors. Compare that to what you find online about yourself and ask yourself this question: Who would you rather work with?

Still not convinced? Ask yousrself this questions, with what you found online, why would someone seek you out over your colleague/competitor?

What makes a great website

  • Time: Friday, 02 January 2015 00:00

What makes a great web site? Some might say that it needs great graphics; others might say it takes leading edge technology. Actually, it takes more than eye catching graphics built on top of expensive technology, it takes a great message. Where does that message come from? It starts with the business.
Fancy graphics delivered at blinding speed to a mobile phone has little meaning to a customer if they are not getting any value from the site. What is value? These days a customer may find value in many forms; it may be as simple as coupons, free shipping or the convenience of ordering from home in their bathrobes. Or it might be as complex as a tool that helps customers decide what to buy by comparing products.
To many, setting up a web site is an after thought, which is a mistake. Setting up a web site is like buying transportation, a limousine can't substitute for a truck. Likewise, a web site needs to be well thought out and built for a particular purpose. A do-it-yourself or one size fits all site is like using lawn chairs in a truck and calling it a bus. You get what you pay for.
A web site should give something back to the user beyond advertising. They can get that from a printed ad. Tell them something they don't already know, show them something new. Get them to come back by giving them a reason to come back.
What makes a great website? Maybe it's a site that makes it easy for a customer to do business!

Web Design Services

  • Time: Thursday, 26 March 2015 00:00

At Mazzi Technologies, we believe in doing the whole job. We give you a total package starting with development or redesigns to flexible and extendable content management systems. We are committed to working with you after the site is up and running to keep it fresh and exciting. For some clients, we take over the regular maintenance of the site, making updates as often as is needed. Many of our clients prefer to do-it themselves, so we provide them with the training that they need. We stand behind our clients, ready to help them should they call upon us.
We can provide hosting and support for your site or we can work with a vendor of your choice. Small or large, we collaborate with you to provide the right level of service that balances your needs with your budget. We leverage open-source technology to keep the costs down, integrating custom software into a single, custom high performance package at reasonable costs.