Design services

Core design services include website design, user interface design, and icon design.

Additional design services are available on an ad-hoc basis. On-screen services include design of broadcast email and e-newsletters, as well as supporting website visuals such as conceptual illustrations and architecture diagrams. Print-based serivces include design of product collateral, corporate identity, and tradeshow signage. Search engine optimization is also offered as a component of website design and development.

How long does a typical website/app take to design? What about icons?

The scope and size of your project dictates the time needed to design and build it. A small, simple website for a young company can be up and running within a month. A larger site for an established, multi-product company might take 2-3 months to launch. A complex web application can take as much as 6 months to design and fully prototype. The number of design treatments (and iterations upon those treatments), custom icons/illustrations, and interactive elements can add to the development time.

As a general guideline, an icon typically takes a day or two to design, color, and optimize at a standard array of sizes (from 16x16 up to 512x512). Variations on a theme can be completed more quickly, but icons that are conceptually abstract often require multiple iterations and additional time to complete.

I’ve hired an SEO firm to improve my site’s search rankings. Can you work with them?

Yes. We've worked with SEO firms in the past, and follow coding best practices to ensure search engines can properly read and traverse your site. Working with you and/or your SEO firm, we help identify opportunities within the site where specific search terms/keywords can be applied and optimized. Custom landing pages and microsites can also be created and targeted for specific search terms and/or lead generation campaigns.

I want my company’s/CEO’s blog to match our new site. Can you do that?

Different blog solutions offer varying degrees of customizability. For those blog solutions with robust support for customization, we can often achieve a seamless user experience between your website and your blog. For those with only limited support for customization, we can adjust blog colors, fonts, and available design elements to compliment your site's design.

For best results, identify the need for blog customization at the outset of your project, so that your website may be designed with the blog in mind.

I really like the site you did for {Client Name}. Can you clone that site’s design for my company?

Understanding what you do and don't like is essential to delivering a site that you'll ultimately be happy with. However, each site, user interface, and icon created by j.dubbs design is custom-made for that client, and that client only. Cloning another site — whether one designed here or by someone else — is not something we do. Consider this a protection for you as well, should you hire j.dubbs design for your design needs.

Can you build my site in Flash?

Flash-based websites have many significant disadvantages to HTML-based sites, and for this reason j.dubbs design discourages clients from using Flash as the underlying architecture for a website or web app. Development time is substantially longer for Flash user interfaces, and maintenance of Flash-based content is likewise more labor-intensive. Individual pages in a Flash site cannot be bookmarked, Flash-based content is not playable on most mobile platforms, and long load times deter some users from ever seeing a Flash site. Finally and perhaps most significantly, content rendered in Flash is almost entirely invisible to search engines, meaning a Flash-based site will likely rank much lower than a comparable site coded in HTML/PHP.

We recommend that clients focus first on the functional/interactive elements you'd like your site to include, rather than any particular coding mechanism to deliver those elements. Many clients find that much of the "flash" found in Flash websites can be achieved via creative use of CSS, Javascript, AJAX, and PHP, without the disadvantages inherent in Flash.

Do you work on spec?

No. Designing the user experience of a website or web application requires a high degree of collaboration between client and designer, not to mention a substantial time commitment from the designer. Design work undertaken without a full engagement between client and designer would inevitably fall well short of your site's potential.

What browsers should my website/app support?

At minimum, every site designed and developed by j.dubbs design will support the latest versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari. Most sites can be coded to support older versions of each of these browsers as well, though modern interactive features may need to "elegantly degrade" on older browsers.

The biggest question you will likely face is whether to support Internet Explorer 6. Unlike later versions of Internet Explorer or most any version of Firefox or Safari, IE6 improperly interprets several important elements of CSS, and lacks support for alpha-transparency in images. These two shortcomings can place limitations on how your website will appear in all browsers, and/or require substantial debugging solely for IE6.

For a corporate website, some degree of IE6 support is likely a necessity, given that it is still used in enterprises whose IT policies prohibit upgrading to newer browsers. For a web application, appliance, or other controlled-use scenario, requiring use of a modern browser such as Internet Explorer 7 or 8, Firefox, Safari, etc. may be more palatable.

I’m on a limited budget. How can I trim costs on my project?

The easiest way to keep design costs low is to reduce the number of unique design treatments you request upfront. While many clients prefer to choose from two or three conceptual designs or layouts for their site or app, each treatment contributes substantially to the total cost of a project. Instead, consider a single upfront treatment, with the option to add a second or third treatment as needed. This way, you don't pay for additional treatments unless you need them.

Clients are also encouraged to deliver website content in as close to finished form as possible, to minimize content integration costs. Finally, forgoing or limiting support for Internet Explorer 6 will substantially trim coding/debugging costs for many sites and apps.

How will my site be maintained once it’s live?

Depending on your needs and coding proficiency, a typical website can be maintained in one of three ways:

  1. j.dubbs design can optionally maintain your site on an hourly or retainer basis. This is the "cleanest" maintenance solution in that the site's design and code integrity are preserved over time.
  2. Many clients with staff proficient in basic HTML choose to maintain their sites' content themselves (such as editting text on existing pages, adding press releases, etc.). This solution offers clients direct control over — and responsibility for — their site.
  3. Clients lacking a proficient coder may use a WYSIWYG editor such as Dreamweaver to maintain their site.

In the latter two cases, j.dubbs design can optionally provide supplemental design services as needed, and/or compose a style guide to help you maintain the site's design integrity over time.

Most web applications are maintained by the client, given that companies' product development teams adapt and rework the prototype code delivered by j.dubbs design. In such cases, we remain available to revise and extend the app's design and functionality as needed.

Can I hire you to design comps for my site, but have my coder/assistant/Cousin Vern build the site?

No. Comps present a starting point for a website's look and feel, layout, and navigation — not a finished product. Design work continues well into the coding/production of a site, as content is integrated, new page layouts are developed, and new design elements are imagined. For this and other reasons, j.dubbs design offers design services only in conjunction with the coding/development of a project, not on an ad-hoc basis.