Welcome to ad@ctio.com
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My name is Jeremy Keith. I am a freelance web designer based in Brighton in southern England.

I've been making web sites since 1998. I saw the need for a web design service specialising in small businesses and organisations. I can fulfil that need by providing web sites that are individually tailored to the requirements of every client. Instead of giving a pre-packaged one-size-fits-all web site, I rely on personal contact and involvement to give the best possible results at an inexpensive price.

questions
what works on the web
questions

Why do I need a web site? Every company, every service, every organisation needs a web site. Here are the reasons why.

What makes a web site work? A well designed web site must fulfil a number of conditions. These are the most important points in making a web site work.

Why are there so many bad web sites? The world wide web is full of badly designed web sites. There are many bad practices to be avoided when putting your presence on the web.

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Why do I need a web site?

Many people see the world wide web as a virtual shopping mall. Some see it as a giant community where people can find information and exchange ideas. Others view the world wide web as a medium for entertainment.

The web is all these things and more.

I firmly believe that everybody should have a web site. From the largest corporation to the most obscure hobbyist, there's room on the web for everybody.

At its very simplest a web site can be a way of announcing "Here I am" with an accompanying telephone number or email address to promote further interaction.

For small business and services, the world wide web offers an incredibly cost effective means of advertising. Compared to print, radio and television advertisements, a web site offers more information together with more possibilities for customer feedback.

The world wide web removes many of the traditional constraints involved in running a business. Customers no longer have to make a trip to the store to find out what's in stock. Shops, bars, restaurants, cinemas and theatres can entice people to visit with a well designed web site.

More and more businesses are realising the importance of a strong web presence. If your business isn't on the web, then it's going to lose out to the online competition.

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What makes a web site work?

Designing for the web would be a lot easier if there was a formula for making a good web site. Such a formula can never exist because different web sites have different needs.

Every web site has a goal. Some web sites are there to entertain, some are sources of information, others are trying to sell a product. All these web sites must be designed differently.

The first step in designing a site is to ask "What is the purpose of this web site". Once this question is answered and the site's goal is established, an audience can be targeted.

A web site designed to advertise or sell the latest computer games can safely target a high tech audience. If someone is interested in a computer game that can only be run on a fast computer with the best graphics and sound cards, it can safely be assumed that they will have a recent web browser, with all the latest plug-ins installed, and probably a fast modem.

Information based sites, on the other hand, should aim to reach as wide an audience as possible. A medical database, for example, should be accessible to everybody. This means that it should work on every web browser and shouldn't be too dependent on graphics, sound or other effects.

Most web sites lie somewhere between these two extremes. This site, for example, strikes a compromise. I want to be able to impress prospective clients with my use of animated graphics, and javascript effects, while at the same time keeping the site accessible to a wide audience. The result is a web site which is still visible in older browsers, but far more impressive looking in the more recent versions.

Once the goals and audience of a web site are established, the design of the site can be begin. Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad web designers out there, and, therefore, a lot of bad web sites.

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Why are there so many bad web sites?

The world wide web is full of badly designed web sites. If a web site isn't pleasant to view and navigate, then the visitor will leave. If this happens, the site has failed in its aims.

The problem is that while HTML is relatively easy to learn, design is an art form that cannot be mastered so quickly. Colour theory, balance and layout are just some aspects of web design. Added to that are the practical necessities of keeping download time low and ensuring that the site is visible to a maximum number of people.

Ignoring the subtleties of good web design, it's still amazing how many sites break the most basic aesthetic rules.

  1. Incorrect spelling. Nothing interrupts the flow of text quite like a misspelt word.
  2. Garishly clashing colours. You don't need to have an art degree to realise that bright red on bright green is not a pleasant combination.
  3. Blinking text and flashing graphics. These effects are not impressive; they're annoying.
  4. Haphazard navigation. I should be able to concentrate on the content of a web site and not constantly be thinking about how to navigate around it.
  5. Minuscule text. This is hard to read.
  6. Giant text. This is equally hard to read.
  7. Huge graphics. These will increase download time and encourage visitors to leave before the graphics are finished downloading.
  8. Broken links. Nothing is more unprofessional than a link that leads nowhere.
  9. Screenfuls of uninterrupted text. The web is not print. It's harder to read lots of text on a screen than on paper. Text needs to be laid out and broken down into bite sized sections.
  10. Uninteresting and unoriginal content. The most basic and also the worst design flaw.

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method
getting the work done
method

Every project goes through a process which can be roughly divided into three steps.

Consultation with the client. This is the first stage of every web site. The site's goals are established, ideas are exchanged and a contract is drawn up.

Creating the web site. The basic structure of the web site is created. Once the colour scheme and the overall look and feel of the site is established, the actual coding takes place.

Making changes to the web site. This is the final stage of the project. Final payment is made for the site design. Maintenance, where applicable, is then payable on an hourly basis.

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Consultation with the client

Every project begins with a meeting with the prospective client. The first step is to establish the aim of the web site. Some people have a very clear idea about what they want from a web site, while others have a more vague notion of the benefits a good web site has to offer.

At the beginning of the project, close consultation with the client is necessary to establish what form the web site should take. Ideas for the overall site structure are presented to the client for approval. The next step is to agree upon a look for the web site.

Various ideas for colour schemes and graphic designs are submitted to the client. Some ideas will be discarded while others emerge, as the design of the site comes to life. The client's input is vital at this stage, even if it is just to approve the proposed designs.

The client must also provide any relevant documentation and images at the start of the project. These will form the basis for the content of the web site.

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Creating the web site

The overall look and feel of the web site must be established before any coding can take place. This involves the combination of a colour scheme, graphic design and typography. These choices are often influenced by designs in other media. A music group, for instance, could have a web site which reflects the look and feel of the band's album covers and posters. This preserves continuity, and enables the association of a certain image with a specific product or service.

In other situations, the web site design must be created from scratch. In this case, a background in art and design is invaluable. Having studied at the Crawford College of Art and Design, I have not only the necessary design skills, but also the experience in turning designs into reality.

The HTML which forms the bulk of the web site is written by hand in a straightforward text editor. This enables complete control over the code. Web sites written in visual HTML editors often have unnecessarily bloated code and are difficult to edit.

At the same time as the HTML is written, the site's graphics are created. The client must provide the initial images, usually in the form of photographs and drawings. These are then scanned, adjusted to fit the design of the site and converted into a format suitable for the web (.gif or .jpeg). Other images, such as navigational icons, can be created from scratch.

In this way, the web site comes to life.

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Making changes to the web site

Before the web site can be considered complete, the site must be tested on a number of different platforms in as many different browsers as possible. When the web site has undergone all these tests, it is presented to the client for final approval.

Now, the web site is online. A good web site, however, is always changing and updating its content. Some sites require very little updating, perhaps once a month, while others need to constantly change.

A good design ensures that people will visit your site; regular maintenance will ensure that they come back.

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portfolio
web sites to view
portfolio

Case study

This case study is an in-depth look at the development of a successful web site. The evolution of the site design is shown from start to finish.

Web design portfolio

These are web sites I have designed, developed and produced. All of them fulfil the requirements of a well made site: quick to download, easy to navigate and pleasing to the eye

Web development portfolio

I have done development and production work (but not design) on these sites.

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Web design

MapPlanet Guided Tour view in a new window

The guided tour section of the MapPlanet web site is designed to be clear, concise and easy to navigate. The design uses existing elements from the web site while introducing new ideas.

WordRidden view in a new window

This is an award-winning "me-zine". The spacious design provides the perfect platform for the site's content. The site is split up into five sections interlinked with an icon-based navigation system.

Lost in Translation view in a new window

See the case study for a detailed look at this site.

Lunar Ride view in a new window

This is the official web site of the German rock band Lunar Ride. The site showcases the band's image. Visitors have the option of listening to the band's songs while exploring the web site. It is in German only.

Ingold & Burgert Technik view in a new window

This German firm, a supplier of building materials and tools, now has a strong web presence. The site combines a bold use of colour with a clean page layout and clear navigation. This site is in German only.

FernWeh view in a new window

The FernWeh web site is run by the "Third World Information Centre" (iz3w), a non-profit organisation. I wrote Perl CGI scripts to enable remote updates, site-wide searches and a discussion forum. This site has been designed to expand with time. This site is in German only.

Salonorchester Alhambra view in a new window

The official web site of the band from Vienna. Smart looking and humourous, the site is designed to reflect the character of a 90's band playing 20's music. Some elements of the site have since been altered by the site owners.

The Session view in a new window

This is a pet project of mine. The Session is a resource for players of traditional Irish music. The site is updated weekly, encouraging repeated visits. The site has an old-fashioned feel to it which matches the music.

The BEAM Homepage view in a new window

A web site for the Freiburg based band BEAM. The site has a tasteful, elegant look. The content is organised in such a way as to provide quick and easy access to information in the form of text, pictures and sound.

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Web development

Virtual Identity view in a new window

Virtual Identity is a German new media firm. I carried out HTML, ASP and DHTML work on the company's corporate web site. I also contributed to many in-house projects.

Vitra view in a new window

Working in co-operation with Virtual Identity, I was responsible for the front-end development of this ambitious web site. I wrote all the javascript for the site's DHTML interface as well as much of the HTML and ASP.

Siemens Interim Report view in a new window

This was another Virtual Identity project. Working from .pdf and photoshop files, and working under a tight deadline, I created the online version of this financial report using HTML, DHTML and Perl.

IZ3W view in a new window

The "Informationszentrum 3. Welt" (Third World Information Centre) releases a magazine every six weeks. I developed a javascript-based shopping cart for their existing web site. Following implementation of this solution, magazine orders increased threefold.

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contact
get in touch
contact

The quickest and easiest way to get in touch with me is by email. Simply fill out this form or write an email to:

jeremy@adactio.com

Or you can put pen to paper and write to me at the following address:

Jeremy Keith
5 Upper Market Street
Hove BN3 1AS
England

You can telephone or fax me at:
+44 (1273) 771 485

Whichever method of communication you choose, rest assured that I look forward to hearing from you.

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pricing
the best for less
pricing

Rather than offering ready made package deals, I approach each project as a separate piece of work. Therefore, my prices vary depending on the complexity of the web site.

There are two pricing models available to the client:

Hourly rate

This option is useful if the client isn't completely sure of the scope of the web site.

Regular invoices are sent to the client for all work involved in the creation of the web site, from initial design through to development and, where applicable, maintenance.

The advantage of this method is that the size and complexity of the web site can be easily changed. The disadvantage is that there is no way of knowing at the beginning of the project how much the web site will cost.

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Fixed fee

This is option is useful if the scope of the web site is clear.

At the start of the project, a contract is drawn up with the client fixing the price of the web site. This figure is reached following discussion of the site's planned size and complexity. Half of the fee is payable up front, and half upon completion of the web site.

The advantage of this method is that the web site can be budgeted precisely. The disadvantage is that changes to the site's size, complexity and scope cannot be made without drawing up a new contract and altering the budget.

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