Examples: web apps
Web applications allow users to do more than view data in their web browsers — they can interact with it, modify it. This opens the door to affordable, creative solutions that entertain, engage and, yes, help get real work done.
Below are descriptions of web apps we've created for our clients. Let's discuss how we can make your job a little easier, or engage your audience more deeply. We welcome new challenges!
Custom content-management systems (CMS)
How do you add or update information and images on your web site? How often do you do it? If you need regular updates and don't have someone with HTML skills to do it as often as needed, or don't want to use their precious hours on routine tasks, it's possible a content-management system (CMS) could help you.
Custom CMS drives sports teams' web site
Key dynamic content on this sports team's web site was under client control for years via a simple content-management system we designed specifically for them.
Be sure to investigate and try out any off-the-shelf CMS before you commit to it. And learn what the migration path would be should you ever choose to change to another way of managing your site's content. It's sadly true that even some popular CMS either constrain your design and architecture choices to repetitive variations on similar themes or impose so much additional complexity that you could have learned web pogramming yourself and skipped the use of these frameworks. The enemy, in the latter case, is not the complexity itself, if the project at hand realistically will need it. But unwarranted complexity can make even simple tasks more complex, time consuming, costly and constrained with no significant benefit to offset those drawbacks.
We had the opportunity to develop and launch the first dynamic web site for a non-profit amateur sports team in the USA's Midwest. We designed and developed a custom CMS that allowed them to manage all the site's dynamic content via Excel spreadsheets and a few web-based forms. Our system used those to build interactive scoreboard-like displays users could click to get details of upcoming and completed games, articles with game photos, rosters of players, historical records and many other features that delivered very high value via a relatively low-tech mechanism that perfectly fit the client's familiarity with small-business software like Excel. And the page-load times were snappy.
Online, retail inventory assistant
Merchants with online stores know that getting retail customers to the site is just part of the problem. How do you keep your store's online inventory current without spending your profit margin, or your own valuable time, on site management? Who do you call to help add new merchandise, revise details and prices, remove items from stock and create categories or collections for users to browse?
More to the point, could your online sales profit from an easier way to manage your online inventory? There is a fast, affordable and easy way to update your online inventory yourself, whenever you want. We have developed custom online inventory management systems that do not require knowledge of web programming after they are installed and customized to your site's aesthetics and shopping cart. This great web application makes it a snap to…
- add and delete merchandise
- create and delete categories, or departments
- insert descriptions and recommendations
- change prices, shipping weight and more
- upload images, including closeups and enlargements
…and all the routine tasks most online merchants rely on someone else to do. Even for experienced web programmers, a well-designed online inventory management system speeds the chores of organizing and updating your online merchandise.
Always keep your online store's inventory fresh — customers notice!
Collaborative manufacturing tools
Say you have a modest business producing a number of items. Some things you sell have various pieces that get assembled, packed in a container you also produce, then shipped (in the correct packaging) to be displayed somewhere with signage you also produce. Other items may not have sub-components but might come in several colors or sizes or materials. With even a little success, it's easy to find yourself using several vendors in various locations and coordinating very complex orders. Hundreds of items could be in production at any given time.
Web-based collaboration tools
Screen shot of a working, small business web application we developed.
Our client was in that exact situation. They were successful enough to have incurred the production complexity of a larger operation, but they didn't have sufficient cash reserves or volume to warrant investing in high-ticket commercial systems.
We designed a system that helped the client's staff accurately calculate quantities for all the separate pieces that might comprise an item, in multiple orders of many such items each. It operated in a standard web browser on any PC with an internet connection. Orders could be shared online with vendors who, in turn, could update the production status, post scheduling notes and other workflow-critical information.
Summary: small business web applications
Flexible, portable technology
External Design web apps rely more on web coding standards than on proprietary tools. They typically deploy readily on any server capable of running common open-source software and can be used with any reasonably standards-compliant web browser.
Custom web-based application programs can be tailored specifically to your needs and avoid the overhead of larger, multi-purpose systems. We can consult with you and your staff to design how your application will work and look, who will have access to it, and what the development stages will be. While building your web applications, we'll always look for opportunities to deliver added value, such as the user interface design, improving workflow, providing online help functions, and more.
Web application development by External Design can improve your efficiency at a very affordable cost. We will do our best to put control back into your hands by building web applications that do what you want, how you want, and that can be tailored to your needs in a changing climate — especially important for operations that must be agile in order to survive and thrive.