A lot has been said about Web 2.0 and agile methodologies in the world of IT professionals, but little if any of it is meaningful for your average small business owner selling, say, handmade organically-derived hypoallergenic soap.
User Driven Hosting was created as a simple concept, a simple mission with simple goals:
- Empower small business owners to leverage the internet to grow their business
- Specifically, showing them how to leverage existing resources instead of “reinventing the wheel”
You’ll see this come up on this site again and again as a recurring theme. One of the concepts of agile programming is the acronym “DRY” – don’t repeat yourself. Programmers got smart and decided to stop repeating work and use libraries of commonly-used functions and other code to the maximum extent in order to reduce the amount of time required to create and maintain applications. Web designers haven’t quite caught up with this trend. Unfortunately many web design boutiques and local web design “shops” and vendors enjoy reinventing the wheel only to pass the cost along to the customer.
The fact of the matter is that the majority of small business websites share the same features. Similar navigation and content structure, and similar application of “design.” (This doesn’t apply to fancy Flash-driven sites, but then we’re not in the Flash site design market.)
User Driven Hosting’s mission for each client is to quickly deploy a site built on an open-source, ubiquitous and rigorously-tested website framework. The technical specifics aren’t as important as what it does, and what the net value translates to:
- The ability to easily manage content – adding pages, editing pages, adding photos, video, items for sale
- Extendability – “plugins” or external sets of features written by 3rd parties to enhance this framework allow site owners to import other blogs, Flickr photo accounts, and countless other features…the possibilities grow daily
- Low cost per unit time – no SMB just getting plugged into the internet should spend thousands and thousands on web design unless they can justify it in sales
The bottom line is that agile web design = working smarter, not harder. Using existing resources, and working within flexible but reasonable rules to favor a practical and useful conventions over a website design – and budget – with unknown boundaries. As the agile programming language tool Ruby on Rails advertises, favor “convention over configuration.” Don’t sweat the small details, the sink fixtures and cabinet handles and shower curtain rings. Put your efforts behind the important tasks, such as running your business and educating new customers with a smart website, and everything else will fall into place. That’s what we are here to help you do.