Comments and Pricing information - Trade Works Development Ltd.

Trade Works Development Ltd.: Trade Works Development Ltd. was actually started up by people that I worked with out in the Chilcotin, and once they moved up to Fort St. John, B.C., what they did was ingenious. They've combined their expertise and attention to detail in woodworking and metal to develop custom houses and custom camp trailers. The primary reason for their wanting a website, however, was to show off a subdivision that they were developing in Prince George, B.C. They indicated what it was that they were looking for by pointing out a comparison website, and I got some disks with a whole bunch of pictures on them. I had already given a quote for their site, which was to have been a simple Flash site, but once I saw all the great pictures and potential to show off what these guys could do, I chose to build a much bigger site. It showcases not just the subdivision, which has some funky Flash effects, but interiors and exteriors of the custom homes and industrial camp trailers that they build.

Pricing: Again, I was given pretty much carte blanche on design, which always makes me happy. But since I had already given a firm quote of $900 based on a simple Flash site, I admit, I was in a pickle. I had all of these great photos, I wanted to expand the site, but I had a huge project coming up that was going to have to take precedence over this one, so I didn't have much time. I finally did something I have never done before. I purchased what I thought to be a classical looking template that matched the cool colors of the custom homes and trailers and then customized it. Since it came with a built in photo gallery, it made my life much, much easier. I still had a learning curve. I had to learn how to use a template, and I wanted to make a lot of adjustments, so that meant I really had to learn it. Which kind of defeats the purpose of using a template. Normally it's so that someone that knows little about code and building websites can actually build a website. But in this case, rather than racking my brain for a good design, and then writing the code for it, I was able to find exactly what I wanted, purchase it, and adjust it to fit my client. I was then able to concentrate on all of the Flash content.
Without all of the Flash, I would stick to the $900 or a little less as being fair for a site like this. The Flash is another matter and is different for each individual application, so I really can't give a quote here.

Design Effects: There are many factors that can effect design, cost, and page load. On the home page of this site there is a photo of a fireplace with an alcove above it. I decided it would be neat if I could change the color of the lighting on the vase of flowers in the alcove. I had this photo on the custom homes page, not the main page, and so felt comfortable putting an applet on the image with a hue rotator. Looked fabulous! So much so, that the client wanted it on the front page. Not a good idea. No matter what, I've never been able to make an applet load fast, and this one was ridiculously slow and that's a very, very bad thing on your home page. So we had to come to a compromise. I rebuilt the rotating hue effect in Flash but since I had a deadline looming and was running out of time, I couldn't build it to look as spectacular as the applet did, but it still looks good, gives a unique twist, and loads fast. The client also preferred the look of the applet, and I did promise that sometime when I get time, I will play around with it some more but in the meanwhile, I was very fortunate to have a client that understood the importance of load times, and was willing to take my advice on it. Sometimes you do have to sacrifice design for utility.

Update: In 2012 owners of this website wanted all but the land sales part of the business pulled off of the site. If you would like to see the original much larger site you can find it at Tradeworks/index.html

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