Size: over 100,000 pages
My professional status: contractor at Optimation
Website client: CreditSights
Dates: January - August 2010
Brief: CreditSights is based in the US and is a multiple award-winning provider of independent investment research. Their website is accessible by subscription only, and provides subscribers with comprehensive coverage of over 750 of the most widely-traded names in the US and European markets across 40 industries and 7 broadly-defined sectors. CreditSights produce over 300 research reports a month and their archives contain over 100,000 articles. The risk models built by their quantitative research group cover over 8,500 publicly-traded companies.
Optimation were updating the main CreditSights website, and were asked to build a new Marketing site that provides an overview of the company's services for potential subscribers. A design was provided by the same US design company that did the main website, with the XHTML/CSS being built from scratch and integrated into asp.net.
Optimation asked me to undertake a number of tasks in relation to the new website, including developing the design across all templates; building the XHTML/CSS; and bug-fixing and template tweaking sitewide. Once I had built the XHTML/CSS templates in Dreamweaver, these were integrated into the .net environment, and any subsequent tweaking was done from within VisualStudio.
My responsibilities included:
- Building a full set of templates in XHTML 1.0 Strict to ensure cross-browser compatibility and correct functionality, and linking these together to make a functional templated website, which would be easier for the integration team to integrate
- Developing and extending the new site design (which covered a limited number of templates) across all the remaining templates in order to retain design consistency
- Building and styling a range of signup and other forms
- Bug-fixing a range of display issues across all templates during the post-integration testing phase
- Tweaking the XHTML/CSS by hand post-integration to a reasonable level of accessibility within the .net environment using VisualStudio, in order to improve cross-browser compatibility, increase visual and functional consistency across the website, and to ensure that best-practice coding was used wherever possible
- Incorporating various dynamic graphical effects using jQuery - including tooltips and Shadowbox popup styling
- Extensive testing of my templates at all stages of the development process, ensuring consistency across the following browsers and platforms:
- PC: Internet Explorer IE6, IE7, IE8; Firefox, Opera
- Mac: Firefox, Opera, Safari
- Ongoing liaison with Miles Thompson, the CreditSights programmer working onsite at Optimation, as well as the Optimation dev team, to ensure that my XHTML/CSS was functioning as expected, and to provide additional designs, XHTML, CSS, jQuery and content graphics as required.
It was really satisfying to be able to build the new Marketing site alongside the work I was doing on the main CreditSights website. Whereas the main site was mainly tweaking and re-working existing templates and adding new elements, the Marketing site was a start-from-scratch build, which I always enjoy - probably because I get to do it my way and that makes my inner control-freak very happy.
Miles Thompson from CreditSights and Graeme Baker from Optimation are great guys to work with. They are highly skilled programmers and it's always fun to see my static templates come to life once they've been integrated into asp.net.
The site displays excerpts from the main site's 100,000 articles, which is why it's so huge, even though it's a promo site rather than the main event, and post-integration tweaking of my templates had to be done in the .net environment using VisualStudio. That's always fun - even though I am definitely not a programmer I end up spending some of my time playing with the C# to make it do what I want in conjunction with my XHTML - it saves me asking the programmers to stop what they're doing and help me, and I get to teach myself tiny bits of a new programming language into the bargain.