My name is Stephen Davy and I have been designing and building websites since 1995. This began with in house work for for Eldon Technology Limited and then, in my "spare time" I helped various other people in their own areas of business by designing, building and developing websites for them. Since leaving Eldon Technology at the end of 2005 I have been providing website design and build services as Davy and Davy. This page shows a few examples of how website design techniques have changed over the years.
Browser and screen sizes
Most websites are viewed on a variety of devices, from large desktop computers, through laptops, netbooks, small and large tablet computers to a whole range of different mobile phones. Unlike say, a printed page, the sizes of the screens on these devices are not fixed and a modern website should try to accommodate these variations as far as is practically possible.
Fluid layouts - Responsive layouts - Adaptive layouts
For a number of years I've been designing and building websites with fluid layouts that are easily viewable, without the need to scroll the browser left-right to see the width of the web page, on desktop, laptop and netbook computers of different sizes. A stage on from this is the use of responsive layout or adaptive layout techniques that extend this capability to mobile devices such as mobile phones (smart phones) and tablet computers.
Unlike browsers on standard desktop or portable computers, where the page is displayed pretty much in line with the website code instructions, smart mobile devices initially assume the page is designed for a much larger computer and scale the size to fit the smaller mobile screen. The user can then zoom in and pan, if required, to view parts of the page. While this is very clever and in many cases quite acceptable, in some quarters, including Google Inc., the requirement to zoom is not considered to be "mobile friendly". If a website is not mobile friendly then it is penalised by Google Search in the search results when viewed on mobile devices and, if for no other reason, it is wise to make websites mobile friendly as defined by Google. All my current designs are mobile friendly.
The Villa Rosa, Lanzarote website is a mobile friendly site which has a responsive layout that displays the page differently according to the viewing device but yet provides the same, complete, content to all users no matter what the device. This site uses HTML5 and takes advantage of CSS3 features.
The original site was developed in late 2002 to promote Villa Rosa - Lanzarote, Canary Islands, which is the main method of promoting the villa and results in steady bookings throughout the year. It has undergone various styling and technology changes since then, including the addition of a Comments and Reviews page in 2010 which allows past guests to add and edit reviews.
A separate mobile version of the website was added in 2011 before the responsive layout version was built in 2015. This adaptive layout presented the mobile user with a mobile friendly page layout with simplified content which was more suited to such devices, but which still allowed the user to make bookings and leave reviews. (The current version presents the mobile user with the same, complete, content as the desktop user.) The whole site was converted from HTML4.1 to XHTML 1.0 at the same time.
The Skeena Lodge website, http://www.solwayviewlodge.co.uk/, is a mobile friendly website which, at the request of the client, is loosely based on the Villa Rosa site in terms of layout but with reduced functionality.
The was developed in 2016 to promote this modern self catering single storey detached Canadian Cedar Wood holiday chalet overlooking the stunning shores of the Solway Firth at Gillfoot Bay situated in the village of Southerness, in South West Scotland in the beautiful area of Dumfries and Galloway.
The BVTExpress website was initially designed with a fluid layout for modern desktops browsers, going live in January 2015, but was updated with an adaptive, mobile friendly, layout in January 2016. The website promotes Bradford Van Transport, a Bradford based family business that is part of AA4Vans Limited.
Created over the winter of 2014/2015 I worked very closely with the site owner and a graphics designer to produce the look and feel required.
Built in HTML5 and using CSS3 features, the site is designed for modern browsers but also works well on Window XP's IE8.
The Snowdens of Haworth website, for the Army Surplus and Outdoor Clothing Shop located in Haworth, West Yorkshire was updated to be mobile friendly with an adaptive layout in 2015. The original site was born in 2000 to encourage visitors to the shop and for online sales. Having gone through three major makeovers the emphasis moved to eCommerce and this latest version, adapted from one developed in 2012, provides a very flexible shop administration system for the site owner.
Since 2012 the site has had a Davy and Davy developed eCommerce administration system, with a customisable but generic back-end, that can be used on other shopping websites with little or no modification, so reducing the time, and therefore the cost, to develop. The customer-facing front end is still handcrafted and unique to this particular website, built with HTML5 and CSS3. The eCommerce solution uses PHP and MySQL.
This S & W Pools and Solar developing website is designed to be mobile friendly with a responsive layout. Based in Lanzarote and Fuerteventura, the company offers a full range of swimming pool and general plumbing services to property owners and other professional companies throughout the islands.
In the early days, computer screens, and therefore the maximum size of the browser window, were relatively small but, over the years, desktop screen sizes increased whilst smaller, portable, computers such as netbooks also increased in popularity, meaning a large variation in screen sizes existed, and still do. This is where dynamic page sizing and "fluid layouts" comes in.
The Ezeetow website is an example of a minimal cost start-up website, with a fluid design, for a start-up company marketing towing dollies for motor homes. As the company hopefully grows the site can grow with it.
Built in HTML5 and using CSS3 features the site is designed for modern browsers but also works well on Internet Explorer 8, an obsolete and unsupported browser running on Windows XP, an obsolete and unsupported operating system, but nevertheless one that is still in wide use.
This simple website was designed and built in just one week in February 2011 for Chris Jones Private Hire to promote a reliable and friendly private hire service to businesses and individuals who are looking for that little bit more than a regular taxi.
Built with a fluid layout, the website uses XHTML1.0 Strict and conforms to WCAG 2.0 Level AAA and CSS3.
The 11th Keighley (Cullingworth) Scout Group website had its first showing in 2001. The aim is to promote the Scout Group and to provide basic information and contact details to parents. The basic format changed slightly over the years but in 2009 it was redesigned and rebuilt with a Content Management System to allow Group members to change and update certain areas. The latest version of this fluid layout site is built in XHTML with an off-the-shelf, Open Source, editor used in the CMS, and complies with WCAG 2.0 Level AAA and CSS3 standards.
Before desktop computers had large screens, the maximum size of the browser window was, therefore, relatively small and, even though the actual size of the browser window within that screen size was down to the user's preference, the variation in possible sizes was minimal. The width of a page could therefore be fixed and something that would suit most screen sizes of the time.
A good example of an older, fixed width, website is Medident Financial Planning Limited,Independent Financial Advisers (IFAs) authorised by the Financial Services Authority (FSA), has a core business in providing specialist financial planning advice to doctors and dentists in the medical and dental professions, along with the provision of a personal quality financial advice service to people in other industries and professions. Originally designed and built in early 2008, various facilities have been added at various times without going to the expense of having to design and build a new website.
Created over the Summer of 2006 this early, fixed width, AA Van Hire website encompasses four different businesses under one umbrella: AA Van Hire, AA Flexi-Fleet contract hire, Ashley Armstrong Commercials, light commercial vehicle sales, and Bradford Van Transport. The Vans Sales business is supported by a small embedded PHP based Content Management System to control the stock lists and accompanying images. The data is stored in simple text files which removes the need for database support by the website host.
The DeconSys Technology Ltd, fixed width, web site was a 2006 replacement of an earlier site designed by others. It is a fully compliant site with simple yet striking styling, in keeping with an existing corporate image, informing potential clients exactly what the company is capable of as soon as they enter. The existing host server was already PHP enabled and so this facility was utilised by including a PHP based enquiry form on the contacts page.