Case study: Biofolic

Or: How to Build an Online Community on a Commercial (WordPress) Website with a Tight Deadline

Biofolic was an intriguing project. A long-time client asked us if we could create a separate website with a webshop and, more importantly, an online community. Not something like Facebook, but an option to schedule doctor appointments, maintain a timeline of user actions, incorporate basic chat functions, etc. After further inquiries from our side, we agreed to take on the project with one condition: to spend as much time as needed testing if WordPress could be used for such a website.

Now, we know what you're thinking, "WordPress is not meant for these kinds of websites in any case," but bear with us. If Shogun and many other big players can do it, why can't we? Besides, we've been without a significant challenge for some time.

So, we dove into research and testing. The client insisted on WordPress, so we had to tweak many things on the user side to not look like WordPress, yet remain fast and simple. Another challenge was assessing how the website would handle a large user base. Would it break, become slow, or unstable? Additionally, we needed to connect it with external services via microservices, introducing AWS into the story. A lot was going on.

But it also took a considerable amount of time.

Everyone was eager to see the final product, something that could be viewed online. However, it couldn't happen until uncertainties were resolved. Consequently, we started some processes simultaneously. Every day, hours devoted to the Biofolic project grew longer. We commenced with theme design, concurrent with microservice development and the user panel. The deadline loomed, so we pushed ourselves as hard as possible. When in doubt, we referred to the extensive documentation built during the testing phase. It seemed like we might not finish on time—our client thought so too.

Yet, we managed to do it. How? To be honest, by accepting that we couldn't test every little thing that could happen in production. We had to have a little faith in our product. So, after the QA phase and with fingers crossed, we released our project into the digital ocean, ready to address any bugs that might come our way. Surprisingly, WordPress proved to be a platform that could handle this kind of website after all.

And were there errors? Of course! Nobody is perfect. But what's important is being ready to act when they arise.

Navigating the Web Development Seas: Choosing the Right Tech for Your Website

In the vast ocean of web development possibilities, picking the right technology stack is like setting sail with a reliable compass. Whether you're a lone sailor or part of a creative studio crew, the choices you make can determine whether your website sails smoothly or encounters stormy seas.

Why the Right Tech Stack Matters

Imagine embarking on a quest to build the coolest website on the internet, only to find out you've chosen tools that don't play well together. That's where the importance of a technology stack comes in – it's the combination of languages, frameworks, and tools that form the backbone of your web development project.

For a creative studio dreaming up stunning websites, the tech stack is your ship, and you want one that can weather any digital storm.

Setting the Foundation with Web Development and Web Design

Before diving into the sea of technology, let's clarify the roles of web development and web design. Think of web development as the builders of the ship, constructing the structure and ensuring it's seaworthy. On the other hand, web design is like the artists decorating the ship, making it visually appealing and user-friendly.

In the world of websites, the harmony between web development and web design is crucial. A seamless collaboration between the two ensures a website not only looks fantastic but also functions flawlessly. It's the perfect marriage of beauty and brains.

Choosing the Right Tech Stack for Your Creative Studio

Now, let's talk about the nitty-gritty of selecting the perfect technology stack for your creative studio's next masterpiece.

1. Define Your Goals:
Before hoisting the sails, know your destination. Understand the goals of your website – is it an e-commerce platform, a portfolio showcase, or a blog? Each goal might require a different set of tools.

2. Consider the Project Size:
Just as you wouldn't use a dinghy for a transatlantic voyage, the size of your project determines the complexity of your tech stack. For smaller projects, simplicity might be key, while larger endeavors may require a more robust combination.

3. Assess Your Team's Expertise:
Your crew's skills matter. If your creative studio is fluent in a particular language or framework, it might be wise to stick with what you know. Alternatively, if you're up for an adventure, exploring new technologies can be invigorating.

4. Flexibility and Scalability:
The digital tides are ever-changing. Ensure your chosen stack can adapt to new challenges and scale as your website grows. Think of it as future-proofing your ship against the unknown.

5. Community and Support:
Sailing the web development sea is not a solitary endeavor. Joining a community and opting for well-supported technologies ensures that when you encounter rough waters, there are seasoned sailors willing to help.

For a creative studio, the goal is not just to build websites but to craft digital experiences that leave a lasting impression. The right technology stack is the wind in your sails, propelling your vision to new heights.

Web Development in Action: A Voyage of Creativity

Let's illustrate this with a fictional voyage of a creative studio – Starlight Studios – as they embark on creating a visually stunning portfolio website. Here are some of the key points:

1. Goals Defined:
Starlight Studios aims to showcase their diverse portfolio of web design, graphic art, and multimedia projects. The website should not only captivate visitors with its visual appeal but also provide an intuitive navigation experience.

2. Project Size Considered:
Given the size of the portfolio, a moderate-sized project is anticipated. This rules out overly complex stacks and points towards a balanced combination of tools for efficiency.

3. Team's Expertise Assessed:
Starlight Studios' developers are well-versed in both JavaScript and Python. Leveraging this expertise, they decide on a stack that combines React for the front-end and Django for the back-end.

4. Flexibility and Scalability:
Anticipating future growth, Starlight Studios ensures their chosen stack is flexible. They incorporate microservices architecture, allowing them to scale specific components independently as the need arises.

5. Community and Support:
Joining web development communities, Starlight Studios taps into the wealth of knowledge available. This not only aids in troubleshooting but also provides insights into optimizing their chosen stack.

As Starlight Studios sets sail with their carefully selected technology stack, their creative vision takes shape. The website becomes a digital masterpiece, a testament to the seamless integration of web development and web design.

Conclusion: Navigating Smooth Waters

In the vast ocean of web development possibilities, the right technology stack acts as your guiding star. Whether you're a lone developer crafting your website or part of a creative studio setting sail for a digital adventure, choosing the right tools can make all the difference.

So, weigh your anchor, set your course, and may your chosen tech stack carry you to the shores of digital success. In the world of websites, where creativity meets functionality, a well-chosen stack is the wind beneath your sails. Bon voyage!

Mastering Efficiency: A Comprehensive Guide to Streamlining Your Creative Workflow

In today's fast-paced work dynamic, mastering the art of efficiency is crucial for success, especially in the realms of web development, web design, and SEO. Creative studios, in particular, thrive on the ability to deliver top-notch projects while navigating tight deadlines and client expectations. This is where having a streamlined workflow becomes not just beneficial but a game-changer.

What Does Workflow Mean in Today's Work Dynamic?

Workflow, in the context of a creative studio, refers to the series of steps involved in the conception, creation, and delivery of a project. It's the roadmap that guides your team from the initial brainstorming session to the final product. In today's work dynamic, where time is often of the essence, an optimized workflow is akin to having a superpower. It ensures that you not only meet deadlines but also produce high-quality work consistently.

In the creative realm, whether it's web development, web design, or SEO strategy, a well-defined workflow acts as a compass, keeping the team aligned and focused. It breaks down complex projects into manageable tasks, allowing for better collaboration and efficient utilization of resources.

What Are the Most Used Tools and Why?

Now, let's talk tools – the unsung heroes of a streamlined workflow. In the world of web development and design, certain tools have become indispensable for creative studios aiming to stay at the forefront of their game.

  1. Project Management Tools:
    • Tools like Trello, Asana, or Monday.com provide a centralized platform for task assignment, progress tracking, and communication. They enhance collaboration by keeping everyone on the same page, crucial for juggling multiple projects simultaneously.
  2. Design Software:
    • Adobe Creative Cloud remains the go-to suite for designers, offering a comprehensive set of tools for graphic design, video editing, and web development. Its versatility makes it a staple in creative studios worldwide.
  3. Version Control Systems:
    • For web developers, Git and platforms like GitHub are lifelines. They facilitate collaborative coding, allowing multiple developers to work on a project simultaneously without stepping on each other's toes.
  4. Communication Platforms:
    • Whether it's Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Discord, having a reliable communication platform is key. Quick and efficient communication is the backbone of a well-oiled workflow, especially in the dynamic world of creative studios.

How to Overcome Difficulties in Building Optimized Workflow

Building an optimized workflow isn't without its challenges. Here's how you can overcome them:

  1. Embrace Flexibility:
    • Recognize that projects can take unexpected turns. Be flexible and ready to adapt your workflow accordingly.
  2. Continuous Learning:
    • The tech landscape is ever-evolving. Encourage your team to stay updated on the latest trends and tools in web development, design, and SEO.
  3. Regular Feedback Loops:
    • Establish a culture of open communication. Regularly seek feedback from team members to identify bottlenecks and areas for improvement.
  4. Automate Repetitive Tasks:
    • Leverage automation tools to handle repetitive and time-consuming tasks. This not only saves time but also minimizes the risk of human error.

In conclusion, mastering efficiency in a creative studio's workflow is not a one-size-fits-all endeavor. It requires a deep understanding of the specific needs of your team and projects. By embracing the right tools, staying adaptable, and fostering a culture of continuous improvement, you can navigate the dynamic landscape of web development, web design, and SEO with finesse. Remember, it's not just about getting the job done; it's about delivering exceptional work that sets your creative studio apart.

Case study: Balkan Hidraulik

Or: How Much Involvement in the Client's Industry is Enough (or Too Much)?

Alright, so here's the deal – when you're crafting a website for someone, knowing a bit about their industry is like the secret sauce. It's not just for making things look pretty (that's UX/UI for you), but also for talking the talk and giving killer advice when your client needs it. Now, the burning question: how deep should you go into the client's world when you're building their website?

Let's be clear – we're talking web design here, not the nitty-gritty development stuff, which is a whole different ball game.

Picture this: We once had a client dealing with heavy construction machine parts. Easy, right? Wrong. When it came to figuring out what goes where on their homepage, we were drawing blanks. So, we went on a deep-dive mission. Checked out CAT, Volvo, SANY, XCMG – we practically stalked their websites looking for a magic formula. Spoiler alert: there wasn't one.

Now, faced with a tough choice: do we become industry masters or roll the dice with something unique? We went for a mix. Some parts of the design had rough edges, giving off a vibe like, "We're tough and strong."

How much did we really know about heavy-duty machine parts? Enough to not get lost in the weeds and sacrifice time we could spend on other cool projects, but also enough to tell our hydraulic springs from our lifters. There's something oddly satisfying about learning the ropes of something you knew zilch about. It gave us that cool, calm feeling when we wrapped up the project.

And guess what? The client noticed.

We didn't brag about our crash course in heavy machinery lingo, but the client's first reaction to the homepage draft was, "Have you worked in the industry?" Boom! That right there told us we nailed it. Another successful mission under our belt, and now it's time for a well-deserved beer. Cheers to rocking the web design world!

Embracing the Dark Side: A Beginner's Guide to Dark Mode in Web Design

Alright, buckle up, newbies! We're about to spill the beans on the cool trend that's shaking up the web design scene – Dark Mode. It's like turning down the lights in a room but for your favorite websites. So, what's the deal with it, and why should you care? Let's break it down in simple terms.

What's Dark Mode, Anyway?

Picture this – instead of blinding white backgrounds, Dark Mode flips the script, giving you sleek, darker vibes. It's not just a style choice; it's got practical perks, especially when you're browsing at night or in a dimly lit room.

Why Dark Mode Rocks:

1. Looks Awesome: First things first, Dark Mode looks snazzy. Your websites go from "meh" to "wow" instantly.

2. Bye-Bye Eye Strain: Staring at bright screens for too long can make your eyes scream for mercy. Dark Mode is like a comfy pillow for your peepers, reducing that annoying eye strain.

3. Battery Savior: Dark Mode might just save your device's battery life, especially if you're rocking an OLED screen. Less power-hungry pixels mean more juice for your binge-watching sessions.

The Bright Side - Pros:

1. Easy on the Eyes: Dark Mode isn't just for the cool kids; it's also a superhero for accessibility. It's like a personalized color scheme for folks with visual challenges.

2. Zen Focus Mode: The darker backdrop creates a zen-like environment. No glaring lights, just you and your content, vibing together.

The Not-So-Dark Side - Cons:

1. Design Dilemmas: Making Dark Mode work isn't all rainbows and unicorns. Designers need to play color chess to keep things readable and funky.

2. Compatibility Quest: Not all websites are Dark Mode-ready. You might stumble upon some oddities, like invisible text or wonky layouts.

So, should we come to the dark side?

Basically everywhere, peeps are jumping on the Dark Mode bandwagon. It's not just a trend; it's a lifestyle.

So, there you have it – Dark Mode decoded for the web design rookies. It's not just about looking cool; it's about making the web a friendlier place for your eyes. Go ahead, toggle that Dark Mode switch and join the cool kids' club!

Case study: Neurokard

Or: Sometimes, simplicity is the key.

Every business should have a website, and that's a fact. Additionally, considering there is a website for every 8th person in the world, it's hard to be innovative.

But do we always have to be innovative? Perhaps, sometimes we just need to present the right information, list our services, and include several pictures and a contact section. At the end of the day, no one will care about fancy animations if we don't convey our business with the right information.

So, should we make websites without CSS?

Absolutely not. The point is that it's entirely fine to have a website that's simple, clear, and done on a tight schedule. Neurokard was one of these websites. The client called us and wanted to have a website done ASAP, which we are very accustomed to. We began to explain to him how it is important to respect the website creation procedure.

However, he told us to stop. He doesn't want any of that. He just wants to have a clean-looking ID-type website that gives him a basic presence on the internet. And he needs it fast. So, we skipped a few steps in the design process and listened to his inputs, which gave us the result done in just three days. He was happy, we were happy. What's there not to be happy about when everyone got what they wanted?

In the end, that was the reason we left Neurokard on our portfolio. To show that it's okay to have a simple website and that we're proud of every single project, no matter how small it is.

Case study - Novi Dorćol

Or: Maintaining websites doesn't have to be boring

Novi Dorćol is a fancy new block in the center of our beautiful Belgrade, and they wanted us to maintain their website. Of course we accepted! After the initial talks and agreements on what should we do and how often, we started with the work and discovered one thing: it's pretty straight-forward. Do we like straight-forward? Sometimes - yes. In this case - not so much. Why? Because we knew there is potential for something more.

What can be exciting in maintaining websites, for god's sake?

Everything! For example, you have to add new blog post with several images and few CTA. Why don't you make a responsive slider out of images, with headlines over them? Or, CTAs can be so much more than a link. They can be blinking piece of text which can't be missed. Now, tell me that's not exciting!

Maps can be fun too. Instead of having all the stores and commercial spaces listed in one boring, black and white list with the names we decided to make a map with their logos. Now, people will have no hard time navigating long hallways looking for the store 27B.

But, be careful.

It is important to know your boundaries. So we didn't went too far and changed the UX of the website because we're bored with some simple maintenance. No, we kept it interesting but still did a lot of backups and other manual tasks that had to be done. At the end, someone else did the website and it would be not fair to mess that work. We are here to help and make it perfectly safe, with a few helpful tweaks, and that's it.

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