Feature list

One of the more unpleasant parts of running a web development company in Los Angeles – or anywhere, for that matter – is the part where you have to come up with an estimate. Proposals are fun, because they outline the whole project and let you play with new ideas and concepts but cost varies with each and every project. It seems they all have different needs. Often, we end up “winging” it – which is actually a methodology that has served us very well because our estimates are always spot on. To get there, we follow this checklist of features and functionality which gives an idea of the project’s scope and our client’s expectations. Each feature has its own list of specifications and requirements which helps us determine the eventual cost of a project.

Fullscreen scrolling
example: The Visionary Group, Cambria Beach Lodge. Note: fullscreen scrolling doesn’t work for all content types and we often disable it on mobile – making sure that functionality degrades gracefully.

Mailchimp integration
There are at least two ways to integrate newsletter signup forms. One is to keep it simple with just a small email field and submit button. Another is the more elaborate version of that, often combined with a pop-up/gateway and AJAX functionality (which keeps the user on the page after they filled out the form – simply displaying a confirmation or error message – without directing to another page). Sometimes there’s certain logic required, such as delayed display of the signup form pop-up or so-called “exit intent”, where the pop-up is not displayed until the user moves their mouse towards the browser’s “close” or “back” button which indicates their intent to exit the page. And more often than not, we combine both the simple signup form in the footer of every page and the signup pop-up upon entry of the site.
In addition, we often help set up the mailchimp account and list – or any other version of it, like Constant Contact, Vertical Response, MadMimi and more.

Fullscreen background image/video
It’s a visual effect that we use on about a third of our websites. In certain cases, video adds a layer of information that can be difficult to convey as quickly and efficiently in any other way. But challenges remain, especially with browser settings that prevent video from playing automatically. And files have to be of limited size and duration while still at good quality, considering large monitors these days.

These tend to be pretty standardized now, with directional arrows right and left and/or perhaps pagination bullets below. But just recently we ran into a special situation where our client needed captions to be displayed in their own slideshow, synced and aligned with the image slideshow. It’s all possible, just takes a little extra work and effort.

Lightbox pop-ups
Also pretty standard fare these days, often combined with a slideshow, but we ended up with a special feature on yoramroth.com where the slideshow needed to feature additional images. His work is displayed in a gallery that displays, say, 30 photos. But for each of those he wanted to show five detail shots – different angles, different details – which would have meant a confusing array of 150 images in one slideshow. Not very user friendly. Although that is exactly what we did. The trick was to separate out the detail photos and hide them until a user scrolled vertically to discover them while the main slideshow continues horizontally. You can check out the effect here (may be NSFW).

Most galleries tend to be a simple grid of images but often times we use Lightbox pop-ups to display images in detail, then combine them with a slideshow to make it easy to take in all the images in the gallery. It can get a little more tricky if the design calls for a so-called “masonry” grid, where images don’t necessarily line up but are staggered and stacked instead. This, in turn, can be combined with a filter function so you can change the number of images displayed by certain attributes.

Calendars come in all shapes and sizes and, depending on their specific requirements, range from ‘pretty easy’ to ‘very. difficult’. The calendar we built on includenyc.org is an example of the latter and includes filtering of events by type of event and a separate mobile layout that converts the calendar table into a listing of events.

Calendar interfaces (Date selector)
These are the little pop-ups that allow you to easily select a date (example: click on the date field on andreafohrman.com). At this point, we always use ready-made third-party javascript solutions as it would be cost-INeffective to build one from scratch. But that means it’s also difficult to customize (modifying third-party code is never easy) so it might require extra effort to get it just right for your project.

Parallax scrolling
Originally also called 2.5D, where you have different elements scroll at different speeds to give you a cascading, overlapping, semi-3D effect. Our Sands Hotel and Spa website uses it to good effect.

Scrolling animations
These come in many shapes and forms, and parallax scrolling is, in a way, one of them, albeit simple. On the other extreme, there’s the Sands Hotel and Spa website we finished early in 2018. Another example is the homepage of this very website that features elements scrolling in slightly different speeds from the main window scroll.

Basic SEO
We pride ourselves in organic SEO, which is a pretty simple and standard process. Starting with well-formed and clean source code, we advise our clients on the right set of keywords and its proper usage. Our focus is on authoritative content; combined with a solid marketing strategy, there’s little need for any plugins or apps that tend to bloat websites and cause more trouble than they’re worth. Still, setting up online accounts to aid in the process takes up time so we have to add extra cost in our estimate for even basic SEO.

There are other features and functionality requirements that may arise but let’s discuss them for your project specifically when you contact us.