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Web Services

Strengthen your virtual presence: Constellation can put you or your business on the cyber map with a custom-designed Website or enhanced revisions to your existing Internet material. We offer services in:

web design setup maintenance browser optimization graphics and audio image scans digital touchup Adobe PDF conversion image maps Flash animations

Website Design and Construction:

Unless you’ve just arrived in our Internet age via time warp or cryogenic freeze, you probably already know what a Website is: A specific piece of the World Wide Web from which to display or otherwise distribute information and/or media. Websites can be large or small, complicated or simple, vibrant or subdued, plain or stylish. They can also, like any other project, be professionally-built or do-it-yourself (if you’re considering a DIY Website, you can check out some resources for such an undertaking here).

Websites can also be made with the aid of authoring software like Adobe Dreamweaver or Microsoft ExpressionWeb. Though these kinds of programs do have their uses, they also have a tendency to get in the way—rewriting important pathways without being asked, bloating sites with unwanted flotsam, that sort of thing—so our standard is to hand-code all of our projects with HTML, PHP, Javascript, and other goodies in the coding world. We can utilize such software if you need to integrate a project with an existing one of your own, though.

Constellation can work from your specifications for a new or revamped Website or come up with a design from scratch (or any combination thereof). When you’re ready for a professionally-made home on the Web, please get in touch. Call, drop an e-mail, or fill out our preliminary Website project form and give us an idea of what you’re after. We’ll get back to you in short order and, assuming all parties are in agreement, get started on your Website!

Website Setup and Registration:

Each Website on the Internet has what’s called a domain name and a host.

Domains are identifiers, addresses on the Web where sites live that always end with a specific suffix, most commonly “.com” or “.net” (though many others exist with new ones seemingly always on the way). Examples of domain names are whitehouse.gov, newyorktimes.com, and npr.org. The domain name of this site is constellationdesign.net.

Hosts are the physical servers where files for a Website reside and are accessed from on the Internet. A hosting account is accessed through File Transfer Protocol (FTP) to upload site files and media for publication on the Internet. Usually, hosting is purchased for an annual subscription fee from a hosting provider. Both domains and hosting generally include access to e-mail accounts tied to them and therefore separate from e-mail accounts through an Internet Service Provider (ISP) like AT&T or Comcast. Constellation can arrange the setup of your domain and Web hosting independently or as part of a Website design/production project. If you choose to host with Constellation Design, your site will be powered by wind energy and you may be eligible for hosting rates lower than are generally found elsewhere.

Website Maintenance and Repair:

More often than not, a Website is never truly “finished”—it requires maintenance, usually in the form of content updates, sometimes in the area of “infrastructure” (like a new shopping cart or changes to forms that customers use to contact you), sometimes in ways more elaborate. Software updates can be beneficial or they can be incompatible with what you've already got; third-party-hosted modules or embedded media might change or disappear, leaving you with empty or malfunctioning pages; an alteration to a CMS like WordPress might break your entire site. Things happen. If you already have a Website and would rather not handle the updates and other maintenance yourself, we can help you out. We can also, of course, do the maintenance on any new site Constellation builds for you!

Browser optimization/compatibility:

It’s a nuisance reality of the Internet that no two Web browsers are created equal. Some are good and some are not so good, and which is which is largely up to interpretation. We have our favorite browsers here at Constellation Design (the Mozilla line, in case you’re wondering, though they don’t support everything either), but lots and lots of people use others, and though the browser world has been inching toward implementing standards for rendering code—things are much better than they were even a few years ago in this area—different browsers still display some things differently. If you design a site for Internet Explorer, for example, users of Safari or Chrome may find serious display or functionality problems with your code (missing or overlapping text is common, as are image misalignments and problems with audio plug-ins). On the other hand, IE offers some bells and whistles you might want to incorporate for its users and Mozilla or Chrome will do things you might want to utilize for their users. Generally speaking, people want their Websites to be displayed correctly as often as possible, so to accommodate that it befalls the site coder to consider the strengths and weaknesses of several different Web browsers and code accordingly.

Web graphics & audio:

Web graphics include things like photos, illustrations, logos, stylized text, slideshows, backgrounds, and so on. Web audio components are sound files which can be played on a Website or downloaded from a site to a user’s computer to play later. Constellation can create brand new graphics for you or adjust your existing imagery to be suitable for the Web, and we can take your audio recordings—mp3 or other digital file, CD audio, cassette tape recording—and incorporate them into your Website.

Any recording can be turned into Web audio, even this one of my friend Mike and me announcing half an inning of a 1996 baseball game in Cleveland.

Image scanning/posting:

Have you got images or photographs on paper that you want to use on a Website or in e-mail, or for a digtial printing project? We can scan them as digital files and format them accordingly, then deliver them to you electronically or on a CD.

Digital touch-up:

Say you have a photograph or other image that you want to display on paper or use online, but it’s marred or faded with age or your thumb is in the corner of the photo. Digital touch-up can, depending on the nature of the mars, fades, or thumb coverage, improve the appearance of the image and make it more presentable.

The example shown here is of a photograph print from the early 1970s that had faded and discolored over the decades as well as accumulated a number of scratches and small blobs of gunk sticking to it. With digital touch-up, we gave it new life as seen at right.

Adobe PDF conversion:

With Adobe’s Portable Document Format, any document can be posted online or transmitted via e-mail. With Adobe’s free Acrobat Reader program, PDF files are readable cross-platform, just as happy with Macintosh systems as they are with Windows and Linux computers, so you can be sure there are no compatibility issues between sender and recipient. PDF files are easily printed from the recipient’s computer, saving you the hassle and expense of mailing paper, and have the time-saving benefit of near-instant online transmission. Moreover, PDF files can be linked to the Internet, allowing readers to click on hyperlinked text (while reading onscreen, of course) and get an instant e-mail interface, be taken to external Websites, or redirected elsewhere in the document. Constellation Design can take your existing documents—word processed materials, charts, photographs, items created on Microsoft Publisher or other presentation software, even hardcopy documents—and turn them into PDF files.

Alaska Hawaii Maine New Hampshire Rhode Island Connecticut Massachusetts Vermont New York New Jersey Pennsylvania Delaware Maryland District of Columbia West Virginia Virginia North Carolina South Carolina Georgia Florida Alabama Mississippi Tennessee Kentucky Ohio Indiana Michigan Illinois Wisconsin Louisiana Arkansas Missouri Iowa Minnesota Texas Oklahoma Kansas Nebraska South Dakota North Dakota New Mexico Colorado Wyoming Montana Nevada Arizona Utah Idaho California Oregon Washington

Image maps:

In this image map, each state has its own link element even though
the map as a whole is a single image file.

Image maps are Web graphics that have links on them arranged in particular shapes. If you have an image of, say, a pie chart, and want your site user to be able to click on any area in a wedge-shaped chunk of the pie to link to something but don’t want the surrounding areas to link to the same thing, you would need an image map. Image maps can be made from raw code or with the help of graphics software packages.

Flash animations:

Flash is a versatile and often complicated graphic and sound medium used frequently on the Web. A Flash module can be an animated logo or masthead, a fancy link button, a talking cartoon, a video game, or a complete Website unto itself, among other things. Most examples of Flash on the Web are in advertising, but it can be used for all sorts of purposes. More elaborate Flash programs pop up promoting TV and film; as cartoons like StrongBad e-mail; and as online time­wasters, such as the highly amusing William Shatner Acting Simulator.

A few words about pricing:

The first question I get asked about Website work is often “how much will it cost?” The answer to which is, invariably, “it depends.” It depends on how elaborate the Website is, how “deep”—that is, how many layers of pages—the site is, how much graphic/photo optimizing is needed, how much there is in the way of design and programming to be done, how many bells and whistles you want to include. If you are on a tight budget, tell us your parameters and we’ll be glad to let you know what is feasible for your level of resources. Unless alternative arrangements are made in advance, Constellation Design charges by the hour at a competitive rate. As a general rule, smaller sites (say, less than 10 pages) work out to be in the neighborhood of $150-$175 per page. Larger sites often break down to less per page when there is standard formatting throughout the site. If you fill out Constellation’s preliminary Website project form, it will help to gauge how complicated your project will be.

For more information or general queries, please contact Constellation today!

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