Web Design and Development Guidelines
We focus on building sites that are easy to navigate by users and admins alike. Simplicity and ease-of-use are a priority at every stage of design and development.
- We strive to make all areas of our clients websites easily editable without extensive design or technical knowledge
- We try to avoid hard coding any content where only developers can edit it, unless there is a specific reasons to do so, or no other viable option is available
- If there are complicated features or tools that can’t be replaced with easier-to-use alternatives, we will create a how-to guide or video showing how to use it. These instructions will be available via a private or draft page on the website.
- We usually utilize the Genesis framework for our themes and customize them extensively, we don’t recommend using off-the-shelf themes from places like ThemeForest or the WordPress theme gallery unless specifically requested and vetted for reliability and security. We sometimes choose different StudioPress themes to use as a starting point. StudioPress was the original developer of the Genesis framework whom recently were bought by WP Engine.
- We use only well reviewed and highly downloaded plugins wherever possible
- Try to keep the number of plugins used to a minimum
- When using commercial ‘block library’ suites like Spectra, Greenshift, or Stackable, try to determine one product that will provide the most tools needed for a particular site, in an effort to avoid complicating block selection, and site management.
- Turn off or deactivate unneeded blocks and plugins wherever possible
- Take note of any paid or subscription based plugins and approve the costs associated with them. Note any introductory offers that may have increasing costs in subsequent years.
- Yoast SEO – We prefer the industry standard Yoast plugin for our SEO services. All sites should be loaded with this plugin by default unless otherwise noted.
- SVG Support – As of this writing, WordPress doesn’t allow the native upload of SVG files. This plugin allows their uploads and protects SVGs loaded into media library from malicious code injection.
- Genesis blocks – this provides some simple tools that make sophisticated layouts easy. Not recommended for non-Genesis sites – but it may still work.
- Match design files as close to exactly as possible. If problems arise please discuss with the project manager
- Try to avoid micro-managing design on individual pages despite WP block editors ability to easily customize sizes and styles. We want to simplify the design process by using standard html elements and styling them with the stylesheet and not the editor whenever possible.
- Make sure all features look and function well at all browser sizes. Avoid desktop-only content. Use the responsive display rules sparingly to help with difficult responsive design issues.
- Accessibility needs are a consideration for every site we create, we test our sites with the Lighthouse tool and scan for WCAG compliance, with an aim of a 100 score wherever possible. Learn more about accessibility requirements and the ADA.
- Contrasting colors are an important part of website accessibility, we monitor contrast ratios and follow the ADA AA contrast ratio guidelines at a minimum. If colors need to be altered from a design file
- All images that aren’t decoration get a descriptive alt tag when uploaded into the media library. Alternate descriptions should be provided by the content developer.
- Use reliable, modern technologies wherever available.
- Avoid complicated or hard coded features whenever possible
- We strongly recommend using WPEngine for hosting services, their accounts feature easy backups, solid reliability, simple dev and staging environments and reliable stateside customer support.