Client Case Studies

The Roberts Law Firm
Goal: Update Website Design
Write-Up: This was the first job I ever took on a commercial basis, and looking back on it really highlighted how much the company has grown over such a short amount of time. Mr. Roberts was very specific about his needs for a website, which was very much appreciated. He didn’t want a ton of distracting features; he just needed a simple website (to replace his 1990’s-era version) in order to keep his law firm image up-to-date. At the time, I didn’t really believe in designing websites with Content Management Systems, so I designed the site with plain HTML and CSS, which was coded in Dreamweaver and adapted from a semi-popular template at the time. As a talented lawyer moving from a downtown Cleveland office to one in his suburb, he wanted the new website to reflect his new environment and his ties to the community, which was accomplished by the presence of his iconic building on every page, with the option to contact him via email or in person. The final product was delivered to the satisfaction of Mr. Roberts, and was both on time and on budget, however the full content was never provided to me, making it impossible to truly mark the job as complete. For this reason, nearly every website from this point forward included a Content Manager which could allow the owner to dynamically edit their website at any time.

Executive Sweets Chocolatier
Goal: Create e-Commerce Website
Write-Up: After finishing up the website for The Roberts Law Firm, I felt confident in tackling the needs of a local chocolate company owned by Sandy Williamson. She just purchased the e-Commerce service from Yahoo Small Business, and wanted the website to look and feel “like it was hers” as much as possible. The major hurdle in this project was Yahoo’s outdated e-Commerce program, as it took nearly a week for me to grasp the twisted logic that made the software run. The project moved forward quite well, as the company was well prepared with the necessary product pictures and descriptions, and it left us with plenty of free time at the end of the project to design such e-Commerce features as coupon codes, custom product shipping/tax rules, and special gift messages. This was a great company to work for, and Sandy was a great client, but my experience with Yahoo’s poor e-Commerce software made me wonder if a higher-quality e-Commerce solution was available. Luckily, today’s modern e-Commerce applications have largely solved the problems that we faced with Yahoo’s archaic software. By keeping up with the times, our company has grown to adapt to these advances in technology to provide a customized e-Commerce solution hand-tailored to a client’s needs.

MoonStruck Coffee
Goal: Create e-Commerce Website
Write-Up: Having just completed the website for Executive Sweets Chocolatier, I received an inquiry from Sadat Kahn about opening up an online coffee shop. I realized at the start that with the number of products that he wanted to sell, this would be a difficult job to complete, and I was not wrong. Complications with the Yahoo e-Commerce software made it difficult to customize certain aspects of the website, and communications troubles with the coffee distributor made it difficult to get accurate information regarding product prices and availability. Nevertheless, this was one of my favorite websites to work on, as Sadat’s patience and passion for his work made it all worthwhile. We were in constant communication from beginning to end, and it really helped to make his site exactly what he hoped it could be. Thanks to Sadat’s clear vision of his company, I was able to complete the website was to his full and complete satisfaction, allowing him to edit and maintain his website anytime he wished.

Pine Grove Cottages at Lake George
Goal: Create Hotel Booking Website
Write-Up: In many ways, this was one of the most exciting websites to make, because not many web companies get to work with hotels. I was given a chance to design a website that would track the availability of all rooms to be rented and allow the customer to view, rent and pay for any available room for any length of time. This was pretty cutting-edge technology to develop, as it used a number of smaller applications which collaborated to share data back and forth about each rentable room, all the while providing utilities for expanding the business in the future. It really proved that with the right time schedule, our company could really develop some amazing software that could provide businesses with the chance to not only survive, but thrive on the global sphere. Sadly, in other ways, this was the worst website to make, because it forced me to work in close contact with an ill-tempered client who was unprepared to run his own business and took his rage out on whomever he could find. His verbal abuse and constantly changing needs forced me to run through countless revisions without pay, and his recklessness brought the website to the brink of demise more than twice. On the bright side, he made me realize that making great websites wasn’t satisfying if the client didn’t share the same ideals about business and open-collaboration. Printing Company
Goal: Replicate Business Model Online
Write-Up: The Printing Company website remained some of our finest work to-date. I say “our” because at this point, I began to collaborate with my good friend Nick Ober, an independent web consultant and graphic designer, about ways that we could help local businesses perform better online. We found our solution in, an online division of a local printing company managed by Jack Casey. He ran an industrial printing company that was similar to, but functioned on a much larger scale to handle the massive printing needs of some well-known business clients. The business was reasonably successful, but in the wake of the economic crisis, Jack realized that he needed to tighten up ship and start cutting costs. We spent some time discussing his business model and realized that his current customer service workers were performing very inefficiently. The entire business process was caught in the 1950’s, where it took seven signed and sealed forms in order to get a printing order processed. When we took their business online, we decided to cut out all of the extraneous labor and make the order form the centerpiece of the website. Clients would visit and submit their entire printing job, specifying the type of paper needed and uploading the massive print file directly into Jack’s company computer. This printing job would arrive directly to Jack’s email system, allowing him to view the job and provide a cost estimate for the client. If the client approved, then the proper payment would be secured (via Authorize.Net payment processing) and the job would begin to print. By migrating and streamlining his business model online, Jack’s client communications were largely automated, allowing him to cut extraneous in-office costs by tens of thousands per month. Unfortunately, interoffice changes took the website offline, but it remains a testament to our company’s ability to think creatively to solve a business’s real-world problems through the proper application of customized technology.

Saratoga Childcare
Goal: Design Appointment Scheduling Website
Write-Up: As a critical asset to the Navy’s nuclear forces, Konan Kile spent weeks of his time away from his family, which gave him the idea to open up his own childcare company. Simply put, Konan’s company screened and contracted childcare jobs to qualified and licensed care providers to reduce the hassle of searching around the city for a good babysitter or nanny reference. He needed a website that could coordinate the times and availabilities of each of his babysitters, allowing a prospective client to schedule and hire a nanny or babysitter over the internet. We designed a website that would allow each childcare provider to input their availabilities for the week, as well as their individual qualifications and hourly salary. This information was then stored in a database which a client could view and use to select the best childcare provider for the job. Upon being selected, the provider would receive an email and corresponding text message asking her to confirm the appointment. With her approval, the appointment would be made, the client would pay the fee, and Konan Kile would receive an email notifying him about the appointment. Thanks to our website, Konan Kile was given the tools to manage Saratoga Childcare whether he was at home or abroad. This was an exciting website for us to build, mostly because it required an extensive amount of higher-level technology, such as coordinating a multi-employee database application and integrating a text messaging service through the internet.

Ben Calkins, Esq.
Goal: Redesign Attorney Website
Write-Up: When attorney Ben Calkins contacted me regarding his design needs, he was hoping to get a large-scale online marketing initiative, but after we analyzed his current timeframe, financial position, and online visibility, we realized that he would see a much greater return on investment after a simple redesign and search engine optimization. His primary concern was getting new clients and making his website as functional as possible. To that end, I took the lead position on the final design project, managing the workload of an outside graphic design studio and working to present an image of Ben Calkins that was clear and consistent: Value-Added Service. I also worked to make his website more search engine friendly, and worked to promote his site to outside law directories and other online resources. At the end of the project, Ben’s image was stronger than ever, and after the website was complete, I even set him up with a marketing service for generating future client leads online. Now that’s Value-Added Service!

Artists Stephen J. Tyson & Francelise Dawkins
Goal: Create Online Artist Portfolio and Blog
Write-Up: Stephen J. Tyson and Francelise Dawkins are talented artists out of Saratoga Springs, and they were looking for a simple way to get their portfolio of art online for the world to see. With our gallery application, they were able to display and update their artwork in a way that was good-looking and easy to use. After speaking a little bit more with Francelise, we discovered that she was also incredibly interested in starting her own blog, which we were happy to provide for her. While this was one of our more straightforward projects, we made sure to take the time to make sure that the website was a good fit for our clients, who were older and not very tech-savvy. We provided them with a step-by-step tutorial that outlined how they could maintain and edit their site in the future, and provided them with hours of in-person assistance to help them get settled into their new website. It was great that our company had the chance to work for two talented artists like themselves, and we’re sure that their new website will treat them well for years to come.

Waterford Crossing
Goal: Design Community-Centric Website
Write-Up: After hearing that my home neighborhood’s website project was going to be given a complete overhaul, I couldn’t help but offer my services to aid them in the process. From what I gathered, the neighborhood was in desperate need of a website that could act as the central hub of the community, a place where people could post news, organize events, and discuss information that was important to the community. In response to these needs, I decided to build a website based in Joomla, which would offer the neighborhood staff the ability to update and dynamically add features (such as event planning functions) to the website on an as-needed basis. This Joomla setup also allowed the administrators to submit their own content to the website (such as pictures, news etc) in order to make the website truly feel like a community-effort.

Born To Fly: Michael J. Ferrari
Goal: Create Promotion Website For Author
Write-Up: Having worked for two local artists over the winter months, I was eager to continue helping my local businessmen when I returned to my summer home in Cleveland. Children’s author Michael J Ferrari met that need perfectly, as he was looking for a promotional website for his newly published book, Born to Fly. After outlining his needs, I realized he was looking for something that he could update on a regular basis, and for that reason, I set him up with a customized WordPress-based website. I integrated a hand-tailored sales component, allowing him to sell autographed copies of his book to his fans, with an option for a personal message as well. For design, I decided to keep with the themes of the novel, which centered on a child growing up near an airfield in WWII. I integrated lots of real-world components into this website, including a radio, bomber goggles, newspaper clippings, and a photo of the two main characters flying their airplane. This was quite an exciting project to work on, because it provided me with such a unique opportunity to work on a theme-heavy website that was both visually appealing and functional.

Pawsitively Good Pup & Happy At Home Petsitting
Goal: Create Two Informational Websites
Write-Up: After working with a number of businesses in the Saratoga Springs region, I heard from a pet business back in Cleveland, run by Cindy Hoppes. She needed two visually appealing and easy to use websites to help her keep up with her growing pet businesses, and I was more than happy to help. After meeting with her to discuss her needs, she expressed a strong interest in blogging and keeping her website constantly up-to-date. With that information in place, we decided that a WordPress-based website would be best-suited for her growing needs. For her pet sitting business, I chose a bright and exciting outdoors theme, which was filled to the brim with the kind of pets that Cindy took care of on a regular basis. Every element of the site integrated the theme of happy dogs, cats and birds, which drove home Cindy’s enthusiasm for pets and showed the business as a fun and safe place to send a pet. For Cindy’s second website, a dog training business, we decided to stick to a much more reserved theme to match the disciplined dogs that she helps to create. She asked me to create her logo based upon a quick sketch that she made of her own dog, and it was integrated that into the final website, along with a registration form that could be filled out and printed from the website. For both websites, I provided complete step-by-step support, helping Cindy understand how her new website worked, and the many new features that came with it. & High Five: A Dog Blog
Goal: Create an eCommerce Store and Blog
Write-Up: About the same time that I finished Cindy’s website, I was asked to serve as project manager for my mother Bonnie Sweebe’s eCommerce business. We began work by contacting a graphic designer who had a great deal of experience with dog-based illustrations. Working from a model of our own puppy, we were able to come up with a reasonably good looking logo which was used throughout the website. After discussing Bonnie’s plans for the website in detail, we decided to work with the Magento eCommerce platform, which was large enough to provide for a variety of needed features at no additional cost. I began work by finding a web designer that understood the overall vision for the website, which took a surprising amount of time. Eventually, we settled on a designer and began to set up the products and categories for the eCommerce platform. After setting up the credit card processing gateway, we submitted the website to Google and began customizing her website layout, adding a sliding product bar and WordPress-based blog to help spread the word about the store. We finished things up by integrating her website into social media channels such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and began the Search Engine Optimization process to provide her with a more organic customer base. After the project was finished, Bonnie was left with a website that was hand-tailored to her needs, allowing her business to expand and providing her with the appropriate channels to keep in touch with her growing client base.

Josef Plecha Jewelry
Goal: Design Website, Logo and Artist Galleries
Write-Up: Josef Plecha is a talented and passionate jewelry artist and the maker of some really inspired designs. He contacted me this summer hoping for a site that had the same professional-quality as his jewelry work. Together, we came up with this website, which used strong modern tones and a signature-based logo that emphasised the individual style of the artist. After returning from a professional photoshoot of his work, he was kind enough to give me a copy of the results, which were included in rotating photo galleries. This was a very exciting website to work on, because Josef had such a strong passion for his work, and was able to easily communicate his vision through the medium of the internet. Getting the rotating photo galleries to work was rewarding work as well, as the quality of the photographs really integrated well with the overall design of the site.

The New Indian Ridge Museum
Goal: Design Website, Events Calendar & Virtual Tour
Write-Up: Col. Matt Nahorn is the owner and curator of The New Indian Ridge Museum, and he contacted me with hopes that I could bring his collection into the twenty-first century. His museum aims to collect and preserve historical artifacts from Amherst, Ohio, in an effort to raise awareness of the area’s historical significance. Taking thematic ideas such as the wood paneling from the musum itself, I had a strong concept of how I envisioned the website to function, and after meeting with Matt, he seemed to agree. The final product showcases many of the museum’s collection pieces, provides an events calendar in order to keep the local community in touch with the museum’s activities, and utilizes a Virtual Tour to give prospective visitors an vision of the musum’s offerings. Mere days after finishing the website, I was already getting emails of congratulations from Matt, who kept hearing good things about his website. I’m happy that visitors love the new website, and I’m thrilled that I could help an old friend increase their presence online.

GEMS Electrical
Goal: Design Website, & Photo-Oriented Job Gallery
Write-Up: Gino Surace provides his customers with a wide range of electrical services at a competitive rate, and when he needed a website to help increase his customer base, he came to me. His goal was to create a website which displayed a strong and professional image, which is rare in this particular service industry. By providing an illustrated job gallery, prospective clients could see GEMS Electrical’s finished jobs first-hand, which distinguished him from other contractors and helped to establish stronger brand recognition and trust within the local community. The website was designed to be completely editable by Gino Surace, in order for him to constantly update the website with completed jobs and new testimonials. Hopefully, this website will become a powerful conduit of business for his company, enabling him to expand his customer base to unprecedented levels.

Melinda Marquardt’s Portfolio
Goal: Design Website & Customized Portfolio CMS
Write-Up: Melinda Marquardt is a talented artist from Saratoga Springs who needed a website that she could use to showcase her designs. Portfolio websites such as these force me to imagine very minimalistic designs which will fit in with the mood of the website without becoming a distraction. I chose a sidebar navigation structure on the left and a large scrollable section on the right which could effectively display a number of different pieces of art on the same page, just like a wall in a gallery. After the design was completed, I installed the Indexhibit CMS in order to give the artist the chance to update the website with her newest designs as they are created. I am certain that the new website will help to boost Melinda’s online image and provide her with a forum to keep interested patrons updated with her latest works.

Schenectady County Historical Society
Goal: Design Website, Blog-Style News App & Events Calendar
Write-Up: This was the first website completed under the supervision of Bobby Burch, and he did a fantastic job. His job involved taking the original design of the Historical Society, and bringing it into modern functionality. Bobby hand-designed a number of CSS style sheets and PHP scripts that were necessary to outfit the website with an easy-to-use news and calendar application, and he even went the extra mile to make some extra design changes at the client’s request. The Historical Society was thrilled with the final product, and I was very pleased with the quality of Bobby’s dedicated work.
Goal: Create User Customized e-Commerce Website
Write-Up: When I first started this company, I was contacted by Sadat Kahn about designing an online coffee store. He had already purchased service through Yahoo Small Business, so I was forced to limit my designs to what their software could accomplish. The design was completed to his satisfaction, but I always wished that I had a chance to design his site from the ground up. Two years later, I was given that chance when Sadat contacted me, hoping to rebuild his coffee company under the name 3MoonsCoffee. This website was built entirely in OsCommerce, which gave me the chance to make a flexible design that could last for a long time. My design placed a stronger emphasis on the coffee drinking experience, showcasing the many countries which provide 3MoonsCoffee with their top quality beans. Needless to say, this new design was an incredible improvement on Sadat’s original coffee website, and he was fully satisfied with the quality of my work.