Relaunching the edgeofmyseat.com website

I founded edgeofmyseat.com in September 2001. From the outset we have focussed on working for designers and design agencies – providing web development services. Drew McLellan joined the company in September 2007 and we continued working for the same kind of clients – taking on slightly bigger projects and developing things like our own PHP framework to ensure we can deliver projects quickly and within budget for our design agency clients.

Like many small companies I have always referred to the company as “we” – even when it was really just myself doing the work. Our website has always had a slight coyness about the fact that edgeofmyseat.com is really just Drew and I – along with various contractors for specific specialist work or when we are very busy.

Drew and I have talked a lot about what we want the future of edgeofmyseat.com to be. Perch has been far more successful than we ever anticipated and will continue to be a big part of our turnover and focus. If we are to take on employees it is likely they would be on the products side of the business at this point – supporting or marketing Perch and the growing community of Perchers. However Perch, our speaking and writing has really only come to pass because of our client work. We knew what was required to make Perch successful because we have deployed 100s of CMS solutions over the years. I can only write articles such as Designing for Content Management Systems because I have spent almost 10 years working alongside design agencies and explaining these concepts. Drew has presented on subjects such as Cost Effective Web Development Techniques – completely informed by our client work.

Client work, providing a service, can be immensely rewarding. It can also be very frustrating – especially in those situations where our knowledge and experience appears not to be really wanted by the agency we are working for. So, having decided that client work was something we really wanted to continue doing, we wanted to make sure the client work we were getting was actually the type of work we could really get into, working with people who really wanted our input. So we needed to look at that website again.

The benefit to an agency or designer hiring us isn’t really that we can write PHP/HTML/CSS accurately. There are plenty of people who can do that. The real benefit we bring is the 12+ years of experience we both have on the web. Learning to write code is the easy bit. Knowing what code to write, being able to solve problems, is the skill that only comes with experience and so the main asset of edgeofmyseat.com is us. Hiding ourselves in the website, making it look as if edgeofmyseat.com was some big team of code monkeys in a dark room in Maidenhead, completely failed to sell us as experts.

Having figured this out we needed to do two things. Rewrite the copy to be about us and redesign the site in a much simpler format. The copy was actually far easier than usual – as instead of trying to make us sound like a bigger company without telling untruths – I could just tell it like it is. Excellent! Where the design was concerned, the edgeofmyseat.com branding was by Jon Hicks of Hicksdesign some four years ago and we are still really happy with it. While working on the copy however we decided that all we really needed was a one page site plus the blog, and this then led to a need to redesign the site. With Jon Hicks being the busiest designer on the planet and our needing to move quickly now we had made a decision, we asked local designer Andrew Appleton of Float Left to take a look at the site. Andrew had recently redesigned our Perch demo site, which we are very happy with and came up with a design that was both sympathetic to the existing branding but also allowed us to move the site in the direction we had in mind.

I put the new site live on Tuesday. I hope it explains in a far clearer way who were are, what we do, and how we can help potential clients. Time will tell – however because the site is now more clearly about us, it will be much easier to adjust and update to reflect the areas where we can offer expertise.

Andy Walpole on the 02 Dec 2010:

It does job doesn’t it – it’s clear and straight to the point. (and it doesn’t have that sickly, glossy feel that comes with the overuse of JavaScript and of which there seems to be a lot about)

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