Services

Visual Lizard has the expertise to make your project work. From the user experience layer on down, building to current web standards the whole way through. Learn about the tools in our kit…

Web Development

Web sites have come a long way since we started building them way back when, but the basic principles of web development have remained the same. Build something great. Tell people about it.

We have been building websites since way back in 1995. Web sites have come a long way since then. Its an ever-changing medium, but the basic principles of web development have remained the same: build something great, tell people about it.

Of course there are a few other things that go into building a great web application, and we cover all of those as well. We help with the planning and research. We work through your information architecture. We look for the simplest solutions to the complex problems we need to solve in order to make sure your customer's experience is easy.

When you hire Visual Lizard to help with your web development project, we promise to:

  • provide our usability expertise to our design partners.
  • adhere to current web standards as outlined by w3.org.
  • provide our best practices towards accessibility as outlined at w3.org and WCAG.
  • use as little code as possible.
  • ensure your site works in all modern browsers such as Chrome, Internet Explorer 11, Edge, Safari, and Firefox.
  • provide print styles for your site.
  • allow your site content to be accessible on mobile devices by adhering to best responsive web practices.
  • make sure your site degrades nicely for older browsers.

If you need a web site that works, we can help.

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Mobile Development

Mobile devices out number computers 4:1. Many web sites would benefit from a specialized mobile version. We can help you do just that.

Mobile devices are everywhere. At the end of 2009, there were over 4.6 billion mobile phone subscriptions on the planet. In contrast, there only 1.1 billion computers on the planet. Disregarding mobile devices is not an option.

Developing for mobile devices is different than developing for full screen personal computers. The first things we think about are:

  • where are the mobile users likely to connect to your data from?
  • what are they looking for?
  • how fast is their connection likely to be?
  • what can we do to help make getting into and out of your content as quick as possible?
  • can we keep all content under 15KB per page view? If not, why not?

For mobile development, every site is unique. If you offer a list of events, or arrival times, there are some pretty obvious conclusions we can make about what visitors are going to be looking for. If your site is more general than that, then we will evaluate priority areas with you.

If you need a mobile version of your site, that runs quickly, provides needed data directly to you visitors and gets them the information that they are looking for quickly, then we can help.

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eCommerce

It's one of the major driving forces of the internet. We build sites that sell products. If your site isn't selling, we can help.

eCommerce is short for electronic commerce. If you have a web site, you have an opportunity to sell product directly to your customers. Since the earliest days of the web, people have been selling directly from their web sites to their customers. Remember that little site called amazon.com?

Visual Lizard has been building eCommerce tools for our clients since 2001. From client sites with single items that are sold through PayPal, to huge product catalogs selling directly, we have handled it all. We have worked with Moneris, ChasePaymentech, BeanStream, Stripe, PayPal, and others, we have made the connections to get your project completed. Our eCommerce projects are PCI Compliant.

If you have a web site, and it needs to sell products directly to visitors, get in touch. We can help.

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Catalyst content management system

You need control of your web site. We give it to you. Introducing a content management system built with you in mind.

We have been building our content management system since 2002. Catalyst is a very robust CMS with the ability:

  • to leverage current web standards for HTML and CSS;
  • to manage routes for human useable and SEO tailored URLs;
  • to apply a Content Delivery Network for static files and resources;
  • to communicate directly with Visual Lizard’s project management system for questions and support;
  • to support multiple URLs from a single administration point;
  • to manage administrators, their permissions and what they can edit through your site(s);
  • to allow you to export all of your data into an SQL file;
  • to interface with Google Analytics;
  • to allow your site to interface to our newsletter management system;
  • to provides mobile views for your content;
  • to includes print stylesheets;
  • to allow for caching of page views to speed up delivery;
  • to be built on an open source community contributed PHP framework;
  • to support multiple levels of revisions with data auditing;
  • to support multiple templates for your content.

Additionally, with our Catalyst CMS, we don't have some odd licensing plan. When we are done building your site and everything is in order, Catalyst is yours to keep and use for the purpose it was intended, for as long as you like. There are no ongoing fees, requirements, or anything that ties you to us in some way or another. If you want to tinker, you can. If you want to re-skin it with CSS templates, go ahead. We are here if you need help. 

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Project Management

Without proper project management, even the small things can seem like huge hurdles to overcome. Communication is essential in preventing mole hills from becoming mountains.

Project Management is a Team Effort

Project management is both internal and external. Over the years, we have learned that the best way to manage projects is to stay informed. Problems can be dealt with more efficiently when everyone communicates and understands the best course of action to resolve them.

Our Project Management System

For years, we managed projects in various ways. In early 2007 we had even begun to build the very basics of a project management system. However when 37signals.com launched Basecamp, we scraped what we had and jumped in with both feet. If you are working with us, we will invite you to join and participate as much or as little as you like. Either way, our team stays informed, connected and on target through our project management system.

Source Control is a Must

When you work with us, rest assured that the code we are writing is not sitting on one machine only. We use Git to manage our work. All team members are required to check in any code changes they have been working on. When we sit down to work, we check out the latest code updates for the project and get to it. This also ensures that should something terrible happen to a computer we are working on, we can just pick up a new one, hook into source control and have the latest version of the project code ready to roll. 

What Does All This Mean? 

Since adopting Basecamp, and Git, we have saved our clients and ourselves hundreds of hours. Efficient communication is essential in staying competitive on today's web. When you work with us, you get years of experience managing hundreds of projects from small single page sites up to huge, multiple URL, 3000+ page beasts. Give us a call today and lets get started.

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Planning and Strategy

We have seen a thing or two in our time and we understand how hard it is to get things done when you forget to plan your project properly.

Without Planning, You Have Nothing

Visual Lizard has been building websites since 1995. We have over 20 years in business as a company. We have over 75 years of experience combined. That means we have forgotten a lot! However, planning and strategy are key factors in whether or not your site will be a success. The process that has served us well is as follows:

  1. Listen
  2. Think
  3. Map
  4. Build
  5. Deploy
  6. Collect Data
  7. Return to 1 and start again.

While this list might seem like an oversimplification of what we do, it really is that simple.

When we first meet with you, we are there to listen and ask questions that will help us to better Think about your project. Once we have done our Thinking, we Map it out in whatever method we need to in order to illustrate our ideas. Once we both understand what needs to be accomplished to get your customers a better product, we begin to Build. Building often has several check points and markers during the process that allow us to readjust, refine and move nimbly across the problems we are working to solve. When our Build is complete, we Deploy.

Deployment is a fancy word for launching your new site. Usually this is a great time for a party! Upon deployment, we immediately begin to Collect Data from your customers. We also watch where they are using your site, what areas are working, where the conversation is taking place, or where the sales are most frequent. Depending on the success of your site, we return to step one at a later date.

If your web site is not working the way you think it should be, use the form below to shoot us a quick note. We can help.

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Design Translation

Your design made into flawless HTML. We are your publish-to-web button.

Have a design for a client that needs to go from Photoshop comp to working web site? Need to take your brand from paper to pixels without losing the lustre? We speak designer fluently.

Think of us as your publish-to-web button. Hand us your design or your brand and rest assured that it will come through to your web site with all the love you have already put into it. We have been working with designers and ad agencies for many years and value their creative talents. We understand how important it is to keep the vision.

Just imagine the possibilities with your design and our programming. A happy client who has a gorgeous web site with great search engine placement and accessibility, that degrades nicely for older browsers and shows up on the CEOs iPad. Ah ... nirvana.

Contact us via the form below and we will help get you there.

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Accessibility Reviews

Accessibility is not just a suggestion. Is your site working properly for everyone?

Due to our adopting web standards into our development process, any web site we build will meet w3c.org's recommendations for accessibility. However, if we did not build your web site and accessibility is something you are concerned about (and you should be), we can offer a review of your web site. Following a review, we will provide you with a list of recommendations to bring your web site inline with current accessibility standards.

If you need our assistance in bringing your site up to speed, we can help there as well. Contact us if you have any questions.

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Hosting Services

We offer a closed hosting service. If we have built your project, we will host it if you like.

We offer a closed hosting environment to our clients, partners and friends. This means that we only host sites we have programmed. We do this as a service to our clients, who expect the projects we create for them to work reliably. By controlling the hosting of those projects, we can remove a level of failure that is common with shared hosting platforms. All of our servers are built on the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP) stack.

Our hosting plans are as follows:

Bronze

  • 100 MB of storage and 1000 MB of data transfer monthly
  • 3 email addresses
  • 1 subdomain
  • 1 MySQL database
  • Daily log rotation
  • Yearly hosting cost: $203.40

Silver

  • 2000 MB of storage and 15000 MB of data transfer monthly
  • 10 email addresses
  • 1 domain alias and 3 subdomains
  • 2 MySQL databases
  • Daily log rotation
  • Yearly hosting cost: $299.40

Gold

  • 4000 MB of storage and 40000 MB of data transfer monthly
  • 30 email addresses
  • 2 domain aliases and 6 subdomains
  • 3 MySQL databases
  • CDN for site files
  • Weekly log rotation
  • Yearly hosting cost: $599.40

Platinum

  • 10000 MB of storage and 75000 MB of data transfer monthly
  • 50 email addresses
  • 3 domain aliases and 9 subdomains
  • 5 MySQL databases
  • CDN for site files
  • Monthly log rotation
  • Yearly hosting cost: $899.40

Super Platinum

  • 25000 MB of storage and 150000 MB of data transfer monthly
  • 100 email addresses
  • 5 domain aliases and 15 subdomains
  • 10 MySQL databases
  • CDN for site files
  • Bi-Monthly log rotation
  • Yearly hosting cost: $ 1799.40

Dedicated Server

  • Dedicated hosting servers are built on the LAMP stack using the latest versions of CentOS, Apache,  NGINX, MySQL and PHP with Plesk as the control panel.
  • 1000 GBs of bandwidth per month
  • CDN for site files
  • Storage solutions built for your needs
  • Nightly backups and unlimited control.
  • Yearly cost: $4800

Add Ons

  • Domain name registration available. Prices are subject to the type of domain and current market prices.
  • Email addresses are sold in blocks of 5 at an additional $10 per month.
  • Hard drive space is sold in additional 1000MB blocks at a cost of $10 per month.
  • Additional plan bandwidth is priced at $5.00 / 1000MB above your package total during a calendar month.
  • Content Delivery Network (CDN) storage is available at $0.50 GB per month of bandwidth / $3 GB per month of storage *(requires an already established hosting account with us)
  • Dedicated servers, cloud servers, VPS, off site backups, custom firewalls, and 3rd party monitoring are priced based on your requirements.

We include access to your domain through an online control panel system. We perform nightly snap-shots of your site as well as nightly backups of all MySQL databases at no additional charge. Backups are held in a 14 day rotation on servers across the globe to ensure redundancy. All plans above Silver include CDN storage for files that are used within the web site we built for you. We have multiple servers in both the Softlayer and Rackspace data centres.

When you host with us, you can rest assured that we are treating your site as if it was our own. Your web sites are our business. 

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Email Campaigns

Reaching your customers through email can be hit or miss. Who opened it? Who clicked a link? How do you know? We Have a Tool To Help.

Have you have ever sent out an email to your clients and wondered if they actually opened it? Yeah. Us too. So we did something about that. We built a set of tools to help you:

  • get your email crafted within a great looking HTML template
  • manage your email list(s)
  • let people sign up directly from your web site
  • see who opened the email
  • see who clicked on what link
  • and more

If this sounds like something you need, contact us for more details or find out more at www.emediatemail.com.

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Open Source

Open Source has brought about some amazing projects, such as Linux, Apache, and dozens of CMS systems.

It is true, we have been working on our own CMS, Catalyst, for ages now. However this doesn't mean that we don't know, understand or pay attention to other open source projects. In fact, we pay lots of attention to them, since we get asked about them on a near daily basis.

Some of the open source projects we pay special attention to are:

If your project is already running on a CMS, but needs to do more, then contact us. We can help.

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Good Time Purveyors

We work hard. We play hard. That's the way we roll. Having fun is part of our DNA!

Visual Lizard was started back in 1996 by two kids out of college. Frankly, we didn't know any better. But working for ourselves sounded like the best idea ever. From the very earliest days of our forming the company, we wanted to make sure we had a fun place to work.

To keep ourselves loose, we try and make sure we always have something playing on the Sonos. Pop culture is part of our culture, with members of the team keeping everyone informed on the latest comic book trends, TV shows, and what John Oliver is up to. We try and stay up on the latest video games to the point that we will have an occasional afternoon video game event. Did we mention movies? Yeah. We see a lot of those too.

Armed with the notion that we wanted to have fun, we set forth with the following in mind:

  • enjoy what you do every single day.
  • above all, you solve problems.
  • music is part of the fabric, embrace it in all forms.
  • nothing is impossible.

Good times are part of what we do. Sure there is some stress from time to time, but the day this all stops being fun is the day we close up shop. Keep us in mind the next time you are sick and tired of dealing with grumpy developers.

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