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Thomas Otter

Free advice is normally worth what you pay for it.



And that's what friends are for too, give a friendly kick in the butt - that the curmudgeons do not see, trying to put down, but really doing a friend's work...hehe..


I've made the pretty point myself in vendor demos but ask it from a different, and I hope more discerning, angle. "Can *I* make the product pretty?"

A well designed app, especially a web-based one, should be built in such a way that the purchaser can modify the CSS or even the page templates without affecting the underlying functionality or the upgrade path. In my experience, trying to pitch a vendor product to management is made easier if I can tweak the product so that it looks like what they are used to. Using the company logo, company colour palette and so on. Familiarity is a good thing. This also helps lower the barrier to entry for users and allows me to address any usability or adoption issues that might come up without going back to the vendor and blowing my budget.

As an IT guy, the ability to tweak the look and feel in a third party product is something that marks a product out from the competition. It proves that the designers knew what they were about and have created an architecture that is extensible and well thought through.


Hi Declan,

I agree completely...

And I can proudly add that we do leave layout files open - CSS files, image files, Javascripts - albeit some limitations exists of course but it's amazing how much can be done using only the CSS files.

And it's very useful for me as well, when doing a demo/meeting I pop by the potential client's webpage and check the colour scheme, a quick screenshot of logo and perhaps even some background images downloaded. Four minutes of adding files and tweaking CSS - voila something recognisable :)

That said, would never suggest they stick to that layout as websites are designed for instant liking and three minutes messing around - easy to get sick of that after a few days using same layout/scheme on a constant basis!

And "pretty" - take two chaps in same firm and they can disagree vehemently about what's "pretty". Thus scaling back to as-simple-as-possible with a minimum of distraction seems to be safest way. Stylish/well done/balanced/basic design principles are always possible to use and somewhat more objective though.

Hehe, I do hear "more enterprisey please" as well - whatever that is! Cigars? Flash? Grey? Pinstripes?

That reminds me in regards demos: Some wants to hear all the tech mumbo-jumbo first then a quick "how it works in daily life", while others are exactly the opposite. Almost binary that, and I have yet to guess beforehand what is preferred! Not even an IT vs suit thing... peculiar...

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