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  1. #1
    Junior Member Ratzap's Avatar
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    The website I want to create has one unique application; the rest is pretty standard (blog, shopping cart). So I'm thinking I can build it myself using WordPress or something similar, even though I have no experience. My concern is that templates may not allow me to get creative and make the website unique, or that I'll need special code to do so.
    The unique feature I want combines two common applications: a poll and a TAF. ("Tell a friend about this poll.") The trick I need to pull off is this: to be able to vote by clicking on a link to the website. Sounds pretty standard, but is it?
    So...you get an e-mail message (in plain text) from a friend. It contains a poll question and 3 links to a website. As indicated, one link records a "Yes" vote, one a "No" vote, and one promises to take you to the results without recording a vote.
    Thus, clicking on certain links in the text of an e-mail has the same effect as voting on site. That is, the poll numbers are updated, the heading on the page changes from "Please vote in our poll," to "Thank you for voting in our poll," and ones computer is blocked from voting again.
    If I place a banner ad on another website, it should be able to function the same way as the e-mail message---allowing instant voting along with a non-voting option.
    This application shouldn't be hindered by a high traffic (multiple people voting simultaneously) and it shouldn't slow down the site. The poll needs to display both raw numbers and percentages. The TAF should be be simple to use, yet prevent people from inserting their own links and mass mailing (spamming).
    I know exactly what I want in my website, including color scheme and layout. I just don't know much about the design tools available. Twice I've hired "web designers" to do the job, and twice I've waited half a year only to be handed a useless piece of crap. That's why I decided to do it myself.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Webzarus's Avatar
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    If you have hired designers 2 times ( and they have exp.)... The learning curve for what your expectations and requirements will be pretty intense...

    Perhaps the marketplace on this site might draw some interest in hiring a real experienced designer ... I mean did you verify that the people you hired before could actuall do something similar? Or did you just take their word for it that they were developers...

    I've actually done something similar... But with help desk tickets... Click button or link in email for approval... Click another for not approved..'click another to approve or not and enter further comments...

    All DB driven..

  4. #3
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    I'm actually working on something similar as I write this for a client, but like Webzarus not for voting purposes...in my particular case, it's for quoting purposes.

    The only part that would cause most people difficulty that I can see is the banner ad part. If you have a banner ad, normally the whole ad is clickable and you're taken to one singular destination. You could have one of those interactive banners with say a form or custom HTML for clickable destinations or something, but then that's a whole can of worms by itself.

    One other thing you'd want to consider is poll confirmation. Users often click links by accident without paying attention. So if they vote via link, you'd have to display a page that says something to the effect of "are you sure you want to vote for option X?"

    That's probably the reason you're getting "crap" as you put it...this idea, in conjunction with the other ideas you have (i.e. the blog and the shopping cart), is a lot to ask. Here's how I'd handle it personally, but that's just me.

    1) Short-term: use WordPress for the blog. As much as I hate WordPress and as insecure as it has shown itself to be, it's going to be the quickest to launch and the other two ideas will take some time.

    2) Cart and poll...custom stuff. You might also be able to get away with a shopping cart script in the short run, although I wouldn't recommend because of your specific customization and because...well, shopping cart scripts are terrible and are quite often exploited (or at least become hacker targets because the "reward" is greater).
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  5. #4
    Junior Member Ratzap's Avatar
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    Thanks for the information. Now at least I know it can be done. And I learned that WordPress and on-site shopping carts pose hazards. Also good to know about the poll confirmation thingy, but it doesn't suit my needs. (I actually want those errors and regrets!) My idea for banner ads ("a whole can of worms by itself") was an afterthought. It simply occurred to me that if one-click voting is established, the 3-link "Vote Here" banner becomes a possibility.

    Quote Originally Posted by TheGAME1264, post: 211862
    1) Short-term: use WordPress for the blog. As much as I hate WordPress and as insecure as it has shown itself to be, it's going to be the quickest to launch and the other two ideas will take some time.
    From this I take it I can go ahead and start building with WordPress and worry about the custom part later. No one is going to say "Oh, you can't do that in WordPress; you'll have to start over..." I can just build the site the way I want it and then hire someone later to write some code that will make it perform the trick. If that's the case, I'm relieved. I can begin.

    I know the ap seems inconsequential, but I consider it essential for the success of the site. I guess if a web designer acts like it's nothing, that can mean "easily done," or it can mean "potentially hard to do but easily left out if that's the case." I had to explain to one designer I consulted, "Think of my site as an experimental aircraft---a radical new design. I don't need anyone to tell me if it will fly, or how to make it fly. I just need someone to build it. I'll make it fly."

  6. #5
    Junior Member Ratzap's Avatar
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    My remark about hiring 2 designers was just an expression of my frustration. They didn't even try to meet my expectations. Practically destroyed my faith in humanity! But I know that's not typical, and I shall probably hire a designer to create this ap.

  7. #6
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ratzap, post: 211897
    I know the ap seems inconsequential, but I consider it essential for the success of the site. I guess if a web designer acts like it's nothing, that can mean "easily done," or it can mean "potentially hard to do but easily left out if that's the case." I had to explain to one designer I consulted, "Think of my site as an experimental aircraft---a radical new design. I don't need anyone to tell me if it will fly, or how to make it fly. I just need someone to build it. I'll make it fly."
    That might scare off some of the more talented and experienced designers by itself. There are a lot of people...and I mean a lot of people...who think that their website is the next great thing and that they've got an idea so wonderful that in many cases they won't even tell a designer about it in anything other than vague terms before the designer signs off on an NDA and/or some other 500-page legal document that makes next to no sense to anyone, including the lawyers that drafted it.

    My favorite idea of all time actually came from a guy who wanted to give away bicycles online. That wasn't the bad part of the idea. His idea was that the front wheel of the bicycle would be oversized so that the wheel rim would be replaced with a giant white cardboard (I think it was cardboard) deal that contained an advertiser logo. The advertiser would be the one to pay for the cost of the bike by paying for the logo on the cardboard deal of the bike. Picture a Big Wheel, except that it's a bike and contains an ad, and you've got the general concept.

    Apparently I was the only one to tell him what a stupid idea this was and why (i.e. most of the time, a bicycle is moving and therefore no one could see the advertiser logo as it would be spinning around along with the giant front tire, despite it rotating more slowly than the back tire, which would wear out more quickly as a result...not to mention the fact that most bike stores wouldn't have parts for this customized bicycle). Six months later, I heard that someone had actually built this guy's site, didn't get paid, and the owner went bust.

    Now, I'm not saying your idea is anywhere near as bad as this guy's. I don't think an idea that stupid is possible for most of humankind to come up with unless there's a narcotic involved. And I don't even know what your idea is. But it is pretty vague, and statements that talk about how great the idea is tend to scare off the more veteran and talented designers and developers.
    Harmonic likes this.
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  8. #7
    Junior Member Ratzap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGAME1264, post: 211911
    That might scare off some of the more talented and experienced designers by itself. There are a lot of people...and I mean a lot of people...who think that their website is the next great thing and that they've got an idea so wonderful that in many cases they won't even tell a designer about it in anything other than vague terms before the designer signs off on an NDA and/or some other 500-page legal document that makes next to no sense to anyone, including the lawyers that drafted it.

    Now, I'm not saying your idea is anywhere near as bad as this guy's. I don't think an idea that stupid is possible for most of humankind to come up with unless there's a narcotic involved. And I don't even know what your idea is. But it is pretty vague, and statements that talk about how great the idea is tend to scare off the more veteran and talented designers and developers.
    Yeah, that seems to be the problem I face. I want a designer who will just do the job and not give me marketing advice or make marketing decisions. There's a bias against radical innovation. (Always has been.) Why should I have to lay out my whole marketing plan to a designer? Especially when I know I'm going to hear something like, "That's not the way it's usually done..." I know the money-making formula: find something that works and improve on it. I'm not going that route. Why is that a problem?

    Sure, I hope to make a million bucks in the first few weeks. But long gone are any ideas of giving my designer a percentage. I just want a specific job done; build a website to my specifications. Why is that so difficult? I'm not saying, "Build me a successful website." I'm just saying, "Build me what I want and I won't blame you if it fails." If I need marketing advice I'll consult marketing experts. But right now I just need a website.

  9. #8
    Unpaid WDF Intern TheGAME1264's Avatar
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    It's more that it's a problem because what you've said has been said before. I have no problem with innovation personally...if I get paid to build something and someone makes bank off of what I built, I'm cool with that. I've also built some different stuff myself (as others here will probably attest). I don't even give a damn if you want me to sign an NDA or a non-compete. But I'm also in the minority, and again, there have been a lot of "great ideas" that developers have been involved with, failed, and they ended up with little to nothing to show for it both in terms of finished product and pay. In other words, you're working against past precedent, and past precedent online is a powerful thing.

    The other thing you may or may not be considering (I genuinely don't know the answer to this) is that the most intelligent of developers will want to have at least some input into as much of the website as they can possibly have. Even though the intellectual property is yours, the development has their distinctive footprints on it, and they look at the finished product as theirs. So they'll want to at least give some advice. They're not strictly "yes, sir, no, sir, three bags full, sir" kind of people. Even if you tell them "build this, and if it's a non-technical fail you're off the hook", that may not be enough.

    This is where I'm in the majority. I don't expect you to take every piece of advice I have, but I'd at least like the opportunity to provide input because there may be something that will improve your idea that you didn't consider (through no fault of your own of course). I work best in the kind of environment where I can say to someone "okay, this works, this may not, can we do this instead?" But that's clearly not what you want...you want someone to advise on a strictly technical level. And that's okay, but it's probably what's holding you back.

    Now that I've pretty much run this topic into the ground, I'm going to make one suggestion to you as far as where you can find a developer: oDesk. The reason I'm going to suggest oDesk is because they have an hourly rate payment option where the developer is guaranteed to get paid. With your idea (what little I know of it, anyway), developers are probably going to want the peace of mind of a guaranteed "paycheck". Now that you know roughly what you want, you should be able to put together a decent job opportunity from there.
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  10. #9
    Senior Member Webzarus's Avatar
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    There's a bias against radical innovation. (Always has been.)
    here lies the problem... someone who thinks the whole world is against them before they start... They have this "great idea"... but have no way of actually realizing it... perhaps because it's already been done and failed... and by people that actually know what they are doing... or at least have the skills to make it happen...

    I can only chuckle at people that think the have the next great idea... but have know skills to make it happen... including people skills ...( sometimes people with really great people skills can motivate the one with technical skills to get to the goal )...

    I'm a very open person when it comes to technology and innovation... and I've tried many things in the past... for myself and clients... just to see the end result... some were good... some not so good... either way, we both went into it with our eyes wide open...

    What you are looking for is someone to blindly trust you without even so much as having a basic understanding of what you are doing...

    TheGame is correct... you'll need to hire someone out that knows they are getting paid to do what you want... but then again... what's to keep someone you're paying from taking your idea... improving on it... selling it to someone else... and on and on an on ????

  11. #10
    Junior Member Ratzap's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheGAME1264, post: 212121
    The other thing you may or may not be considering (I genuinely don't know the answer to this) is that the most intelligent of developers will want to have at least some input into as much of the website as they can possibly have. Even though the intellectual property is yours, the development has their distinctive footprints on it, and they look at the finished product as theirs.
    That might explain why designers (at least the good ones) want to hear the whole pitch and then evaluate and second-guess everything, regardless of whether I'm hiring them or not. But I think there's more to it than that.

    As an artist, my real desire is to look over someones shoulder and make all the decisions. I guess that means I need to learn this new medium. So I'm looking for technical advice. I don't want any marketing advice right now. And I have no appreciation for blatant curiosity in the guise of free marketing advice. Sorry if I've piqued any ones curiosity, but there's just no need for a long explanation of the how and the why.

    Thanks for answering my question.


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