What can Prophysicus do for you?
Scientists come to us saying "I want a website." We can do for you (more accurately, with you), but it truly is a team effort. We're eager to help you present a premier website to the world! When you decide on a premier website from Prophysicus, you'll be assigned a project manager, who will help to guide you throughout your site development process.
The first step in creating a website is listing one or more goals for the site. Goals could include data sharing and distribution, classroom/teaching applications, or general positive branding for the scientist and/or the lab. Once we know the goals for the site, the subsequent steps are outlined with those goals in mind. Prophysicus can help you identify and prioritize the goals for your own unique website.
Once we have our goals for the project in mind, we can then start to sketch out a site map of the site. This will tell us how complex the navigation structure will be (which impacts the information architecture and physical layout of the site), and allows you to start thinking about putting together the content (text, data, and images) that will populate your site. At this stage we'll also work to gather your preferences on what you like and dislike about different websites across the internet. Based on your data needs and design preferences, Prophysicus will make recommendations about the organization of your site, as well as user interface decisions that best present the content you want to show to the public.
Having site maps and design concepts in hand allows us to move on to the actual creation of the website. This step starts with the creation, customization, and refinement of your site's graphical design. You could bring a design to us, or you might be happy working with one of our ready-made site templates (with just enough color and graphic changes to make it your own) - you may even opt for a completely custom, one-of-a-kind website, designed in an interactive process with a talented graphic designer who has many years of experience putting scientific data on the internet. Prophysicus will work with you to design a site that will be as visually compelling as it is usable.
After you approve the basic design (typically a homepage and a sample interior page), the design gets turned over to the programming staff. The programming staff works to implement your design in two phases: generalization of your design into reusable, maintainable shared code, and also any customized programming necessary to meet any of your specialized project goals. Prophysicus will deliver a site ready to receive your content that also does everything you want it to do.
Along with an attractive and useful website front-end, Prophysicus also provides a set of easy-to-use back-end tools that make site updating quick and easy. One of the biggest complaints we've heard about scientific websites is that they're frequently out-of-date, and one of the biggest reasons we heard for this problem (readily admitted by the scientists themselves) is the lack of tools for updating the site - maybe the coding syntax was too difficult to remember, or they didn't know what software to use to update the site, or possibly the student who wrote the site graduated and left with all the necessary passwords. Our proprietary set of tools makes updating the site a pleasure, which makes it easier to keep the site current.
Now that the site infrastructure is in place and the content has been created and loaded on the site, it's time to release it to the public! Prophysicus can work with your institution's IT department to host the site on your own webserver, or we can host the site on the same 3rd-party servers that we use to maintain our own sites; maybe a combination approach is best, if your institution has policies and restrictions in place that limit your ability to meet your website goals in their environment. Whichever solution you choose, you can be confident that you will take pride in your website, knowing that Prophysicus has partnered with you to present yourself, your lab, and your work in the best light possible.
Your ongoing support needs will be determined by your available time, your in-house technical resources, and the complexity of your site. You may choose to update and maintain the site yourself - this is a common option, made possible by the provided maintenance tools, along with full access and modification rights to all the source code that drives the site. Prophysicus is happy to help out with your site after launch, though - we offer modifications, enhancements, and assistance, either on a per-project basis, or through a year-long maintenance contract that covers maintenance tool upgrades and basic work on your site. Whatever your choice, you can be secure in the knowledge that Prophysicus will be there to keep your site functional and relevant for years to come.
If you've gotten this far, we hope that you're excited about the thought of having Prophysicus develop your new website. Unfortunately, details like time and money need to be considered before starting on the project! Because each site is unique, we can't commit to a price or timeline until after we discuss your site's goals and design basics; however, we can offer some ballpark estimates. Most sites can be launched within one to three months of setting the goals and design parameters - this varies based on the design complexity, inside page variations, and your own availability to prepare and deliver content, and respond to questions and milestones.
The cost for a new site often runs in the $2500 to $5000 range, depending on the design (custom design is more expensive than stock design, or course), site features and required custom programming, and implementation constraints. We do offer multi-site discounts, where multiple sites with similar features and site templates can be deployed for 30-50% less per site than the cost of the first site. This is a great option for departments, when several scientists get together to launch a set of sites that show the unity of their department, while still allowing the unique characteristics of each lab to shine through. And if you're thinking about new sites for several labs in your department, don't forget about the department website - Prophysicus does websites for departments, too!
We hope that this brief outline gives you an idea of what Prophysicus can do for you. Please contact us so we can discuss your website goals further, and give us a chance to tell you how we can make them a reality!