A deeper look into some of our projects.

ZD-CMS™ Software Development

ZD-CMS™ Console & Manager log-in screensZee Designs is very proud of the many successful projects its team has created. Our very best project is the ongoing project that most people never see, the ZD-CMS™, our flexible, scalable Content Management System that we originally created for ourselves. Then our peers asked us if they could use it too. Of course we said yes!

In the early days of the web, there were very few tools for building websites. In her search for a program that would allow for quick and easy development, Zee Marie had an idea for a database-driven website development environment and found programmers who were inspired to help her make it a reality. One of her considerations was that clients were asking for the option to update website content themselves. This was unheard of and difficult in those days, when the interfaces focused mostly on code and publishing to the web by the developers, not the end users.

Goals for the ZD-CMS™ Environment:

  • Infrastructure allows rapid development of well-organized sites with minimal programming.
  • Optimize workflow to make it easy for a team to work on a website business solution project together. Have it fit well within an Agile Project Management Team environment.
  • Enterprise level websites can be created at significantly lower programming cost.
  • Flexible enough to handle a variety of scenarios and to allow for customization to any aspect of the CMS.
  • Build the structure of the site around the content, marketing, and usability requirements, and then make it visually impactful.
  • Visual Design is created to fit the need, celebrate the client's brand, and truly highlight the important text and features in meaningful ways. Design around the content not the content into and around the design.
  • Enable clients to manage their own content if desired without risking damage to the coding.

Our focus was on developing online business presence and functionality for our clients.

Over time, many different kinds of database modules were created that could present different types of content for many types of organizations and websites. Examples include our Event Calendar and eNews modules. Some modules were custom made with specific clients usage in mind, like our Store Locator or Community Module, yet can then be implemented for other clients. In time, custom web applications, like the Membership Manager, Event Registration, K9 Activity Center, and Utility Customer Center (to name a few), were built to seamlessly interface with other website elements. Some of these web apps can be served online or in client-specific environments because they are Java-driven and, while they may interact with the CMS, they are independent of it.

The ZD-CMS has redesigned the relationship between clients, designers, developers, and their websites. As time went on, Zee and her team saw ways to meet business needs that users had not considered for themselves.

Advantages for Website Designers and Developers:

  • Minimizes design and development time through use of a framework process and repeatable functionality.
  • Scalable for use with small businesses as well as enterprise level businesses, and excels in the development and management of clusters of or multiple websites whether public or private.
  • Tool for building modest and complex site maps alike, adding content and modules, and setting content presentation preferences without a programmer.
  • Can be infinitely customized to fit customer needs and requests. We know, because we and other designers have been using it since the year 2000 and have developed hundreds of sites of varying sizes and purpose.
  • Attention has been paid to optimization of the code so that it stands ready for further, on-request development.
  • Does not have the limitations of other options such as Joomla, Wordpress, and the like. It is more than just a CMS because it can be expanded and customized to client-specific needs readily. Special attention has been made to streamline the delivery of multi-layered content with complex functionality while avoiding the slow-downs due to cumbersome system code and user interfaces reported in the other services.
  • The code has been crafted by a modest-sized team of developers on purpose so that each person is accountable.  The number of bugs is minimal and they are squashed efficiently, effectively, and in a timely manner when found.
  • The ZD-CMS™ is designed to be able to include implementation of third-party services such as Google Analytics, Social Links, SMS texting, Typekit, Google Fonts, and data sharing between client-side and web-side servers. This feature is important to keep current as technology expands into new realms.
  • Workflow is optimized. The ZD-CMS makes it easier for a team to work on a website business solution project together. It was built with a team in mind and fits well within an Agile Project Management Team environment. An Agile team has built these projects.
  • Its Console allows the designer and/or developer to:
    • Manage websites for multiple clients in a single installation of the ZD-CMS™.
    • Implement modules, establish external links for the convenience of the end-user, monitor site-specific disk usage, and generate site-specific notes.
    • Manage several levels of user privileges including Emperor, Senator, Plebian, and Outsider with added indications for ‘demigod’ and ‘helponly’, plus a User History report.
    • Monitor Disk Usage.
    • Manage server related settings and backups.
    • Manage internal documentation for Clients, Business Continuity (including site-specific notes), API, and reports Code Unit Tests.
    • Add/Edit/Delete Help Index topics, tutorials, images, and settings.
  • Has added features and tools for being able to manage the business related to the use of CMS such as:
    • Planning and ordering HTML/CSS Programming Services plus on/off CSS Reference pages to verify programming of website style as it relates to the Rich Text Area (RTA) feature.
    • Implement and create SEO meta data, web stat services, and redirects.
    • Site Map Page Labels for indicating the development status of website pages.
    • Site Map page-specific notes for user, by user and admin.
    • Website Reports for module usage, page notes, and page types.
    • There are a plethora of Website Admin settings for general, specific, and minute detail for how content is included and displayed.

Advantages for the Client:

  • Dynamic and interactive sites that can perform functions that save the organization time and money while effectively marketing to their audience.
  • Stunning custom site styles truly fit the content and express their branding.
  • Flexibility to provide what is truly required, rather than forcing the client to live with a one-size-fits-all environment.
  • It is inexpensive and easy to add a new website page to an existing site.
  • A secure customer or member-oriented site can be integrated with the main site.
  • Navigation is clear and the sites are well organized.
  • The entire look of the site can be changed without affecting the content because the site style is separated from the infrastructure.
  • Clients can update their own website content by using an interface that is familiar to them via other industry standards, such as use of a Rich Text Area, form fields, and in-line help pop-ups.
  • SEO capability is built right into the ZD-CMS™ and can be managed by privileged users whether in-house or third-party.
  • The client is not limited to a predetermined functionality. Customized modules and web applications can be designed to meet any requirement.
  • The eNews module enables businesses to keep in touch with their audience.
  • Feedback forms can be as detailed as required to collect the right information.

In a world where template-driven websites become the expected norm of the website development market, it’s refreshing to clients and designers alike to have a CMS solution that from its inception was crafted from a business solution and marketing perspective and that insisted on the ease of content management by customers with limited computer experience.

Featured Modules:

  • Advertisers
  • Articles
  • Bibliography
  • Blog
  • Calendar
  • Catalog
  • Community
  • Downloads
  • eNews
  • FAQ
  • Feedback
  • Gallery
  • Glossary
  • Info
  • Links
  • Locator
  • News
  • Search
  • Store
  • Survey
  • Testimonials
  • Website Pages
    • Site Map (a.k.a. A-to-Z Directory)
    • Body Attachments List (interactive for a list of links to download-able documents)
    • External Links (interactive for list of links outside the client’s website domain)