The process of turning designs into living Web sites is as close to our hearts as anything else we do.
Accessibility, Section 508 compliance, and Web standards are often discussed in the same breath; that’s because well-built, standards-compliant websites work across a wide range of devices, and are accessible to a wide range of individuals.
A large part of our work concerns best practices and accessible Web presentation. Our attention to these technological best practices goes to the core of our approach to building smart and effective Web sites. Our commitment to standards-based, device-independent, forward-compatible, semantic XHTML transcends buzzwords or flavor of the month status.
We think a great deal about search at White Whale. We’ve created some great search tools for past clients that combine Google results with targeted search for news, events, directory information, and student profiles. That said, when websites are well built— with HTML text instead of images used as links, and plentiful use of site-internal links to organize content— search engines will index a site beautifully. This is especially true of large educational institutions; as you get a lot of traffic anyway, the combination of popularity and interlinkedness that drives the Google algorithm will lead to favorable results.
It is sometimes possible to do topic-specific search engine optimization for colleges and universities. For example, if there was a particular Google search that you’d like to be returned for, there are ways to improve your site’s standing with regard to those particular search terms. However, this is to some extent a risky business, as some common SEO strategies (such as long, descriptive page titles) are immediately recognizable as such to a Web-savvy audience. That’s why general SEO techniques are more common in small and Internet-based businesses than in higher ed. However, the bottom line is, we’re very familiar with the principles of searchability, and take every measure to ensure that our clients get favorable search results placement.