Design Consultation . Santa Monica, California
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In February 2009 Bruce Kapson approached the studio with a problem. His current web hosting solution was too expensive for the amount of traffic that the site was generating for his gallery. More importantly, the host was unresponsive to customer service requests and simple things like changing the text on a page took weeks to get done.

The old solution was in Microsoft's Active Server Page framework. It was a generalized solution that was, in fact, a little more that Mr. Kapson needed for his gallery.

Our proposal was sent in on February 5 and on February 26 the site went live after a week or more of testing. You can see it at We started by scraping all of the content off of the old site (since we didn't have the cooperation of the current host). The design was something Mr. Kapson had come up with himself, and we duplicated it.

The Ruby on Rails application we wrote is faster than the old Active Server application. More importantly, it is tailor-fit for the gallery. It only does the things necessary and carries none of the weight of unwanted features.

Each of the features on the old site was studied, duplicated, and improved. The slide show of images on the first page used to be static. Mr. Kapson had selected a few images when the site was first designed and it was made clear that changing them was difficult. Now, when perusing images in the gallery, if he wants to add one to the opening slideshow he clicks the administration link, checks the "slideshow" box and clicks save. The slideshow is altered on the fly.

A small example of the sort of function we added: On the old site the images within a category were ordered by entering a number in the "display order" field on the behind-the-scenes pages. With over a hundred images in a category this was tedious, to say the least. In our new application there is a Curate function: the gallery owner sees a representation of each page on the site, and with a click is able to slide an image from one page to another or to re-order the pages themselves.

Most importantly, we put Mr. Kapson in charge of his own content. The behind-the-scenes pages allow him to edit the text which appears on the pages about each category. If there's a comma out of place, he can fix it late at night when he happens to have the time to look over the virtual side of his business. The change he makes takes effect instantly and without involving someone else's workday or schedule. This sort of freedom of expression should have been part of his web solution to begin with and we were happy to restore it. In the end we were able to move him from a web host who was charging $150 a month to a virtual server which is a tenth of that cost. (If traffic increases, it is simple and transparent to step up to a higher performance account.)