From our creation in 2009, this is the story of 79DESIGN.
It was in June 2009 that word began to spread in Spalding that this new website design agency was here. Able to create websites at a low cost, with really good support.
A local company’s solicitor, Caroline, put us in touch with a fine gentleman from a local Law Society. We met up at a local hotel, and after initial proposal it was agreed very quickly. This was long before the days of WordPress for us, so it as a bespoke website. A great meeting and even in our infancy as a business, they chose us to do the website. So proud, and what a good start.
79DESIGN is born
In September 2009, we decided to create 79DESIGN Ltd, following great experiences with hosting companies, we wanted to create a similar, trusted feel, and cost effective outcomes for our clients. We had already gained business, so this was a formality. We thank Jonathan for his assistance in this.
First ECommerce Website
Everyone has to start somewhere, and we began work for a client named Mark. He had an commerce website that was very manual for him. We built an ecommerce platform from the ground up – before WordPress days, and fully designed the site in PHP, as a bespoke website. Every single part of the website had to be built from scratch, but it turned into a 10+ year relationship, multiple websites and multiple servers. It was worth the effort (and occasional pain).
Further Bespoke Design Work
Shortly after we started working for Mark in London, this led to further work on that website. Our skills were expanding more and more. “Can you do a button that does a, b and then c?”… and so we began building all these inhouse tools for this website. It was amazing.
Support and multi-websites
It was in June 2010 that things really began to kick off. Our skills on various websites meant we were taken on for more and more work. Redeveloping sites that were built in an ‘old’ way, that we could turn into dynamic websites.
We were also now providing online support for these websites too. It was now getting exciting.
Gramablend comes on board
One of our clients is the brother of Gramablend. They provide the most amazing lightweight stone solutions basically – the rich and famous, plus famous stores too, including Harrods, Fortnums and Heathrow Airport. Plus huge superyachts. We were chosen to develop them a new website for their brand, in collaboration with our client.
Another Stone Flooring Company
Following the success of the Gramablend UK website, we were chosen again to create an ecommerce website for their sister company, Ceramica. This was to be a fully ecommerce platform, with varied design features – all hand built. There was R&D going into this job, as some tasks were beyond our knowledge, but after this research, we did it.
Local Holbeach Crafts Store
In late 2011 we started to get seen more outside of Spalding, notably in Holbeach where a local business, still fairly new, needed a website for their arts and crafts business. This too was ecommerce, giving them the ability add products, pricing, promotions and more. This was all before the days of ‘mobile friendly’.
There was no such thing as ‘mobile friendly’.
The advent of Shorter URLs
This was the period where websites starting using shorter URLs. Not those you see today with tiny.url/ghqweifho, but turning a URL like index.php?page=home…. into /home/. Nowadays it is taken for granted, but not then. We had to write the code that did it! And once it was done on one site, it had to be done on dozens….
With our skills here developing more and more, one company wanted to really push them to the limit, with a new set of ‘Applications’ on their website. They wanted to add a featured area for their products, to show where they can be used. This had to be fully coded, designed to look good, and above all – to WORK. It was a huge challenge, but of course, we did it. This was for a flooring company in Henley, near London.
Star Ratings & Recently Used
Many of the tools we had to hand-build at the time, are common place in CMS platforms nowadays.
We had to build a Star Ratings tool for customers to post their ratings. It would store their IP, and their rating and had various security features. We also wrote a Recently Used feature, which is basically “what you have looked at”. Again, obvious now, but this had to be written from scratch. Database stored, and used by only the user…
Mobile Versions take off
The advent of ‘mobile versions’ of websites began, and we wrote a means of identifying what device the user was browsing on. This was great, but then we had to have a second website purely for mobile usage, but access the same content. This was how Mobile Websites were done in 2013. Once this was created, we rolled it out on dozens of websites.
We are not certain of this date, but we believe it was mid-late 2013 when we started work on code that would resizing images as they were uploaded. Website owners would upload a 1000px image, but would only be shown at 350px on ’tiled’ screens for shops, so we had to create a tool that would setup these sized versions… on the fly. We built it successfully and rolled it out on multiple websites.
More websites go Mobile
After developing mobile versions of websites, we were asked to create more. Bear in mind, this was before WordPress would do this for you. So we created mobile conversion tools to aid us to provide this service to many of our customers – so their sites looked ‘responsive’ on a mobile device, at a time when ‘responsive’ wasn’t really a word!
79DESIGN’s First Blog
We first started using WordPress for our Blog in April of 2014. We didn’t launch it with any announcement, but this is the date WordPress came into our lives, for the 79DESIGN website at least. However we had started with WordPress a year before that, for another client.