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Support and Maintenance for Websites and Content Management Systems

August Interactive

Websites are interactive media whose purpose is to allow a user to quickly access and interact with information on the web – and here’s the key point – from anywhere an Internet connection can be made.

Most website users are unaware that that the friendly graphics-based interface with which they interact is really a complex and harmonious compilation of thousands of lines of HTML and programming code.
Because of the complexity inherent in even the simplest website, there are innumerable opportunities for glitches and imperfections. When you consider that fact along with the reality that a site’s code is deployed in a quasi-controlled environment and accessed across a multitude of platform/ browser configurations, then it’s illogical to think that a site is “done” just because it’s been launched.

Any website – whether basic or complex — needs at least some level of maintenance. This could include:
- redundancy and back-up/restorations planning
- server and software monitoring and upgrades
- cross-browser compatibility monitoring and upgrades
- performance monitoring
- content monitoring and updates
The size, complexity, relative importance, and business value of the website will determine for each website owner what maintenance and support plan is necessary and with what level of cost/benefit relationship he or she is comfortable.

Why are support and maintenance plans needed?
Most clients will always want ongoing changes, enhancements and modifications to their website. This is inevitable – not for lack of due diligence on behalf of the client or the agency, but rather the need comes about as clients grow in understanding the capabilities of web technologies and the real-time use of a system.

We expect that websites and web-based applications will have technical issues from time to time that may require remedy from technical staff. Therefore, it’s prudent and realistic to expect you’ll need to purchase occasional ongoing support, training, maintenance, back-ups, upgrades, software updates, or site enhancements. For this reason, we ask you to sign a support and maintenance agreement to establish an ongoing relationship between you and us for this sort of ongoing work.

 

What is “support and maintenance” ?
In the context of your website, “support and maintenance” embraces any activity, communication, and interaction by and between you and the Agency that is necessary to maintain a live website or web-based application and support your administrative users. “Support” includes (but isn’t limited to) phone calls, email communications, research, and any efforts by the Agency to meet the your ongoing needs. Finally, “support” applies to requests you make that pertain to overall health and stability of your website or web-based application.

Why is support needed?
For basic websites – static HTML websites – support will most often mean assistance in changing copy and images on the site. This basic need for content maintenance and updates is driven by the site administrator. However, if a website owner is not skilled in HTML and CSS (that is, hypertext mark-up language and cascading style sheets), then support from an HTML professional will be needed for any updates or modifications.

For dynamic and transactional websites, support will most often mean assistance with using the back-end administrative console. While these interfaces are generally easy to use, they do have some intricacies that can be challenging even for experiences users. Furthermore, each site is often configured very specifically for the business and administrative needs of its owner. Therefore, It can be difficult to use generic instructions for administering the site; instead, custom instructions or tutorials are necessary for best use. Finally, a dynamic or transactional site typically has much more traffic and usage than a basic site – and that means a much higher likelihood that issues or encumbrances may arise.

General scope of support and maintenance services

Consulting and administrative support
We are available to respond to your requests for:
1. General information, training, and support as it directly relates to the administrative management of a website or web-based application we develop for you.
2. General information, training and support as it relates to hosting and server configuration, access, and settings for a website or web-based application we develop for you.
3. Technical consulting as it directly relates to the administrative management or enhancement of a website or web-based application we develop for you.
4. Third-party liaison as it directly relates to the administrative management of a website or web-based application we develop for you.
In general, the precise guaranteed response time depends on the particular package you purchase.

Emergency support
“Emergency support” is our availability to respond to emergency website or web-based application problems that may arise occasionally and cause usability, display, or accessibility issues for public and/or authenticated users. Examples of such emergencies include: a site’s being “down”; broken navigational links; database errors; or foreign or malicious content insertions. Emergency problems can also be issues or unexpected and unwanted changes in the site’s accessibility or health that would cause extreme damage to the ongoing business functions and/or the reputation or perception of your organization by the public and/or your customers.

General support
“General support” is our availability to respond to general website or web-based application problems, issues, “bugs,” or abnormalities that may arise occasionally and cause usability, display, or accessibility issues for public and/or authenticated users. Examples include: broken links within the main content of the site; image distortions or display issues; content format issues; user-created errors; or browser compatibility issues. General problems might be issues or unexpected and unwanted changes in the site’s accessibility or health that may cause limited, minimal, or no damage to your ongoing business functions and/or your reputation.

General support also covers our availability to add, remove, or otherwise modify content on your site or web-based application, including adding/replacing images, copy, files, or links; modifying navigational elements, CSS elements, or URLs; and adding/editing metadata.

For more information on support and maintenance services from August Interactive please contact us at info@augustinteractive.com.

13 May
2011

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