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The Next Generation

The Next Generation, of Alexandria, Virginia introduced their new web site, designed to allow customers to find information about the products and services offered by The Next Generation and to allow The Next Generation to maintain the information on the web site, in-house, without having an Internet specialist on staff.

The Next Generation services and sells printers, fax machines, and related toner cartridges. They required a web site that allowed them to manipulate the information for their products and other areas on the site. The web site was required to be flexible enough to allow printers and fax machines to be associated with multiple types of cartridges and to allow for eCommerce capabilities to be added in the future. In addition to the website requirements, The Next Generation required a process to allow them to take information from the website and archive it for off-line distribution and viewing.

V2’s challenge was to design and develop a web site that provided The Next Generation with the capabilities they required while maintaining their prior web site until the new web site was ready to be placed into production.

The Next Generation required a new web site design and was required to have an administrative system for The Next Generation to edit the content on the site. A modular web site was designed such that new sections could be easily added in the future and so that the visitors to the site would have a consistent experience while browsing. The design also incorporates a directory system, enabling visitors to determine their location in the web site hierarchy.

The design of the site incorporates an area where visitors may view the products offered by filtering by the Manufacturer. Additionally, there is a Search page that allows visitors to search for products based on any combination of the manufacturer, type, resolution, and other product specific information. In addition to the product searching and listing capabilities, Contact forms, News, and Press Release pages were also provided.

An administrative back-end system had to be created to allow The Next Generation to control the information displayed on the site. A password protected, web site based system was created to perform this function. The administrative back-end allows The Next Generation to control the content from anywhere on the Internet and ensures that whom ever is modifying information on the site is working with the most recent version. New products and manufacturers may be added, edited or deleted at anytime. Additionally, the News and Press Release sections may be maintained through the administrative back-end.

The last requirement of The Next Generation was to have the ability to allow their customers to view their product catalog off-line via a CD. A system was created that gathers and modifies all the content and information on the web site and creates a single, downloadable, compressed file. The contents of this file are optimized on the fly by the system to allow for off-line viewing. The Next Generation can download this file, decompress it, and burn the contents to a CD for distribution to their customers as an electronic, off-line, product catalog.

Through leveraging specialized software libraries created by V2 Systems and through its disciplined approach to project management and web site development, the web site for The Next Generation was created to their requirements, on time, and within their budget. The development of the web site was performed in incremental steps, each requiring approval by The Next Generation. This development process ensured that V2 Systems understood exactly what requirements The Next Generation had for the web site and that The Next Generation understood exactly what V2 Systems was going to develop.

The result of V2 Systems’ development process was a professionally designed web site that allows the customers of The Next Generation to view the current product catalog either on or off-line and puts the control of the information in the hands of The Next Generation without having to take on additional web site maintenance costs.

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