Crabfish

Produced for two local artists - Colin Ruffell and Fran Slade - the Crabfish.com site allows visitors to browse a catalogue of each artist's work, comprising dozens of prints as well as a smaller number of original paintings. The site also includes biographies of the artists, feature articles about artistic terms and techniques, and lots of other information for visitors to browse through.

The site was produced in cooperation with Sparticle, whose design I translated into cross-browser XHTML/CSS. The result is accessible, clean and user-friendly, bringing the work to the fore. It has also been structured to allow Colin to make his own design changes to the front pages of the site, while leaving the catalogue intact.

Credit card purchases

The paintings and prints can be purchased online, using secure credit card facilities that were designed to fit in with the artists' existing ordering system.

When the customer has chosen their items, they can enter their delivery and payment details into an order form, which is located on a secure server. When the order is submitted, a confirmation e-mail is sent to the customer and a further e-mail alerts Colin Ruffell. The information is held in a database on the secure server until the order is processed and dispatched, and these order records can be accessed by Colin via a set of password-protected web pages.

Content management

That's not all, though. Crabfish.com is based upon a powerful content management system, built in PHP and connected to an Access database. Through this system, it is possible for the client to change all manner of things, from adding new prints to typing in a new article for the features section to altering the postage rate for a particular region. Each print can be made available in a variety of formats and editions, each of which can be customised in turn...and limited edition prints can be flagged as "sold out" when the time comes. In short, the entire structure and content of the site can be controlled without any technical knowledge at all.

For a couple of reasons, the content management system publishes its data into static HTML pages rather than pulling content from the database on demand. This optimises the site for search engines as well as making one extra feature possible - a slightly customised version of the site can be downloaded from the content management system for use on CD-ROM.

A closer look

Example page from the Crabfish website at www.crabfish.com
Example page from the Crabfish website at www.crabfish.com
Example page from the Crabfish website at www.crabfish.com
Example page from the Crabfish website at www.crabfish.com
Example page from the Crabfish website at www.crabfish.com
Example page from the Crabfish website at www.crabfish.com

Note: the enlarged images will open in a new window, so you might need to disable any pop-up blocking software to see them.