Code of Ethics

The World Wide Web need not be that wild...

Ethical design and development

Many of the ideas that have often defined quality in design and development have risen in importance to the level of ethical standards; it's not just about doing things right, it's about doing the right thing! We like this approach and we believe that it focuses the minds and talents of providers while also informing buyers. To us (and to more and more practitioners in our field), ehical design and development means:

  1. Focus implementation decisions on true user needs, by leveraging current research (rather than best guess or individual taste alone), user testing (even if only at an informal and small scale), and iterative refinement with small and frequent releases (rather than large releases that are hard or expensive to change)
  2. Implement with simplicity and clarity rather than manipulation or unnecessary extravagance
  3. Respect data privacy by only collecting information that will benefit the user and the revealed goals of the business
  4. Build with human-centered intent and support as much accessibility as possible

Openness and Transparency

The more you know, the more you are empowered to support our objective of building quality projects. To help you be that partner in our joint production, we will always be as open and transparent as possible about our pricing, processes, and performance and availability of our systems and business services.

We'll only onboard your project if we really believe that we're a good fit for your goals and you are a good fit for our production culture (rather than collect projects like a squirrel collecting acorns).

And we will never engage in scare tactics to drum up more business or steer you away from an option that happens to differ from what we would do if we were in your shoes.

Conflicts of Interest

If we have a conflict of interest that impacts any aspect of our work, you won't have to discover it the hard way. We'll declare any conflict as soon as it is discovered, and you'll have all the power and time you need to decide how to proceed.

And while conflicts of interest are thankfully rare, our concern in this area is just another guarantee that you will be treated fairly and respectfully.

Timely Options

Have you ever been blocked or limited by outdated thinking? Have your projects ever suffered from "the way we've always done it"?

Modern web projects should be... Well, modern! You and your users all deserve planning and implementation methodologies that are not stuck in the past simply because they worked in the past. And you have the ethical right to demand that outdated notions be updated if and when they are found to lack the timely value you need.

Skill Development

The ongoing development of all project implementation skills is not just good business. It's an ethical obligation that we take very seriously.

Lagging skills at any phase of implementation introduce security risks, performance risks, cost overrun and profitability risks, stability and maintainability risk, and even the risk of missed or poorly defined project requirements that can render the entire effort a wasted one.

For these reasons (as well as the obvious business reasons), we work hard and continually invest in our skills so that your needs can be met as accurately as possible, at the highest level of quality possible, and at the most reasonable cost possible.

Similarly, in addition to investing in our own implementation skills, we are also investing in your user skills. A skilled user is free to innovate and grow. And a skilled project steering team is more likely to avoid Vendor Lock and other high-risk traps.

Vendor Lock

All too often, project teams invest in solutions that tie them to a specific provider. This is "Vendor Lock". Suppose the technology you buy is not very commonly used or highly customized or even proprietary to a specific provider. In that case, you may find that you cannot move to a new provider without essentially starting from scratch, at great expense, even if your reason for moving is a mandatory requirement that you cannot avoid.

Whether your reason for moving is contentious (such as poor service), or altogether peaceable (such as merger requirements or new languages that need to be supported), or even a policy decision to bring more of your infrastructure in-house, you should have the right to move your own project with minimum fuss.

To protect you from Vendor Lock, we start with widely supported Open Source technologies. We then customize and tailor as required with code and config that follow common sense and current standards. And when we add special extras that are unique to our own service environments, we make sure to keep these extras out of project assets so that your project will never depend upon our technology in a way that will cost you or slow you down.

We are confident that you will benefit so much from life in our ecosystem that you will not want to move. But if you have to move, nothing we do will block you in any way.


Post-apocalyptic retro-tech movies featuring a world in which patched, bolted, and duct-taped technologies are barely kept going by tired and unappreciated engineers can be fun to watch. But if this is how your workday feels even in real life, you might be fighting your very own Frankenstack: A mismatched collection of tech and tools that don't work well together and make everyone's life harder and less efficient.

Frankenstacks are easy to avoid with accurate requirements-gathering practices, clear roles and responsibilities, proper testing at every phase of implementation (including specs and designs), and a transparent production culture that values economics over egos.

We Pay Our Way

Shops that depend too heavily upon free resources may not always be as trustworthy as we'd like, even when they make admirable products and seem to have at least some happy clients. Free plugins and themes, free images, free content, free labor, uncompensated referrals, etc, will too often translate into a "taker" company culture that cuts corners and alienates talent.

We don't like to work for free, so we won't ask others to. When we like a free plugin and use it often, we buy a license or donate to the author or contribute to development. We use paid images only, and we do our best to make sure that the providers we use compensate their contributors fairly. We never accept free labor. And we always pay for referrals that result in new business.

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