Syncopated Systems
Seriously Sound Science

Ranking Austin Area Web Site Developers

The proportion of commercial Web site developers that cannot even get their own home pages to pass a basic quality assurance test is truly appalling.

Finding a Local Developer

Web site developers are plentiful and easy to find. If you were to begin your search by looking in the current Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce (GACC) Membership Directory and Buyers Guide (printed and/or online), which is a very good place to start, you would find about 12. A recent telephone directory lists about three or four dozen (under two different headings). If you searched via Google, you would find about 12 million.

To help recognize and promote quality practitioners and to differentiate them from others, Syncopated now sponsors an annual award for local developers of W3C-compliant Web sites.

Qualifying and Comparing Developers

Developing and publishing via the World-Wide Web requires knowledge and skill in both technical and creative areas including marketing, computer science, business law, writing, and visual design. However, finding markup errors on a commercial Web site developer's own home page is a dead give-away that the developer doesn't know even enough to recognize the existence of – let alone comply with – the primary technical standards that govern the Web.

At the very least, all Web pages should be free from markup errors and warnings when tested using the W3C Markup Validation Service. This test serves as an indicator of how likely we may expect a page to cause malfunctions with various browsers, both now and in the foreseeable future. Developers that can't (or won't) do this should never be used.

There are certainly many better criteria for evaluating the quality of Web site developers, but – sadly, and as shown below – only about one out of every eight developers demonstrate even the minimal degree of technical competence required to recognize and create products that pass the W3C Markup Validation Service. So, let's start by running the test on the home pages of the World-Wide Web site developers found via GACC and those on the first page returned by a Google search (including search results and "sponsored link" advertisements found at the top and right side), and rank them by decreasing number of markup errors found on their home pages, as below.

Central Texas Web Site Developers Ranked by Markup Quality

  1. 0 markup errors; consider using only Syncopated Systems or these other vendors, with the following caveats:
    • Blazer Six (GACC): Brady Vercher and Brody Vercher
      site fails to include a privacy policy; contact page appears malformatted when using Mozilla
    • Interaria of Austin and Dallas (Google sidebar ad.): James Shields
      site fails to include a privacy policy, appears malformatted when using Mozilla
    • Solution Echo (GACC): Danny L. Bell
      site fails to include a privacy policy, includes advertising for third parties
    • 10 Sharp Design (Google)
      site fails to include a privacy policy, includes e.mail address
  2. 1 markup error: Henderson Design (GACC): Frank Henderson
    (Note that this one uses a ".org" domain for commercial purposes, which violates ICANN rules.)
  3. 2 markup errors: Olive Interactive Design and Marketing (GACC and Google): Kyla Kanz
  4. 5 markup errors: SpryDev (GACC): Ben Finklea
  5. 7 markup errors: Austin Web Studio (Google)
  6. 9 markup errors: nFusion Group (GACC)
  7. 10 markup errors: Bristlecone Web Design (Google)
  8. 11 markup errors: Austin PC Custom Websites (Google sidebar ad.)
  9. 13 markup errors: WebXess, Inc. (GACC, Google)
  10. 14 markup errors: Austin Web Development (Google, Google sidebar ad.)
  11. 15 markup errors: P.C. Solutions (New Braunfels): Lyle; developer of:
  12. 17 markup errors: White Lion Internet Agency (Google sidebar ad.); developer of:
  13. 19 markup errors: Reboot Concepts (GACC): Bill Badeaux
  14. 22 markup errors:
  15. 23 markup errors: Ankur Agarwal (Pune, India) (Google sidebar ad.)
  16. 25 markup errors: JP Web Development (Google)
  17. 26 markup errors: Sane Development (Google)
  18. 27 markup errors:
  19. 30 markup errors: Unifusion Web Design (in Chicago, Portland and Las Vegas; via Google sidebar ad.)
  20. 34 markup errors: Lone Star Internet, Inc.
  21. 40 markup errors: Wildwood Interactive (GACC): C.J. Romberger
  22. 46 markup errors: Austin E-commerce (Google)
  23. 56 markup errors: OnRamp Access (Google top ad.)
  24. 79 markup errors: Outcasters: Dustin Bozarth; developer of:
  25. 101 markup errors: topLingo (Google sidebar ad.)
  26. 219 markup errors: (Google sidebar ad.)
    (The site is so bad that it crashes Apple's Safari browser.)
  27. critical markup errors (preventing error enumeration): True Presence (GACC): Kim Wendland
  28. apparently already out of business:

Web site developers wishing to be listed or re-evaluated should make such a request via the contact page.

For more information about online publishing, see Publishing on the World-Wide Web.

For further reading about business management, see An Introduction to Business and Operations Management.