I am currently developing my first website for a transport company, taking their business image from 1993-ugly-table-format-serious-colours in to 2012-floating-divs-and-animations. As it is a static website and will not see new content for a long time, it is important that the site has enough functionality for good customer retention.
I have created 80% of written and picture content and will soon be finished with that. It is pleasant to look at and easy to navigate and the information is plentiful.
The company I am working for is very small but has very large clients and very healthy profits, there is just one person doing all the administration as well as dealing with clients, new business etc. Currently their online presence is a meagre site which, if anything, harms the business image more than it helps. With the new site it is certain there will be more new business leads coming from the website and whilst it is completely positive, it will prove very hard to manage for the business owner if they have to answer the phone constantly. Furthermore, they will miss many potential clients as they are out around 40% of the time on jobs.
For this reason I have decided to create an automatic quote generator on the site. It will create a quote based on a number of individual options selected by the user, give a rating on how accurate the quote is, generate a unique reference number and send an email to both my clients email address and the users email address IF the user gives an email address. If they do not, no action will be taken.
It is still in the planning stages and that is why I am posting here, my general research thus far of what I need to use is:
I will use these as follows:
Variables - to set the general price value of a service - and optional addon services within service categories and also the accuracy of the general quote in % format (by using average price and comparing to highest and lowest price)
Operators - to calculate price, VAT and total price (for primary customers - large businesses - who claim back VAT) and to calculate the accuracy of quotes when more than one service has been selected (%).
Comparisons - to identify which options have been selected (true/false)
If..else - to make the operators calculate the price of selected services and all addons (also possibly to identify any services that when combined entitle user to discount)
Functions - to make this all happen on certain actions such as Onmouseclick
While loop - to give a continuously up to date price as new options are selected
Animations - the interface will appear upon clicking a small button entitled "Get a quote now". The background will fade out somewhat and the quote interface will grow down and left from the button to the center of the page.
- PHP sendmail - to automatically generate an email to be sent to my client as well as the users given email address upon submitting the form.
Now, I have never been one to conform to the generally accepted standards for visual design and as such I will be creating a visual quote generator (with small GIF icons as options that will highlight to show they have been selected) and not a drop menu in sight.
Saying that, I strive to conform to best practice in my programming as its not about the end user. Therefore, any help you can give to point me in the best direction with this endeavour will be greatly appreciated.
Please feel free to add anything and ask anything.
Positive Comments Encouraged, Negative Comments Ignored, Constructive-Criticism Greatly Appreciated.