• NOVA Housing and Supportive Services

    NOVA Housing and Supportive Services

    The Virginia Housing and Supportive Services' Northern Virginia Regional Implementation Team (NoVA RIT) educates individuals, families and service providers about integrated, independent housing and housing resources. 

    Ursa Major Consulting created its Housing Resource Guide website. The Resource Guide incorporates a database on apartment complexes, housing resources and programs, and provides videos and webinars as part of a toolkit to help individuals move to independent housing.

    The site was created using Joomla! and associated components. New housing resources and programs can be submitted for approval by members of the public and administered by the NoVA RIT.


  • The Law Offices of Mitchell Garabedian

    The Law Offices of Mitchell Garabedian


    The Law Offices of Mitchell Garabedian, a law firm specializing in sexual abuse cases, required a website that was responsive to quickly post breaking news of new settlements and media coverage. It was difficult to make changes to their previous site.

    We redeployed the website and added new capabilities, including embedded video and transcripts of press conferences, and improvements to search engine optimization (SEO).

    We continue to support the Law Offices of Mitchell Garabedian with site updates and improvements.

  • Northern Virginia Association of Realtors

    Northern Virginia Association of Realtors

    The Northern Virginia Association of REALTORS ® (NVAR) engaged Ursa Major Consulting to provide Joomla! expertise in supporting the transition to a new website.

    A usability study and brand design was done by WM Design Group.

    Ursa Major supported the high-traffic, high-content site in Joomla! for several years before its recent transition to integrate with a membership management soution.

  • JMA Solutions

    JMA Solutions


    JMA Solutions, an award-winning government contractor, wanted a site that highlighted their corporate capabilities and awards, advertised their job openings, and provided internal forms and documents for employees.

    Ursa Major provided quick turn-around on a conversion from the old website, trained the internal site administrators, and later upgraded the site.

    More recently, Ursa Major led an internal Website Refresh group at JMA Solutions to refresh the site and provide a feature on the front page for current announcements.

  • Talltree South Condominium Association

    Talltree South Condominium Association


    Talltree South, an award-winning condo community association, provides its owners and tenants handbook, including rules and regulations,in searchable form via its website. Newsletters, e-mail and e-mail-to-text notices, and a window to its Google calendar are also provided to enhance communication with owners and tenants.

    Ursa Major constructed the site in Joomla! 1.5 and later upgraded it to 2.5 and then 3.x.  The content-rich site is very functional. Plans are to update its look in the coming year.

  • Delta Consulting Group

    Delta Consulting Group

    Delta Consulting Group, an international consulting firm, needed a new website that featured its professionals.

    Delta's experts provide consulting and expert witness services in delay, damage and defects analysis, forensic accounting, loss of productivity, and related services on multifaceted litigation and arbitration cases around the world. 

    Their professionals consult on project controls, construction audits, planning and scheduling, and budget analysis.

    Ursa Major developed the website using Joomla 3, using Zoo for the directory of professionals.  Their content is administered by an in-house staff, supported by Ursa Major as needed.


  • Guild of Professional Tour Guides of Washington, DC

    Guild of Professional Tour Guides of Washington, DC


    The Guild of Professional Tour Guides of Washington DC, a professional membership organization, required a website that provided members with up-to-date tourist site status on mobile devices, and online event registration and payment.

    The site incorporated the ability for Guild staff and other site users to manage a calendar and event registration, upload photos to the rotator, and maintain a directory of tour company affiliate members.  The public can request tour guides, who maintain their profiles including specialties and languages spoken. 

    We  received many kudos for the Joomla! website. 

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Displaying items by tag: websites

The Northern Virginia Association of REALTORS ® (NVAR) engaged Ursa Major Consulting to provide Joomla! expertise in supporting the transition to a new website. A usability study and brand design was done by WM Design Group. Ursa Major supported the high-traffic, high-content site in Joomla! for several years before its recent transition to integrate with a membership management soution.



Published in Ursa Major News

Person showing web services diagramUrsa Major's website development process focuses on understanding your:

  • Goals and Objectives for the Site
  • Audiences and Messages
  • Business Functions Needed
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Marketing Plans

We have experience defining requirements for enterprise level projects requiring integration of custom and off-the-shelf products, and supporting competitive procurement of solutions meeting those requirements, but less extensive website development projects follow a simple process.

Simple Sites

We review your existing site or any background material you can provide, and then conduct a structured interview process with you.  We use a standard questionnaire, customized with what we already know about the project, to save time and make sure that we get the information we need. We use this information to develop a proposal to formalize our agreement. 

We ask you to organize and provide us all content you already have for the site, including any logos, photos or other graphics, color choices, etc. that you want to have included. We review your existing site, including your plans for change, your hosting, and your current site traffic and SEO status, as applicable.

We then proceed to develop an initial site map and wireframe or set of wireframes for discussion and approval. Using that input, graphic design is done and/or a template is selected (if an off-the-shelf template is close to what is desired).  Using an off-the-shelf  template with a few tweaks may provide a great look and functionality for minimal cost.*

The flexibility of content management systems such as Joomla! and Wordpress means that navigation can be prototyped with a subset of actual content examples, while some graphic design decisions are still being made.  Seeing is believing, and navigating real content stimulates further discussion of ways to enhance the site or the user experience.

Upon completion, we will do a full site review to test and correct any errors and ensure that the site meets your requirements. We'll ask that you then do the same, and let us know of any other changes that are needed.  Scope management may dictate that some enhancements be delegated to a waiting list, but the productivity of Joomla! often means that a few extra features may be accommodated on the spot.  We document what we have done and provide orientation and training of your staff, as agreed, so that they can add content as needed without relying on a developer.

We will host your site, recommend hosting, or use your current hosting. If desired, we will be available to support your SEO and site security.

More Complex Projects

While we love the productivity of Joomla! and WordPress, and the wide range of off-the-shelf widgets and components (particularly for Joomla!), some projects may need other tools or custom development. We will evaluate alternatives and provide you with our recommendations, staff the project appropriately, and incorporate the necessary quality assurance and testing into our project management plan. We will demonstrate the site on our test server so that adjustments can be made as appropriate.

Even for Joomla and Wordpress, note that the flexibility of templates varies, and customization of an existing template vs. development of a new, custom tempate presents real tradeoffs. When you're not exactly sure of what you want, letting us know examples of any sites you like (and what you like about them) is very helpful. We will have to help you know what to look for in templates.  These days, the focus is increasingly on responsive design, and many currently available templates are not fully responsive. It all depends on what you need.

We have experience with e-commerce sites. Please contact us with your requirements.


Published in Website Development

Joomla! logoJoomla! is an open source content management system (CMS) that allows users to update and add content without extensive knowledge of html and web coding. This means that changes and updates can be made and reviewed immediately, rather than being sent to a web developer.  Business people are in control of their website contents!

Joomla! is used all over the world for everything from simple websites to complex corporate applications including data reporting tools, inventory control systems, complex business directories, integrated e-commerce systems, product catalogs,etc. Joomla! is highly extensible, having more than 8000 extensions, most of which are either free under the GPL license, or low cost.This makes it quite a productivity tool for developers. The functions you are looking for can probably be implemented quickly and easily. 

The latest versions of Joomla! greatly expand access control granularity, category hierarchy, and other functions making it even easier to customize access to content for your site members, employee or customer groups, etc. Responsive designs work with the current proliferation of mobile devices.  Let us show you how!

Ursa Major has  more than 15 years web development experience including more than 6 years of experience with Joomla!   Ursa Major was one of the founders of the Northern Virginia Joomla! Users Group (JUG), and was an organizer of the very successful JoomlaDay DC 2010, hosted at Microsoft facilities in Chevy Chase, Maryland. Dorothy Firsching is currently an officer of the JUG. Some of the very best Joomla! experts are available through the JUG and our contacts.  Contact us to discuss how Joomla! can meet your needs!

If you are interested in Joomla!, please join our JUG. Upcoming meetings can be found at http://www.meetup.com/novajoomla.



Published in Website Development

Ursa Major Consulting has been involved in website development for many years, initially with hard-coded html and later using tools such as Dreamweaver and Cold Fusion. Typically, sites were built in conjunction with a given project, but some live on.

When WordPress became available, we began to use it. We watched Mambo's evolution, and loved Joomla! 1.0. Joomla! has come a very long way, now, and it has gotten better and better.

Joomla is one of the world's most popular software packages used to build, organize, manage and publish content for websites, blogs, Intranets and mobile applications. It is free and open source. Its overall design enables great productivity. Owing to its scalable architecture its also a great base to build web applications. It is famously extensible, with thousands of add-on components available, and it is natively responsive. Today, it can even be administered via smartphone.

So while we still consider websites a supporting tool to achieve a broader objective, we also love to create them. Give us a call if we can help you.

Published in Website Development
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