Making changes to a new website.

Good morning,

I need some help and advice.  I recently contracted with a company to completely redesign our company's website.  In the beginning discussions, they were informed that when the site is completed and up and running, we wanted to be able to make changes in text and product art from work, and not have to ask them to make every change.  I told them that I was familiar with Frontpage, but we would invest in Dreamweaver, if that is what we needed to be able to make these small changes when needed.
The site is done and we are happy with it, but now they say that they need to make all the changes, because with us making updates, we will mess up their coding.  I don't know enough about web design to know if they are telling the truth.  Using some kind of software, is it not logical that I could make simple, yet necessary changes to the site without hurting their work?  I am not talking about making new header with Flash, I am just talking about replacing pictures or changing prices or updating company news.
The site I am asking about is  Please offer any information or advice that you feel will help here.

Thanks very much.
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Well, if you are talking very simple and minor corrections or changes, I would think you should be able to do it. However, they are using CSS and unless you really know what you are doing, you could easily 'break' the design. I don't think they are necessarily trying to bleed you of any possible money, but giving you an honest assessment of what they put together - I think they are telling you the truth. If you feel comfortable doing it yourself and are willing to either do the research (read up on CSS and browser compatitiblity) or accept the consequences, then I would say tell them you want to do it yourself.

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If it were just text changes I would think that you would be fine to make small changes yourself. You would need to be more careful when changing images, as different widths and height could break the layout, and you need to know about using alt text.

However, it is your website if you said in your initial requirements that you wanted to be able to update it yourself, and they agreed, then you should be able to. Did you have it in writing in your contract with them that you would own the code base, or have rights to edit it?

If all they are worried about is not being paid to make updates, and they claim that you would break the layout, you could argue that if you make changes and break things you will be having to pay them to fix it.
Have the page date come from a database and give them a control like Active Edit to allow them to use WYSIWYG to edit the content.  

Since it pulls from the DB, you can control their edits to only the content and not the rest of the source.


Dreamweaver has a template ability where you can lock all the code except portions.  Users can then only edit the editable piece.
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