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Elite Designs, Ltd.

Elite Designs, Ltd., based in the Chicago area, provides web design, development and hosting services. Elite serves a diverse clientele, including everything from small local businesses to large organizations, making Elite's search for a content management system all the more challenging.

Search for a Solution

Elite sought a content management system that provided the stability, power and flexibility required to serve their clients. Foremost, they needed something extensible. They found that every time they requested a new feature with other software solutions that they were turned down. A content management system that would easily allow them to add new functionality was a top priority in order to create sites as diverse as their clientele. That content management system also needed to provide flexibility and ease of use so clients could easily manage and update their own content.

Another feature important to Elite was complete separation of design and content. They found that much frustration was derived from users needing to update content, but being unable to do so without encountering templates and code. Instead, a content management system that kept the two attributes separate would allow clients to update their own content without the worry of altering any templates or
the risk of dramatically affecting the site's appearance in the process. A simple user interface to edit and update content would serve the needs of both large and small clients alike.


In 2001, Elite discovered WebGUI and found that it met the criteria they were searching for. WebGUI provided a simple platform that was easy for their clients to learn and use. WebGUI is also extremely search engine friendly, allowing spiders to index clients' site content quickly and often, providing visibility in a saturated web population. Add that to WebGUI's pluggable and modular architecture, which allows Elite to easily plug in and add new functionality to their sites, and a solution was found.

Elite finds WebGUI's Collaboration System to be one of its most versatile and powerful features. The Collaboration System can be configured in dozens of ways, allowing it to function as a support board, photo gallery, employment board, weblog, and more. Elite finds that the Collaboration System's flexibility applies to a client's site whether it is creating an online discussion board, selling products online, placing brochures online, or creating a community driven site. Another WebGUI feature frequently used is the SQL Report to provide clients data on the back end, such as information on who has signed up on a site, and tracking systems to link sales people to clients. Elite also takes advantage of WebGUI's extensibility by creating custom shipping and sales tax modules in e-commerce, and custom e-commerce templates.

Elite uses WebGUI for their own website applications. Elite's website attracts new clients, while providing existing clients support, and contains a number of intranet applications. Using WebGUI, Elite staff can share documents and project files, keep track of employees with an in/out board and a time tracker application, and store contact information.

Elite is also pleased with the WebGUI related services provided by Plain Black. Elite is subscribed to Plain Black's online support forum for times when staff or clients encounter a problem they can not solve on their own. They state that the support staff are extremely helpful and always provide a timely response. They are also extremely satisfied with the custom development projects done by Plain Black and note that development projects are always completed before deadline. The WebGUI Users Conference, attended four times by Elite, has also provided a medium for meeting and exchanging knowledge and ideas with other WebGUI users.

Elite and WebGUI have worked together from the beginning, and the professional relationship between Elite and Plain Black has grown accordingly. As Elite Design, Ltd. has expanded to include an increasingly diverse clientele, WebGUI and Plain Black have been there to support Elite’s growth and meet its growing needs. Today, Elite serves an impressive list of clientele by providing powerful, flexible, and attractive websites necessary to compete and succeed in today’s market.

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At a Glance

Elite Designs LtdElite Designs, Ltd.

Schaumburg, IL

Internet, Web Development

Elite Designs, Ltd. needed a content management system that:

  • Supports custom applications.
  • Keeps design and content separate.
  • Is easy for clients of all skill levels to use.
  • Provides a stable and powerful hosting environment.

Elite provides clients with an easy to use, powerful website. Using WebGUI, Elite provides design, development and hosting services to organizations of all different sizes across the country.

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