Several area businesses are entering the e-commerce arena thanks to some MSU students.
As part of their senior design projects, students in this semesters Computer Science and Engineering 498 course have developed Web sites as prototypes for what those businesses might want to create as their permanent home pages.
They do this on their own and we dont tell them how, said Bill Punch, a computer science professor who teaches the collaborative design course.
A customer who isnt knowledgeable in the practical areas wouldnt do this themselves.
Punch said the class is part of the departments plan to have students do realistic software development work in a group setting with real customers on topical problems.
Some of the businesses participating in the project are Evergreen Grill, 327 Abbott Road, Melting Moments Homemade Ice Creams, 313 E. Grand River Ave., and Norm Kesel Florist Inc., 109 E. Grand River Ave.
This is the first time students in the class have worked with East Lansing businesses, and Punch said many of the businesses are looking for ways to keep the Web sites running in the future.
Were programming it for someone who doesnt know how to use any of this stuff, said Paul Jablonski, a computer science senior enrolled in the course. The next step is to get him to use it somehow and keep it going.
Jablonski worked with a group of three other computer science seniors to create a Web site for Hankins Gallery, 280 M.A.C. Ave.
During a span of 14 weeks, students met with the customer, designed and implemented the sites, and are now improving their designs and providing documentation.
Jason Hawrysz, another computer science senior, said his group spent much of its time meeting with its client to find out what he wanted from his Web site. From there, most of the work consisted of layout and design.
It took a little while to know the tools wed be using, said Hawrysz, whos also working for Hankins Gallery. We werent sure about using the virtual framing features.
He said his group had to construct a way to allow users to create a frame for the art.
Among other things, he had to work with his client to show him how to use a digital camera.
What Ill take away is client interaction, Hawrysz said. Customer interaction is whats important here for me.
Given what he already knew about Web site design, computer science senior Neilam Amin - who also worked for the gallery - said the project wasnt too hard.
But there was a lot of time spent to create a good product.
We essentially put together a package, Amin said. Now they need to find someone to host it.
The Web sites can be viewed at www.cse.msu.edu/~cse498/projects.html.
Ray Walsh, owner of Curious Book Shop, 307 E. Grand River Ave., had a different experience than other business owners. Students helped him touch up his already-existing Web site, www.curiousbooks.com.
We appreciated their input, he said of the students. Were glad we participated in it.