The Web Design Process
Having a new website developed can seem like a daunting task – there is lots of technical jargon and new-fangled technology to try and understand before you even consider how your content will be seen by your audience.
I like to think that the design and development process itself is key to a successful project – using a tried-and-tested method that gets results but also involves the client at every stage so they understand exactly how the site works for them.
Here is the 6-step Web Design Process that I use when design and building all my websites.
Step 1 – Project Scope and Information Architecture
The first step is usually completed over a coffee, discussing your project and understanding your goals. We map out the scope of the project (what work I will do) and also look at the key content and message you are looking to convey. The Information Architecture stage allows us to map out the main content/features of the site to understand how your audience may use it so that we ensure your key messages are always visible and actionable.
Step 2 – Initial Designs
The second stage of the process is to look at the website’s overall design. If you already have a logo/branding and good photography this is incorporated early on. Usually you’ll be shown 2 or 3 designs, which consist of an idea for the site’s homepage and also a generic content page. Time is then included to take your preferred concept and tweak it to get to a finished design.
Step 3 – Template Creation
With the overall design in place, the next stage is to convert this into HTML/CSS templates that can be viewed in a web browser. These templates help the design come to life and show how it will fit on various sized screens. Again, time is included to amend the templates with any design/functionality tweaks that may be required.
Step 4 – Technical Development
With the template complete, we move to setup the overall system that will run the site. For most of my work that means installing and setting up WordPress on your web hosting, before integrating the templates. At this stage I also look at any extra development that may be required for your site (such as contact forms or an online shop) to make the site feature complete.
Step 5 – Content Population
With the skeleton of the site in place we can drop in content and images to fill out pages. Content is usually supplied by the client, or re-used from an existing site, but I can also help out with copywriting and optimisation at this stage if required.
Step 6 – Testing and Launch!
The site is now complete with all content and functionality in place – it’s time to give it a good test using multiple devices and browers to make sure everything works as expected. When ready, we launch the site by making it publicly viewable and letting search engines know where to find it.
Next steps – Maintaining your website
Once you site is live, I keep an eye on search engine listings and make small tweaks for a few weeks after launch. However a successful website works by being constantly updated, so I can help with adding new content, updating blogs, maintaining WordPress, checking search engine placement and keeping your site in-step with social media etc as required.