Website Design Process
The Web design process is not unlike other communication processes. If you are familiar with developing a creative brief, a public relations plan, a communication plan or a new product, the phases will look very familiar. There are numerous steps in the web site design and development process that I will explain in detail to help you understand the website design process better.
The exact process will vary slightly from designer to designer, but the basics are the same.
- Information Gathering
- Testing and Delivery
Step One : Information Gathering
The first step in designing a successful web site is to gather information. There are many things need to be taken into consideration before the look and feel of your site is created.
This first step is actually the most important one, because it involves a solid understanding of the company it is created for. It involves a good understanding what your business goals and dreams are, and how the web can be used to help you achieve those goals.
Certain things to consider are:
- Purpose: What is the purpose of the site? Do you want to provide information, promote a service, or sell a product?
- Goals: What do you hope to accomplish by building this web site? Two of the most common goals are to make money or share information.
- Target Audience: Is there a specific group of people that will help you reach your goals? It is helpful to picture the “ideal” person you want to visit your web site. Consider their age, sex or interests – this will later help determine the best design style for your site.
- Content: What kind of information will the target audience be looking for on your site? Are they looking for specific information, a particular product or service, online ordering…?
Step Two: Planning
Using the information gathered from step one, it is now time to put together a plan for your web site. This is the point where a site map is developed.
The site map is a list of all main topic areas of the site, as well as sub-topics. This serves as a guide as to what content will be on the site, and is essential to developing a consistent, easy to understand navigational system. The customer you are trying to attract to your web site must be kept in mind when designing your site. They are the people who will be learning about your service or buying your product. A good user interface creates an easy to navigate web site and is the basis for this.
During the planning phase, I will also help you decide what technologies should be implemented. Elements such as what CMS (content management system), SEO (search engine optimization), will any contact forms be needed, are discussed when planning your web site.
Step Three: Design
Drawing from the information gathered up to this point, it’s time to determine the look and feel of your site.
Target audience is one of the key factors taken into consideration. As part of the design phase, it is also important to incorporate elements such as the company logo or colors to help strengthen the identity of your company on the web site.
I will create one or more prototype designs for your web site. This is nd you an email with the mock-ups for your web site or schedule a meeting with you to view your web site work itypically a .jpg image of what the final design will look like. I will be sen progress.
Either way, you will be able to view your project throughout the design and development stages. The most important reason for this is that it gives you the opportunity to express your likes and dislikes on the site design.
In this phase, communication between both you and me as your designer is crucial to ensure that the final web site will match your needs and taste. It is important that you work closely with me exchanging ideas, until you arrive at the final design for your web site.
Now the development can begin.
Step Four: Development
With designs approved, it’s time to create the design of the pages, develop new content and refine old content, create videos, slideshows, podcasts and other media that will appear on the site as well as start to build out the HTML and CSS of the site.
The development stage is the point where the web site itself is created. At this time, I will take all of the individual graphic elements from the prototype and use them to create the actual, functional site.
This is typically done by first developing the home page, followed by a “shell” for the interior pages. The shell serves as a template for the content pages of your site, as it contains the main navigational structure for the web site. Once the shell has been created, I will take your content and distribute it throughout the site, in the appropriate areas.
Elements such as the CMS (content management system) like, interactive contact forms, or ecommerce shopping carts are implemented and made functional during this phase, as well.
This entire time, I will make your in-progress web site available to you for viewing, so that you can suggest any additional changes or corrections you would like to have done.
This is tested in the next phase…
Stage Five: Testing and Delivery
At this point, I will attend to the final details and test your web site. I will test things such as the complete functionality of forms or other scripts, as well last testing for last minute compatibility issues (viewing differences between different web browsers), ensuring that your web site is optimized to be viewed properly in the most recent browser versions.
Your site will be reviewed on multiple browsers (Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer ) and multiple devices (laptops, tablets, and mobile) to see if and where breaks occur.
Once you give me the final approval, it is time to deliver the site. An FTP (File Transfer Protocol) program is used to upload the web site files to your server. Some web designers offer domain name registration and web hosting services as well, or have recommendations as to where you can host your site. Once these accounts have been setup, and your web site uploaded to the server, the site should be put through one last run-through. This is just precautionary, to confirm that all files have been uploaded correctly, and that the site continues to be fully functional.
Other final details include plugin installation (for WordPress or other CMS driven web sites and SEO (Search Engine Optimization). SEO is the optimization of your web site with elements such as title, description and keyword tags which help your web site achieve higher rankings in the search engines. This marks the official launch of your site, as it is now ready be viewed by the public.
Stage Six: Maintenance
Websites are living, breathing entities and need constant care and maintenance. Updating content, making changes to the back end and fixing broken links are all in a day’s work. All of these phases are critical to the Web design process.
The development of your web site is not necessarily over, though. One way to bring repeat visitors to your site is to offer new content or products on a regular basis. I will be more than happy to continue working together with you, to update the information on your web site. I offer maintenance packages at reduced rates, based on how often you anticipate making changes or additions to your web site.
As your web site designer I will work as hard as I can to establish a good working relationship with you to make your web site affordable, successful and help your business grow.
For a free quote or questions about the website design process or my services, please call me at (713) 962-1157 or
fill out contact form below and I will get back with you as soon as possible. Have a great day!