The discovery phase is all about information-gathering. This step is important in helping me learn more about your business, industry, target market, customers, and project goals. A lot of this stuff will be covered right off the bat, in the initial consultation.
Planning is a critical part of launching a new website – it helps clarify objectives for your site and guide its design. Sitemaps and wireframes will be drawn up for you.
First, the sitemap. A sitemap ensures we’ve considered all the key pages in the site, and shows their relationship to each other. It also defines how the site’s overall navigation should be structured.
Next comes the wireframe. A wireframe is created with basic web page elements and provides a view of the content that will appear on each page. The wireframe is simply the blueprint for the website.
Now begins the styling, which begins with a style tile. This shows the website’s colors and fonts.
Then begins the prototyping of how the site will actually look. The prototypes will be created in Photoshop, and each will be a flat image – just like a photo. It will look like a finished website, but because it’s not, changes can easily be made without having to worry about recoding. Whew!
During development, the website’s design is translated into code that makes the website work. This stage is typically the most lengthy. I check in with clients every couple of weeks to keep them informed on the status of the project.
Now, all of your pages are defined so it’s time to make sure it all works. Your website will be tested on variety of browsers (Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer) and devices (laptops, tablets, mobile) to identify everything from user experience issues to broken links.
The big day – it’s time to plan and execute the launch! This should include planning both launch timing and communication strategies (i.e., when will you launch and how will you let the world know?)
Maintenance is an ongoing step and it involves updating content, fixing broken links, updating plug-ins, and so much more. Technology is constantly changing so it’s important that website’s are checked out on a weekly basis. You’ll want your site to stay on top of updates, and your designer to stay on top of your website. Signing up for a website maintenance package will be the best investment for the peace of mind of knowing your site is secure.
While definitely thorough, the web design is never boring. You will always know what’s happening with your project. In addition to receiving a sitemap, wireframes, a style tile, prototypes, and screenshots, you’ll also have plenty of opportunities to give your feedback on what’s happening.
So that’s my web design process in its entirety. This concludes our tour of the wonderful world of web design! 🙂