There are many steps in the website design and development process. From gathering initial information, to the creation of a web site, and finally to maintenance to keep a web site up to date and current. Below, you will find a high-level overview of the phases of my web design process.
Phase One: Gathering Information
The first step in designing a successful web site is to gather information. Many things need to be taken into consideration when I design the look and feel of your site, so I first ask a lot of questions to help understand your business and the needs of your site. I do this using an online questionnaire.
Certain things to consider are:
What is the purpose of the site? Do you want to give information, promote a service, sell a product… ?
What do you hope to carry out by building this website? Two of the more common goals are either to make money or share information.
- Target Audience
Is there a specific group of people who will help you reach your goals? It is helpful to picture the “ideal” person you want to visit your website. Consider their age, sex or interests – this will help us decide the best design style for your site.
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…?
Phase Two: Planning
Using the information gathered from phase one, I put together a plan for your web site.
Here I develop a site map – a list of all main topic areas of the site, as well as sub-topics (if applicable). This gives us a guide for the content that will be on the site, and is essential to developing a consistent, easy to understand navigational system. This is also the point where I decide what technologies will be implemented – interactive forms, CMS (content management system) such as WordPress, etc.
Phase Three: Design
Drawing from the information gathered up to this point, I decide the look and feel of the site. Target audience is one of the key factors taken into consideration here. A site aimed at teenagers, for example, will look much different than one meant for a financial institution. I also incorporate elements such as the company logo or colors to help strengthen the identity of your company on the web site.
Once I’ve designed a prototype, you are given access to a live version of your site hosted on my servers. The prototype allows you to view your project throughout the design and development stages. Most importantly, it gives you the opportunity to express your likes and dislikes on the site design.
In this phase, communication is crucial to ensure that the final web site will match your needs and taste. I work together in this way, exchanging ideas, until I arrive at the final design for the site. Then development can begin…
Phase Four: Development
This is where the web site itself is created. I take all the individual graphic elements from the prototype and use them to create the functional web site. I also take your content and distribute it throughout the site, in the appropriate areas.
This entire time, you will continue to be able to view your site online, and suggest any additional changes or corrections you would like to have done.
Phase Five: Testing and Delivery
At this point, I attend to the final details and test your web site. I test things such as the complete functionality of forms or other scripts, I test for last minute compatibility issues (viewing differences between different web browsers), ensuring that the site is optimized to be viewed properly in the most recent browser versions.
Once I receive your final approval, it is time to deliver the site. I upload the files to your server – in most cases, this also involves installing and configuring a content management system like WordPress, along with a core set of essential plugins to help enhance the site. Here I quickly test again to make sure that all files have been uploaded correctly, and that the site continues to be fully functional. This marks the official launch of your site, as it is now viewable to the public.
Phase Six: Maintenance
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. If this interests you, 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 site.