Website Design and Development Process
Our design and development process starts by gaining a full understanding of you the client including your company or organisation and your industry. We do this by capturing your requirements carefully whilst taking into account your overall project, audience, goals and your budget in certain circumstances, before starting any work on your project; and by consulting with you if required at key stages throughout the lifecycle of your project. Indeed, your full participation and input should not only ensure that you get the best results for your project but also that you get the finished product you intended. We follow a simple yet effective planning strategy to ensure that your project stays on track:
- Client Survey
- Define Goals and underlying Objectives
- Create a Project Plan
- Design / Development and Wire Frame or Prototype
- Build and Test
- Website Launch
- Evaluate and Maintain
We capture your initial requirements using our simple client survey. This will solicit information regarding your overall audience, goals, technology and more including what you want in terms of sections, pages, functionality, colours and so on. In some situations the client survey is our only source of gathering initial information and is essential to the design and development process to ensure that we address your requirements thoroughly.
Our client survey covers the following topics:
- Company or Organisation
- Client or Customer
- Strategy / Marketing / Branding
- Current Site
- Products and Services
Understanding your audience is essential to a positive website experience for your clients and customers. The content and design should be focused and the functionality should support the needs of its audience. We will gather general demographics about your primary and secondary audience to determine the best structure for your website. The more information we can gather from you and your industry the better prepared we would be able to build a website that will meet your customer’s needs.
Define Goals and Underlying Objectives
The most important aspect of every project is its core goals and objectives. These goals and underlying objectives helps us achieve your required goals, for example, if it meets your customer’s needs and if it reinforces your brand and marketing message.
You may have one or more goals and underlying objectives for your website project such as “Increasing traffic” or to “Create a stronger brand identity online” or perhaps you wish to “Increase your online sales revenue”. It is important to determine the primary goal of the site and make sure that it is continuously represented and followed throughout the website, followed by your secondary goals and objectives.
Create a Project Plan
The project plan is the guideline and overview for the project scope. This can vary from a simple overview of methodology, budget and schedule to an extensive document (sometimes called a scope document or a project charter).
The project plan contains enough information and detail to accurately describe the project to you and your team as well as our web design / development team. This plan outlines the project phases, the schedule, budget and deliverables. We ensure that you are kept informed at all times and have you approve and sign off on this deliverable (along with all other important papers and milestone documents).
Once the project starts, any changes to this document will result in an additional charge or project delay to avoid this we take great care to define and outline production needs in a careful manner.
Design / Development and Wire Frame / Prototype
Once the initial planning phases are completed we move forward and begin working on your new websites design and functionality based on the material and goals gathered in the previous steps.
For most website builds, we often create an image prototype or “mock up” or “wire frame” of what your finished home page and or sub-page could look like. This is where it is easiest to make changes if necessary in the design or add/remove functionality.
We also focus our attention on key web design and usability issues, issues like:
- Page Layout
- Ease of Navigation
- Site Flow
- Site Usability / Accessibility
These issues keep your customers returning to your website by giving them a positive web site experience. This is where it is also easiest to make changes if necessary in the design or add/remove functionality. After your review and approval, this design will represent the finished product.
Build and Test
At this phase, your website should now look pretty much as envisaged with firm guidelines having been established for the rest of the website. Full digital media development and 3rd party application integration are developed during this phase. These applications are the main building blocks of your website and great care is taken here to ensure that they are compliant with your sites goals and objectives and meet the design prototype or wire frame specifications. During this phase we continuously test and “dry run” your website against all of the major internet browsers and monitor resolutions and correct development or design issues if any.
This phase is about launching your site and what you need to think about before, during and after the site goes live. Are all your marketing efforts in place? Is your textual content exactly the way you want it? We plan ahead and schedule time to prioritize any post-launch fixes necessary to ensure quality and usability. We publish the finished files to your chosen Internet website space or host computer, thus making the website live and accessible by your target audience.
Evaluate and Maintain
At the beginning of the project, specific goals and objectives for the website were defined. Now that the project is completed and the site is live, it is time to take a step back and review the project as a whole and ensure that it not only meets your goals and objectives but continues to do so through maintenance and updates. It is during this phase that we recommend a monthly maintenance plan if you haven’t already chosen one to ensure that your new website continues to look fresh and continues to run smoothly.