Web Design Process – the basics

Some of my clients have pursued a new web design before working with me, others have not. So in the interest of helping my newer clients informed on the logistics of what to expect, I decided to write up a quick article on the subject.

Current State Audit

Much like other projects, we need to talk about who you are, what you do, and how you do it. This is a great opportunity to take a moment and reflect on that services and products that you offer, and how you have gone about marketing them. Who your audience is is an incredibly important element to have in this dialogue. If you no longer want to be offering a public facing product or service, then this is a good time to make that happen.

If you have a site already, then we’ll review what information you have on the site. We’ll talk about what’s working, what isn’t and what you’d like to see different. If you have analytics of some kind, you can really SEE what information your audiences are responding to. Usability is a another big must to talk about. Perhaps your old site wasn’t responsive, didn’t even work on phones & showed a lot of dropped links, then we need to know that so that when we go to create a new site, we can make sure that its addressed.

In either case of a previous site or not,  we have to talk about the content you need on the site. Perhaps you’re a blogger, or a videographer and need your site to publish those kinds of content easily. Perhaps you have an online store that is cumbersome and hard to use, we’ll need to talk about that as well. For the purposes of SEO, I like to review my clients’ information to see if the big “keywords” for their industry are used enough in the content they deliver to me, and if not, I’ll make that recommendation. If the thought of coming up with the content for your site is overwhelming or you just don’t have the time, then I have some great copywriters at my disposal to help make that happen, as painlessly as possible.

Design Drafts

Once we’ve established what we need the site to do, what audiences we want to respond it, and the kind of content that we need it to deliver then we’ll start on the design. I draft up 2-3 concepts to share and then we refine them based on your likes and dislikes from that point. If it’s a site with a lot of different potential page layouts, then either we’ll also do rounds illustrating what these pages will look like, or we’ll do style tiles so we know what other kinds of content will look like.

Prototype & Content Drop In

When the design has been signed off on, literally, then I’ll start development. Major changes to the design can be quite costly to change once development has begun. First a draft of a page is developed and delivered to the client to review in a live browser with live functionality of animated elements, etc. When we get the green light on that, then the remainder of the site is created and offered to the client for review. It’s normal to have a few small changes here and there and changes to content as well, so I try to allocate enough time to make sure all the little stuff can be addressed.

Site Goes Live

We make the site live! This is always the exciting part as weeks of work come to a close and a real live product is created. If there is training necessary so clients know how to make edits to content or ask any remaining questions we’ll make that happen.

It’s a really fun kind of project, and I always love helping clients make their web presences a reality that they are proud to share with their market.