Our 7 Step Approach to Web Design
One of the first things clients ask us is “How are you going to do it?” As in, how are you going to build our website? Each design firm has (should have) their own web design process.
The process may seem similar from firm to firm, but it’s about what’s behind each phase that matters. Over many years, we have tweaked and re-tweaked our approach. We have refined a system that gets results.
Here’s how we work:
1. Consulting/Scope Phase
First things first, much goes into a web project even before we agree to work with one another. We ask you important items including your:
- goals for the project
- target audiences
- project size
- in house staff resources (designers, developers, content creators)
- past experiences
- what you are most worried about
Asking many questions up front reduces surprises and ensures we are a good match for your project. If together we decide we are a good fit, we determine the best way to build and/or host your site and sign a contract.
2. Discovery Phase
Once we have a contract in place, we enter into the Discovery Phase. The discovery phase is about three things: research, communication, and understanding. These are essential to successful web design projects.
We want to know your business inside and out. Detailed questions will arise related to:
- business and project goals and constraints
- details about your target audiences
- hopes for future audiences
- current site problems (if applicable)
- project organization
Some of our clients are businesses creating new websites. It helps us to know their biggest concerns. We talk about how to build a site that addresses those concerns.
If we are both designing and developing, we ask about your aesthetic preferences. We’ll also consider the sites of your competitors.
We’ve come to rely upon a combination of research and our intuition. Once we feel, yes feel, like we have a solid understanding of who you are and where you need to go, we move to the next phase.
3. Design Phase (if we are hired for design, we often do development only)
We’ve talked about your new website, goals, desires, needs and audiences. Now we start designing.
We keep this process efficient and transparent by sharing sketches and concepts.
Generally, we come up with 2-3 working directions and then share and refine from there. We may share wireframes with you and/or Photoshop files, depending on the size of the project.
Once you are totally satisfied with the design of the first page we’ve been building, we ask you to sign off on that design. We then we move on to designing each of the other distinct pages of the site.
Nothing is coded in the design phase–these designs have no web functionality yet.
4. Development Phase
Upon completion of each distinct page design, we move into the Development Phase of the project where the designs are translated into code by our development team. The time this takes depends on the scope of the project. But rest assured, you are never wondering the status of your project. Our projects managers and developers keep you in the loop and are there to answer questions.
5. QA & Change Management Phase
Once our developers are near completion, we perform a quality assurance (QA) review. Well, two actually. We test twice for bugs and glitches on a variety of different browsers, devices and platforms. After the site has passed our internal QA, we’ll share it with you for your own testing, training and for the addition of site content.
6. Deployment Phase
In the Deployment Phase, the site is migrated to the server on which it will be living and then made live.
7. Management and Growth Phase
This is an important–and often overlooked–phase. A successful website is like a living, breathing organism. Websites that work well convey a sense of timeliness and growth.
We can help you develop a plan to keep your website current based on your specific needs. This can involve monthly or quarterly updates as well as ecommerce optimization for online retailers. We can also connect you with partners for marketing and SEO assistance.
Please contact us if you think we might be a good match for your web design project.