Potential client in search of web designers for their websites or blog may be quite new to understanding the basic concept of web design processes. Educating your prospective clients on various phases of the web development process is a great avenue to demonstrate your competence, credibility, expertise, and authority in providing websites that will get you your desired results.
There are many phases associated with web design and development processes. It ranges from gathering initial information to creating a credible website and then to the maintenance in order to keep your site updated with current contents. However, it should be noted that the design processes of a website will vary significantly from a designer to another, but the basics are similar.
As web designers, whenever a website is mentioned, you’ll often think about the web in relation to wireframes, code and content management systems. But designers who are savvy in the website development world are aware that codes, attractive graphics designs, and social media integrations aren’t the determinants for the success of a website.
When it comes to designing a website, it requires a well-comprehensive and well-thought-out online strategies that are specifically focused on achieving the goal of that particular organization. These goals may range from attracting visitors and prospects to purchasing products and services or getting the attention of the public to understand specific issues and even creating awareness and introducing each of the visitors to a new brand.
As a designer or project leader who perfectly understands the basics of developing an online strategy, you’ll incredibly rise to the status of the most valuable and influential member of the web design team. Looking through the latest development in the technology world, there are countless number of people who understand the concepts of writing codes, and as well the designs and nuances of developing a website, but the talents and tools required to create a website that will serve the right purpose of achieving the goals of a particular organization are very minute.
In this article, we’ll be discussing the phases and steps of website design processes. Rather than focusing on HTML, CSS or other elements of programming, we will shift our concerns on the key strategies, contents, and elements of designs that are associated with the concepts of web design process and development. Sit back and read on
Phases of Website Design Process
Unlike other methods of communication, the web design process is somewhat different. Quality web design is far more than just building a website. It is characterized by having a strategic and step-by-step web design process that showcases all the skills and works involved in developing a successful online presence for your businesses. If you are a bit versed with creating a brief, public relation plans, communication plans or new projects, the phases you’ll find in this article will have significant similarities with your existing knowledge.
Phase One: Information Gathering or Discovery
Ultimately, the pre-requisite of every web design process is gathering or discovering information. Whenever you look and think of creating a website, numerous things should be put into adequate consideration.
Gathering information as the first phase of the web design process Is undeniably the most essential part as it involves a solid grasp of the purpose of the website creation. It involves the well thought out understanding of you, your business goals, your dreams, your aspirations and how the web can be utilized to achieve your set-out goals.
In order to successfully gather information, it is highly essential that you start off by providing responses to a lot of question. This will help you better understand your business as well as your needs in a website. Here are a few of the most crucial things to consider:
What is your purpose of the website? Do you want a site that will focus on providing information, promoting products and services? And so forth like that.
What do you hope to achieve by creating and building this website? Do you want to disseminate current and updated information? Do you want to make money? And so on like that.
Do you have a specific group of people that can help you achieve your set-out goals? However, at this point, you should be able to picture the sets of people you feel would be prompted to visit our website. Think about the ages, gender, and interest of your prospective target audiences. This will, in turn, assist you in determining the best style and design for your website.
What are the categories of information that target audiences will be able to see on your website? Will you be providing specific contents on your site? Are your target audiences looking for specific products or services? And many more like that.
With the few questions you have found about, it would seem more or less like you are engaged in a consultation with a potential client.
Phase Two: Planning
Just like the pre-requisite phase of the web design process, the planning stage as a web design process is also a critical part of launching a website. As designers, you’ll find it easy to jump right into the design steps, since it symbolizes the most creative part of the overall design process. But, ultimately, research and planning phases of web design will help you clarify as well as analyze your objectives and even guide you through other stages of website design and development process. So, spend quality time while in your planning phase.
With the information gathered from the discovery phase, it is a high time to put all together a dynamic plan for your website. This is a point where you develop a site map.
The site map represents the list of all the topic areas of the site. It also involves the subtopics if applicable. This will, in turn, be used as a guide in determining the kinds of contents that will be showcased on the website. The development of the site map is highly essential as it involves developing a consistent, and easy to understand navigational system.
When designing your website, you must ensure that the end users i.e. your customers are kept in mind. This is because they are the people that will be utilizing your website either for a purchase of products or services or even visiting for the purpose of gathering quality contents. A good user interface will create a website that will be easy to navigate for the prospective end users.
During your planning phase, your web designers will put you through on the latest trends in technology that should be implemented. These elements include incorporating Content Management Systems (CMS) such as WordPress or if any contact form would be needed and so forth. Ensure that you discuss all these with your web designer.
Phase Three: Design
If you have been following closely with the information gathered up to this point, you would know that the next phase of the web design process after planning is the designing. It is a stage that determines the look and feel of your website.
One of the key factors that should be taken into proper consideration is your target audiences. For instance, if your site is aimed at teenagers as the target audience, it would seem more like it is meant for a financial institution. As a stage in the web design process, it is essential to incorporate certain elements such as the company’s color or logo in order to help you in strengthening and promoting the image and identity of your company on your website.
In this stage, your web designer will take it up to create one or more prototype designs for your website. Typically, this implies a .jpg images that will give you an insight about what the final design will look like. Often times, you’ll receive several emails with mockups while other web designers will take a step further by providing you with access to a secure area on your website that is specifically designed for customers. With this, you’ll be able to peep into work in progress.
Whichever way, your web designer should provide you with access to view every stage of design and development of your website. This is highly essential as you are granted the opportunity to express your likes and dislikes as the project progresses.
In this phase, you must ensure that you create an avenue that will foster a smooth communication between you and your web designer. This will assure you that the final website design will be in-line with your requirements and tastes. So, work closely with your web designers, seek opinions, and exchange ideas until you arrive at your dream website.
Phase Four: Development
The development phase in the web design process indicates a point where the website itself is created. In this stage, your website designer will convert the individual graphics elements from the prototype and utilize them in creating the real, actual and functional site.
Typically, this is done by developing the home page and then proceeding further to establish a kind of shell for other interior pages. This shell will serve the role of a template for all other contents on your site. This is because it contains the primary navigational structure for your website. Once the shell is created, the website designer will take a step further afar by distributing all other content throughout the site appropriately.
During this phase, elements such as Content Management Systems (CMS) such as interactive contact forms, e-commerce shopping carts, WordPress and many more are implemented and made functional. Technically, a successful website requires an understanding of the basic concept of front-end web development. This consists of writing HTML, and CSS and perfectly conforms with current web standards. This will also maximize the functionality and improve the accessibility for a broader audience.
Phase Five: Site Testing
Prior to launching a website, it will be primarily placed on a production server where internal editors and only who have the links can access it. Testing is inevitably one of the crucial stages of web design and development. It is an avenue to discover, detect and address issues before the site finally goes live. There is no doubt that brands can be eroded by the improper functioning of their website, misspellings or broke design elements. At this stage, the site requires access and review on multiple varieties of browsers such as Firefox, Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer and even various devices such as Tablets, Mobile Phones, and laptops. This will enable your website designers to detect where the error lies easily.
Phase Six: Launch
Finally, here is the bid day. You have tested the site, you have reviewed and corrected all errors, and most of all, you are ready to launch. However, the whole web design process isn’t over once the site is launched. After the launching of the website, you should be fully prepared to address feedbacks from prospective users as they continue to adapt to the new website. Be fully prepared to make immediate changes and adjustment to the site such as editing copy, fixing broken links and making other technical corrections.
Phase Seven: Site Maintenance
Websites are incredible entities that lives and breathes on a daily basis, and they require consistent care and maintenance. The maintenance ranges from updating contents, fixing issues with broken links, and making appropriate changes to the backends. You’ll do all these on a daily basis because you may encounter issues at any point in time.
There you have it! Perhaps the phases associated with web design processes. However, your website designer should endeavor to work hand-in-hand with you on the above-discussed processes. It is said that a good working relationship incorporated with adequate communication will ensure the creation of a successful website that will address and promote your business growth. By following closely with the steps outlined above, your web design process will go more smoothly.