Competitiveness in any field asks for an efficient process that is also well planned and can web design be an exception to it. No, web designers are visual communicators too and believe that to succeed on the online front we need to go ahead of the generally used criteria like the code, complex algorithms and systems.
Having a stable process for designing will help convey the purpose of having the website and eventually will enable it to realise the goal. This can be anything like luring the viewer to purchasing the product or assisting them to understand an issue or topic.
Web designing job has to be done with following a meticulous process and is most of the time repetitive in nature no doubt. But most of the people may not understand what a high quality and effectual process is.
If you were a web designer that wished to go to the nitty-gritty of your craft or simplify the tedious process then go through the following 6 vital steps discussed to explain what a good web design process is. Following each step will help you pull off the best results in the projects you do in the future.
Prior to the start of the designing, a strategy needs to be outlined to include every facet of the project. It is from the goal of the organisation to the competition in the market. For a website to be good it has to be built on a sound foundation and an outstanding design is created from a well-developed and lucid strategy.
You need to consider the following factors to craft a clear strategy.
- Goal – the reason for having a website or to redesign one is
i. To have a competitive edge in the market via portraying your USP
ii. For branding
iii. To uphold a good ranking in the search engine
iv. Increase leads and sales
v. Augment responsiveness of website
- Brand message-the significant messages that draw and prompt the customers to connect with your brand that your website can help accomplish.
- Buyer design and persona- representing desires, goals and buying preferences of your target audience is what is a buyer persona. Conversely, the way your website represents your brand and makes a lasting impression on the customers is the design persona.
- Competition- it will be good to recognise the websites of the top ranking competitors and weigh up their weak and strong points.
In phase I, you have gathered the information about your website now the task is to put them together and make a plan for your website. It is here the stage for the entire project has to be set with deciding and mapping out things. It needs a two-way communication with your customers to make sure that all the details fit as per their requirements and tastes.
- Requirement analysis- here you need to analyse the information gathered in the first phase.
- Project charter- all the information you and the customer have gathered during the requirement analysis is summed up here. This will serve as the point of reference all through the project.
- Sitemap- it is a list of topics and subtopics of the projects making navigation easy and assist the viewer to find information fast on the website.
- Project contract- technology used, the process, copyright ownership, project timeline and payment terms are enlisted.
- Accessibility- ensure to get and validate info such as FTP login, control panel login details, database configuration, languages used and framework installed on the website.
- Resource requirement- need to decide if the hiring of subcontractors is required and also the need to buy any other technologies you deem fit the project may need. This should be included in the budget of the project and then passed on to the customer for consideration.
- Here what is outlined in phase II will take shape. The feel and look of the website is developed as per the customer’s aspirations and what they want their audience to experience on their website. This is done via a pedantic pick of design elements and several other key aspects.
- Wireframe and design elements planning – the visual layout is created for the website depending on the information collected from the customer during the phase II. These elements need to be included in the design making.
i. Color scheme
iv. Visual elements
vi. Rich media
vii. User experience
viii. Cross drive compatibility
- Mockup presentation- initial mockups are created and developed using a paper and pen or a graphics editor like Photoshop or using a front-end framework. From the requirement analysis done in phase II, the mockup should follow on. It is important to have a mockup as it will be easy to modify and progress. Once it has been approved you get prepared to move on to the next stage.
- Assessment and approval cycle- the customer will have to review the mockup and ask for any modification and then finally give approval on the satisfaction of the overall feel and look. Taking valid feedback and overcoming objections will help you as a designer to move forward on the project in the proper direction.
- HTML/CSS coding- once the customer and you have agreed on the mockups you will be free to move to the next stage. This is the stage where you will develop the design using the HTML and CSS code as the base of the website.
The creative ideas of a designer come to reality in this phase. The graphics and mockups of phase III will be woven together through extreme programming and functional website will be created.
It is always good to ensure that the details are that are compiled in phase II are referred to at the right time so that no confusion is created over its supposed functions.
- Framework - you need to pick and implement a development framework – Ruby or Rails, ASP/PHP or a content management system like WordPress.
- Database - for the website content a database structure needs to be developed.
- Page template - for the different pages of the website like home, about, services, blog, contact, etc. templates need to be coded.
- Features and interactions - for the special features of the website functionalities need to be developed.
- Content - from the writer the content needs to be inserted into the intended pages.
- Links and functionality testing- make sure all the pages that are created function properly.
- Security - need to apply security features to the website.
- Mark up - the required elements for the social media and SEO purposes need to be implemented.
It is here that you make the final touches of the website prior to transferring it to the customer’s server and it is ready for viewing by the public. The next step will be to hand over the documented style guide, site structure, and all other deliverables to the customer.
- Refining- need to identify the parts of the website that can be further improved.
- Transfer to live server- for public viewing and accessing it needs to be transferred to a live server
- Dry run- a final diagnosis of the website has to be done. Different tools like code ventilator, broken link checker, browser/device testing, and spelling and so on can be used for this purpose.
- Documentation and training- a soft copy of the sitemap, details of the framework, and the languages used all need to be documented and provided to the customer/end user. Along with that training also is given on how the content can be edited.
Periodic maintenance is needed for all websites. This is because web design world keeps changing that too rapidly. They may need to be revamped to make sure that they perform at an optimum level and are still in line with the current trends within the field.
Following actions and updates are involved in this phase.
- Resolving technical issues
- Optimising website through A/B testing
- Updating the overall design of the website
- Updating and implementing new features
- Updating and loading new content
From these steps, you can know that web designing involves so much effort and takes a lot of time to accomplish it. However the arduous process can create websites that your customers and you will be really proud of.
For more useful tips take a look at the info-graphic below created by Newt Labs.
(Click to enlarge infographic)
Article created by: DCP Web Developers London