STEP 1: DISCOVERY
Our first step in planning a creative, productive website is the collection and organization of information to be used later during the actual design and programming phases. We work closely with our clients to learn more about who they are and what makes their business unique, whether it’s a site redesign or a brand new project.
Some questions we’ll ask are:
— What are the overall goals for your website?
— Who is your target audience?
— What do you want your website visitors to take away with them?
— What is your ideal time frame for this project to be completed?
— Do you have any websites that you’d like us to look at for design or functionality references?
— Do you have a marketing strategy for promoting your website after it is online?
After we’ve gotten to know you and your business a little better, we’ll work out details of a project that fits your personality and business profile as well as your budget.
STEP 2: COLORS, NAVIGATION AND DESIGN
The next step in our website development process is the design and architecture phase. During this step, ideas are converted into initial pages designs. This step focuses mainly on color theory, graphic design, and mapping out the navigation flow. Our goal is to create an environment for the user to move around in easily, allowing them to intuitively find the information they are looking for (and just as important, to quickly find the featured information that you’d like them to discover).
From these design sessions come static graphics that can be viewed on screen by the client. Based on your feedback, we’ll revise these images and present them again if necessary. Once we’ve agreed on the functional architecture and design for the site’s pages, the process is taken to the programming stage.
STEP 3: PRODUCTION OF FUNCTION
During production, the page designs are programmed into a fully functional website. With our technical knowledge, the ideas and models considered in the previous phases are transformed into coded web pages that test those ideas. We support the forward-thinking goals of the W3C, and work hard to make sure our code adheres to the latest programming standards.
STEP 4: WEBSITE REFINEMENT
Refinement is the final inspection of the website before it is launched and begins an online existence. We’ll double-check all of our programming and all of the visual aspects of the site, then publish this version in a private area for the client to “test drive”.
Next, we’ll test the site visually and functionally on both PC and Mac platform computers, using dozens of combinations of different screen resolutions and a majority of the many (newer and older) web browsers that are in use today. Ultimately, we want to insure that all users have a similar experience when visiting your site no matter how they access it on the web: desktop or laptop, PC or Mac, slightly outdated or latest and greatest. In many cases, targeting users viewing on tablets, mobile devices and smartphones is also a priority, and we can program a responsive design (one that seamlessly adapts in size to different screen dimensions) that is optimized for all different viewing environments.
STEP 5: COMPLETION
When everyone is absolutely satisfied and excited about the completed website, it’s time to launch! We’ll upload the website files to your hosting company’s server and make sure the transition to the web goes smoothly.
Keep in mind that the primary publishing of the website does not guarantee that flocks of potential users will swarm to see it. We’ll make sure that your website is coded to be easily crawled and integrated into search engine results, but the site should still be pitched to the target audience through placed online advertising, quality link partnerships, social media websites and online directory submission, among the many other more traditional marketing methods.
The days of “if you build it, they will come” are definitely long gone, but that doesn’t mean your website can’t be found – all it takes is some intelligent planning, setting realistic timeline and performance goals, and making the most of the current marketing tools available.
Finally, after all of the planning, designing, programming and testing, it’s time to break open the champagne and celebrate a job well done!