Our Web Design And Development Process Steps
Do you want to hire a website designer/developer for your website design or redesign project but wondering what the web design and development processes are?
Are you familiar with the steps taken to design and develop your user-friendly and responsive lead generating website that makes you more money?
Different web design and development agencies have different steps in their website design and development process.
So, what's a web design and development process?
"A Web development process is a documented outline of the steps needed to be taken to finish in order to complete a typical web design project".
When I think of the website design process, it reminds me of the stages that the architect goes through with a client before a building is developed.
A professional architect, would not design a building for a client without knowing what the client wants. The whole process, starts with getting information from the client about the project.
Similarly, the website design and development process starts with gathering initial information about the web design project to the creation of the website.
After the website goes live, it has to be updated and maintained.
Though the exact process differs from one web development agency to another, the basic web design and development process are the same.
This article is not written in technical terms with a lot of mumbo jumbo. It is written for non-designers who are considering hiring a web design and development company to create a website for them.
Let's get started.
Website design and development process is a highly technical subject with its technical mumbo jumbo.
Having said that:
The technical verbiage is broken down for even the non-technical guy to easily understand.
Our clients are mostly non-technical and find it helpful to know the web design and development process that we follow when working on their websites.
With our web design and development process template, clients can plan and anticipate what they need to provide us in terms of content, research information and business strategy.
Moreover, it also helps them figure out in advance the resources and time they need to set aside for their web design and development project.
Further, a web design and development process serves as a backbone for our website-development estimates.
You get a robust menu of the different types of services that are required to produce a medium to a large website.
By following a detailed website design and development process, the web designer can speed up her work and help the client understand the role of the agency in the project.
Here are the main steps:
Let's dive deep in.
#1. Web Design Process - Information Gathering
The information gathering or planning stage is arguably the most important, in that what’s decided and mapped out here sets the stage for the entire project.
However, this is also the stage that requires client interaction and also attention to detail.
This information gathering is similar to the kind of information the architect gathers before designing a building.
The architect would want to know all he can about the people who would be using the building.
Just like the architect, the most important task for the web designer is to understand the business goals of the client, target audience.
And speaking of your target audience, what is their persona? You should consider their age, sex or interests – this will later help determine the best design style for your site.
Other important elements of the web design process documentation include payment terms, timelines, copyright ownership, project closure and termination clauses.
Resource Links for this phase:
Jumpchart: Client/developer collaboration tool
Dropbox: File-sharing and collaboration tool
Mindmeister: Free online mind-mapping software
#2. Web Design Process – Planning
Some web designers, call the planning stage, the design stage.
With the information gathered so far, a plan for your web site is put together.
A site map is designed.
It guides website visitors to find a piece of information they want pretty quickly.
The site map is a list of all the main topic areas of the site, as well as sub-topics, if applicable.
This serves as a guide as to what content will be on the site and is essential to developing a consistent, easy to understand navigational system.
The site map helps the client understand how usable the final product will be.
It shows the “relationship” between the different pages of a website.
This helps you see how easy it would be for the site visitor to find the required information or service starting from the home page.
Though the sitemap helps the client to understand how the inner structure of a website looks, it does not explain the user interface.
It is during the planning phase, that the web designer decides what technologies would be implemented. Whether contact Management (CMS) systems such as WordPress would be incorporated.
Contact forms if needed, will be discussed at the planning stage of the web design and development process of the website.
#3. Web Design Process - Design
The design stage involves using the information collected from the client in the planning stage and turning it into a documented site structure and, a visual representation.
For the benefit of the client, a wireframe or mock-up is created.
A wireframe is simply a visual representation of the user interface that you’re going to create.
However, it does not contain any design elements like colors, logos, etc. It just describes the elements that will be added to the page and their location.
You can use any mockup for this purpose. Photoshop makes it easy to design mock-ups for relatively easy modification.
It keeps the design elements organized in layers, and it primes you for slicing and coding when the time arrives.
After the mock-up, the customer can review the layout and send back his feedback.
When the client reviews the mock-up and doesn't like any aspects of the design, changes to the layout are made and send back to him.
This cycle is repeated until the customer is completely satisfied.
If the client is happy with the mock-up revision, the coding starts. Slice the Photoshop mock-up and write the HTML and CSS codes. Other web elements are added later.
When the design phase is completed, the website should have taken shape, except for the content and special features of the website.
Type Tester, font comparison
iPlotz, online template and, wireframing tool
Stock Exchange, free stock photos
#4. Web Design Process – Article Writing And Assembly
Content writing and compiling overlaps with other stages of website creation, and the copy is how your website makes a connection with your site visitors.
Content is the communication tool for your business.
Content writing and assembly stage is where you communicate with your target audience all you want them to learn about your products or services with calls-to-action.
Content writing involves the crafting of headlines that arrest attention, copy editing, writing new text and compiling existing text.
A professionally written copy that generates sales takes time and effort.
For most web design and development projects, the client provides the website content ready to be used on the website.
However, our agency expert copywriters research your products, brand and, market to create a strong brand voice that resonates with your customers.
The copywriting process that we use is collaborative. That means that we work with you to develop your content.
This is highly significant and important since nobody knows your business more than you and your team.
The use of collaborative software has made it easy for teams to work together on a project. That means that you can look at your page content and provide feedback.
By working together as a team on your copy, you get content that is accurate, polished and meets the needs of your brand and your users.
Image and visual asset production is an important part of web design and development process.
Most of a brand’s message is communicated through the use of stunning images and visual assets.
Using the right mix for your brand makes your website a powerful branding touchpoint.
At Anaconda Marketing, we source visual assets both from internal and external sources.
Internal sources include your existing images and product assets and external sources include premium images and designs produced or paid for by our in-house design team.
#5. Web Design Process – Web Development
The coding or development stage is the point where the website is created.
To accomplish this, the web developer takes all the graphic elements from the mock-up and creates from them a functional website.
The first step in developing a functional website is to develop the home page.
After the home page, you can create a template with the main navigational structure for all the other pages.
Since the template has been created, the developer populates the website with the appropriate content in the appropriate areas. Make sure the pages are search engine optimized.
SEO is the optimization of website elements such as title, description and keyword tags which help your web site achieve higher rankings in the search engines return pages. Many WordPress plugins improve SEO.
Website features like WordPress, interactive contact forms or eCommerce shopping carts are developed and made functional at this stage.
Develop and test interactivity and special features. While at it, you might get forms and validation up and running.
Test and verify links and functionality. Conduct a full website review. Review every page on the site to make sure that everything is working as intended.
Resource Links for this phase:
Wufoo, form generator
Adobe BrowserLab, cross-browser analysis
#6. Web Design Process – Testing, Review And, Launch
With the website full of content and functionality, it is put through thorough testing and optimization.
This helps the client see how the functional elements of the website performance, and also detect any issues before launch.
Finally, the website goes through the final testing using broken-link checkers, website health checks, spell-checker and code validators.
Valid code means that your site meets the current web development standards.
The final step? Launch.
After the website has been checked and re-checked, it’s time to upload the files to a server. An FTP (File Transfer Protocol) software is used. After the files have been uploaded, a final test is run just to make sure that all the files installed correctly.
Resource Links for this phase:
#7. Web Design Process - Design-Maintenance
The development of your website is a continuous process since information on your website would have to be updated.
At Anaconda Marketing, you get maintenance packages at a great value, based on your website updating needs.
However, with a Content Management System (CMS) like WordPress, you can update your website without any knowledge of coding.
A web site driven by a CMS gives you the ability to edit the content areas of the web site yourself.
You are given access to a back-end administrative area, where you can use an online text editor to edit content.
Others prefer to hand off the web site entirely, as they have enough tasks on-hand that are more important for them to handle directly.
Other maintenance type items include regular site backups, WordPress upgrades, additional plugin installation, etc.
Are You Ready To Design (Or Re-Design) Your Website?
Are you eager for a website design or redesign?
A professional website design and development agency works closely with you on a process similar to the one described in this article.
You must hire an agency that you trust to build a website that would skyrocket the sale of your goods or services.
The web design and development process steps described in this article are for a perfect world.
Things do go wrong.
However, if you are in the market for a new or updated website, please contact us.