The thought of implementing a website, whether it is replacing an existing one, or a whole new one from scratch, is more often than not a daunting task for many business owners/managers. I have traveled that path many times, both in a professional setting and as a consultant. It is much like the construction of a building. You will go through many steps in the process. These steps include commissioning the new site, design and layout, laying the foundation, constructing the framework and adding features, doing a final walk-through, and ultimately moving in.
You can think of me as your tour guide. I will guide you and show you the parts that you don’t want to miss or overlook. My goal is to make the whole experience a pleasure, cost effective, and memorable.
The Web Design Process
With any new construction, an investigation is done – usually into various builders, and if necessary, subcontractors to handle the individual tasks that go into the process. In this case, I will be the builder and the subcontractor(s) since I typically do most of that myself. There may be a bidding war among builders, along with reviews of the builders. You make your final decision based on those basic principles.
Then you do paperwork. Contracts. Things like that.
Design & Layout
Before you start building, you will pick a design/layout of your new place. Usually ground plans are drawn up by an architect, and you may customize it to choose where you really want your door to your garage. With a website, we are presenting information, and you typically want to do that in the most efficient, logical, and usable manner possible. This process of organizing the presentation is called Information Architecture. A variety of methods are used here, and one of those practices will involve the creation of your navigation system, that is – the way a user finds their way around your site.
Laying the Foundation
Once this is all done on paper, the actual work and development can begin. Depending on your decided-upon solution, your site will begin to be laid out. The foundation, will lay the basic groundwork of your site. Templates may be decided upon, and general look and feel may be developed here too. Along these steps, you may be picking your paint colors, your trim details, and other things that did not incur an added cost at the time of order. You will typically have a set amount of time to change these without incurring additional costs, much like the construction of a new home.
Framework and Features
Now that the foundation has been set – we can start building the framework – that is the skeleton – of the site. This is where it will start to take shape. Colors defined in styleguides will start to appear, and other features you may have requested will start to be assembled and implemented. Such features can include, but are not limited to:
- News Feeds
- Other basic CMS features
- User login/authentication systems
- Shopping Carts
- Payment/Checkout processes
- And many more.
That’s it! The site is pretty much done. Now is your chance to walk through the new construction – and look for any nail pops such as fonts that are out of place, colors that do not line up, font sizes, or other general things that just rub you the wrong way. Don’t worry! It happens to everyone, seldom is a site perfect the first time around. You may then deliver me a list of issues that need to be addressed, they will be fixed, and then another followup walkthrough will be done. Wash, rinse, and repeat until the list is empty.
Move in day
Awesome! Your new place is done! Time to move in!
Your furniture, pictures, televisions, appliances, and everything else is moved in to the new home. This is an analogy to populating your content.
Like I said, the site structure (navigation, templates) and such are done by me, but you will provide to me the content that you wish to be served by your site. I would be happy to provide assistance in wording your copy to the best presentable way possible.