Every Website and Website Redesign project follows a certain path or process. The web design process almost always involves completing the same tasks, albeit slightly modified per client, for each and every web project. Following a detailed website design and development process is essential to help organize a developer’s thoughts, speed up the project’s timeline and prepare a business for online growth.
A Web Development Process is a documented plan or summary of the steps that need to be taken from start to finish in order to complete a web design or website redesign project. It categorizes and divides the work into high level sections that can be used as a road map for each website project.
Here is an outline of a typical website design or website redesign process:
The planning stage is vital because what is decided and mapped out here sets the stage for the entire project. This phase requires a good deal of interaction with the client and attention to detail. Here is where we set the following:
- Needs assessment:
A needs assessment or analysis addresses client goals, target audience, feature requests and information gathering.
- Project agreement:
The agreement or contract sums up the information that has been gathered and agreed upon in the previous point. These documents are concise, not overly technical and serve as a reference for the duration of the project.
- Site Map:
A site map gives structure to the website. It helps to guides the end user of the website to finding information quickly. A site map includes links, navigation and a plan for page organization called hierarchy.
The design stage involves putting the plan into reality. This is where we create a documented site structure and most importantly, a representation of the website plan and ideas. Upon completion of the design phase, the website should, for the most part, have taken shape with the absence of special features and content. Here are the steps for the design phase:
- Wireframe and Website Design elements planning
- Review and approve
- Slice and Code XHTML/CSS
The design phase includes much reviewing and tweaking and may include multiple reiterations or versions of the website.
The development phase of website redesign involves the bulk of the programming work and content creation and content loading. Here are the steps for website development:
- Build and implement development framework
- Code templates for each page type
- Develop and test interactivity and special features
- Create, load, and edit content
- Test and verify functionality and links – includes full website review
The launch phase of a website design or redesign is when the website is put up for public viewing. This requires final implementation of design elements, deep testing of features and interactivity. Also, end user experience and usability testing is key at this stage. These are the steps in the launch phase of web design:
- Refining and Tweaking website design and website function
- Uploading and transferring website to server
- Testing – check for broken links, spell checks, page navigation and code errors
- Cross browser check – check website in all browsers including IE, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera, iPhone, BlackBerry etc. This is particularly important for a mobile responsive website design.
5. Post Launch
- Package source files, gather instructions for client training and make any notes about website maintenance
- Hand off website to client
- Provide documentation and source files if necessary
- Officially close project after approval and final edits from client.