The agency founders (and hands-on leaders) each have over twenty years of experience designing custom websites for businesses of all sizes. We see website design as perhaps the most important piece of an integrated marketing system. Whether you rely on an ecommerce website for direct revenue, or you simply use your site for information on your business and services, the design and usability of your website is an important part of the sales process. Designing the best website experience possible means understanding where your audience is within the broader sales cycle and what other communications they are interacting with. Our typical website design process includes the following 8 steps. Although it might seem complex at face value, this is the industry best practice. Each step is unique and important. From a contractual standpoint, it also establishes clear gates with deliverables and approvals.
In this phase we document everything the site needs to contain in terms of content, and everything it needs to do in terms of functionality.
During this phase we plan the website abstractly, similar to how an architect uses sketches to plan out the adjacency of rooms in a house. We’ll map out each page of the website down to its content components and interactions. This allows us to validate the flow of the site at a fidelity level where changes can be made quickly and the subjectivity of visual design won’t bias the review cycles.
Once we have the information architecture agreed upon, our team will apply an original design to the interface, following the brand standards of the organization. This is the one place within the process where creativity and subjectivity come into play, so we try to get a feel early on for the types of design that appeal to you most and feel like a right fit for the brand personality. The way we quantify effort here is by specifying the number of unique components that are reused across pages. The design at this point will be static, meaning it’s built in a layout tool like Photoshop where we can still make changes efficiently.
After the visual design is approved, we will code the site in HTML/CSS within the content management system to meet the design and content management specifications. Some pages and components will be presented for testing and approval before they are replicated across the entire site. Animations and page transitions are added at this phase.
What we’d propose is writing headline, subhead, value proposition, and call-to-action copy for your review, and then collaborating on the creation of technical content for the supporting paragraph text. We would also like to take the lead on creating photo/video content through a combination of sourcing form and retouching your existing library – and shooting some new material. If you agree with this approach, we would agree on a number of effort hours since it’s difficult to quantify completion of this task.
Once we’ve got all of the content in the site, our team will take the first pass at reviewing the entire site and creating a bug list for any observed defects and/or pending items. When this list is down to a manageable level, we will share it with your team and invite you to review the site for any issues.
After the site has been thoroughly tested internally and externally, the test environments are made live and checked again for proper functionality. Our team takes utmost importance in ensuring the websites we build not only look professional, but function effectively – always keeping the end-user experience top of mind.
If desired, we can train content authors to use the site administrative tools. We can also create documentation with step-by-step processes for common content authoring tasks. Unless specified, we tend to leave this as an optional add-on that can be determined when the time comes.