The idea behind writing this is to help those looking into having a website built, or rebuilt, is to better understand what must be considered.
Before any project can get under way, a Statement of Work (SOW) must me agreed on and signed by all involved parties. A Statement of Work is an agreement of works to be carried out and it protects everyone. All parties involved know exactly who is responsible for given duties and covers timelines and costs.
Every project must start with research. Research allows the web designer to understand what your business does and how it delivers the product or service.
More importantly, the web designer needs to understand you, the client. Effective web design means understanding what elements belong on a web page, and importantly, what does not.
Research also means deciding on which platform to use. There are plenty of web design projects out there that use static websites. Static web sites are cheaper to build, no doubt, but editing will need a web designer when changes are needed, and this usually works out more expensive.
Here at Kevin Oliver Web Design, I use WordPress as the platform of choice. WordPress has a relatively kind learning curve for my customers and the online community is huge. Using a platform like WordPress also has the benefit of future proofing your website.
More often than not, business owners have many forms of content that is obviously useful for their website.
Assets such as colour schemes, text, images, video and graphics should be passed on to the web designer. Not everyone has these assets and may need to be created and falls under the Content Creation section.
Other assets required are login details to the Domain Registrar and Web Hosting provider, assuming these are in place already. Social Media logins may be required also to help integrate these.
If Social Media accounts are not in place, a web designer will usually be expected to create them.
Wire framing is the process of putting the basic elements together in the form of a graphic. The customer can then see what the web designer has in mind. This stage is important because it is easy to see if everyone is on the same page.
Personally, prefer to do this stage on a testing server. This way I can see how the real word server will render the basic design. Another benefit of this is the customer can login anytime to check on progress.
This stage is vital on how well the rest of the project will flow. It is this stage where changes are easily made. Once the design stage is complete, design changes become more difficult and time-consuming.
The customer will sign off on the design and the web designer will move onto the design stage.
This is the stage most people assume is where things start – the design stage. As you can see, there is plenty to do before this point.
The design stage is where the designer brings all the elements together. Final decisions on how the main navigation should look and act, how the logo or branding should be presented. What is the page structure going to look like? What calls to action will you have? The list of considerations is endless.
One main consideration at this point is what content will be shown above the fold, especially on a small screen like a mobile device. It’s during the design stage where the content – or copy – is added.
Quite often, there isn’t any content to add, not everyone has suitable content on hand. And more often than not, the web designer ends up creating suitable content.
Content creation is time-consuming. The content quality is incredibly important because it’s purpose is to give useful, engaging information about the businesses products, services, brand or story.
Not only that, the content quality, or more specifically, the way in which the content will be displayed has a positive or negative impact on the SEO of that page.
This is my favorite part. Writing code that tells the server what to send to your favorite browser that then interprets how the content will be displayed is nothing short of fantastic.
Coding is what gives your web design projects functionality. It is what makes contact forms send, social media interactively, and just about every other functional action you will need.
Making sure everything looks amazing regardless of the screen size also requires coding. Google expects best practices to be used when coding which has a direct impact on page rankings.
Poor coding will mean your website will break at the most inopportune moment. The result is poor user experience (UX) meaning your visitors will not stick around.
The primary goal of good web design is to give your visitors a great experience by offering the information they seek. But having the greatest information on the web is no good to anyone unless it can be found.
Google, having the greatest share of the world’s search queries, is the place to be found. SEO, or Search Engine Optimisation, is about optimising your site to rank organically in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs).
Read more about SEO here ».
Any web design professional will know how to configure web hosting but, not every web designer understands how important quality hosting is.
Web hosting quality matters more than most understand. Cheap, or free web hosting will damage your websites performance. Read More about Cheap Web Hosting »
Professional Web Design
As you can now understand, professional web design requires at least 8 disciplines to create an outstanding result.