Step-by-Step Web Design and Development Process
Technology grows at a very fast speed and it requires modern tools along with efficient communication, updates, strategies, and methodologies.
The internet provides us with the ability to always be available anytime and anywhere. In today’s day and age, promoting on the internet is not a luxury, it is a necessity.
Regardless if you’re a small company or a large company, with a market that is global or local, having a website will allow you to grow as a business in a massive yet simple way. Check out this Pre and Post Website Launch Checklist to use as an extra resource!
How Do We Start Building a Website?
To build a website, we start by having a discovery call. This is a structured conversation that allows our team to understand more about your business’ brand and current needs while allowing you as a potential client to learn more about us and our team. The discovery call isn’t a place to play hide and seek — we aren’t hiding our expertise nor are we seeking to sell. Instead, we are building rapport, understanding the brand, and being transparent about how we work.
The discovery call is a discussion where our main overarching goal is to find out information about the client and their business, their brand story, their hot-button in terms of what is important to them, what is currently working (getting results) along with what is not working, and their interests and disinterests. We try to learn as much as we can about the brand, as the more familiarity with a brand, the better the results.
After the discovery call, we gather and analyze all of the new information and start to organize their site, performing what we call a Sitemap.
A Sitemap is basically the navigation structure of the site. It outlines the goals and purposes of a site, such as attracting new leads or making online sales, to give direction to your project. It also helps you provide your visitors with an enhanced user experience, like easy navigation, by establishing the hierarchy of your site’s pages at an early stage.
Sitemaps allow designers and developers to efficiently plan website projects by offering a bird’s-eye view of the entire project. Essentially, building a website without a sitemap is like building a house without a blueprint.
Once the Sitemap is complete we jump into Wireframes.
Wireframes, or Prototypes, is basically the skeleton of your site. This where you will create all the different templates outlined in the Sitemap and where the structure of the site is visually represented, in a very simple and schematic way.
The goal of the wireframes is to define the content and position of the different blocks of your website. This includes navigation menus, content blocks, different section, CTA buttons, etc. Wireframes do not use colors, fonts or any graphic element. The important thing to focus on here is the functionality of the site and the user experience we want to create.
To create wireframes we use Adobe XD, which is a very fun, somewhat easy, and useful tool. Adobe XD also allows you to create interactions with all of the different pages, which is very helpful when you are working on the user experience of the site.
Once the Sitemap and Wireframes are done and approved, we move into fun part of the project, the Design phase.
Related: Top 10 Best Tools For Web Designers
The design phase is where everything starts to take shape. This part of the process will often be guided by existing branding elements such as colors, fonts, logos, etc. This phase is also the stage where a good web designer can really shine, putting all of his or her creativity into practice.
It’s important to create designs that connect with the intended audience. With every shape, font, color, and image, a subconscious message is evoking different human emotions and possible connections. Once a customer connects with a brand on an emotional level, their trust is earned and you can engage with them on an intellectual level.
This is one of the most important parts of the process, as this is where you have the opportunity to stand out from your competitors. The visual design is a way to communicate and appeal to the site’s users. Get it right, and it can determine the site’s success. Get it wrong, and you’re just another web address.
Related: How to Make Your Website Easy to Navigate
Once the design is completed, it’s finally time to bring things to life! Here is where the developer comes in and takes the reins of the project. Most people think of the designer as the creative person for the project and the developer as the intellectual machine that codes everything the designer did. Although the developers are “machines,” they also are very creative people, as they determine the flow of the site. They are the ones in charge of adding all the cool effects to the site, making things appear right when you need them to.
Related: Web Designer & Web Developer: The Key Differences
Aside from their interaction on the creative side of things, developers also determine the speed of your site. This is a very important metric to take into account when you are building a site. Slow websites will have low conversions, a high bounce rate, and a low number of pages per visit. This is due to a slow site speed, resulting in people leaving the site before it even loads because they aren’t willing to wait.
Related: How to Test Your Website Loading Speed Time
Once Development is done, we get into the QA phase.
QA (Quality assurance)
Quality is all about details. To make sure nothing is missed, the whole development team gets together and makes sure that everything works, that the website looks good through all devices and all of the various web browsers, that things are smooth, and that every detail makes perfect sense. We want to make sure that we deliver the best of the best for each of our clients!
If the brand is redesigning from an old website, we want to make sure we transfer all of the value they had from the old website into the new one. This is where SEO steps in and plays a huge role, as they will migrate all SEO value such as blog posts, title tags, meta descriptions, internal links, URL structures, etc. into the new website.
We are almost there! Once all of these things are finalized, we prepare the project for launch. This means that the project that you have been working on for months is close to being shown off! However, this step also has some requirements and it is not as simple as just uploading the files into the cloud.
First, you need a domain. The domain is the unique name that identifies a website on the internet (URL). The main purpose of the domain name is to translate the IP address of each asset in the network so that they are easy to find and remember.
After you have the domain, you must find a hosting. A web host, or web hosting service provider, is a business that provides the technologies and services needed for the website or webpage to be viewed on the Internet.
Once you have these two things — and before you launch the new website — you want to make sure to prevent any data loss by first, regularly backing up your site, and second, adding security systems to it. This can help just in case a hacker makes any attempts against the site, ensuring that copies of the website are being regularly created and stored. This will always give you a Plan B option if something goes wrong.
Finally, when you have these three things done, your website is ready to launch. You are now able to show off your website!
Although it may seem like a long and tedious process that requires a lot of hard work, effort, teamwork, and special attention to detail (in fact, it is and does), it pays off in the end. I can assure you that if you follow each step, and pay close attention to detail for the big (and small) things, the results will be nothing but an amazing website.
For more information, request an assessment from our web development team today!