12 May 2016 | Web Design
6 min read
Designing websites is so much more than throwing together some layout and fonts. The process dives much deeper than that. What web design has become is an iterative process of discovery and problem solving.
Your brand has a goal in mind and I want to help that goal be realized through design.
- Ask a list of questions to understand the brand
- Establish a proposal based off of questionnaire and content
- Start Research and Development
- Utilize my process of quality assurance to ensure the design is the best solution
- Give a great presentation on the work and decisions and handing over the keys
Questions are the building blocks and the center of focus on doing a site design
We need to understand the scope of the project. Utilizing a process of asking solid, fact finding questions will help us get to the core of what needs to be done.
You are the expert of what you do and who you do it for. My job is to get to know that part of your brand and apply that to the goals we have laid out.
What role does a website have in your brand goals?
Content is King
For any of my work to be effective, I need to know what content will be designed. It’s like building a very nice shelf, it looks great, but if we put stuff on it, is it going to fit? Will there be enough space? Will there be too much space? Maybe what we needed was a storage compartment?
Visitors to your site should feel like they know where things are, and can complete the tasks they are there to accomplish, without having to think about it. After we itemize what content is there, we can consider going into the R & D.
We’ll establish a proposal and agreement for the project
Once we have established goals and have discovered what the value of reaching those goals would bring to your brand and organization, I put together a proposal that restates the goals and desired solution that outlines how I will help you achieve them through design.
I will also put together an agreement that will have a project specific process, initial timeline guides, and terms for the business relationship. We will have set aside time to go over this, paragraph by paragraph so that we can be sure we are on the same page before moving forward.
R & D: Initialization — This is where the magic happens
This stage of the process goes over the hardest part of web design: solving the problems. I do my best work here when I have a pen and sketchbook close by. I grab a good cup of coffee, some good tunes, and I start going over the initial questionnaire. What styles would best describe this brand’s message?
I’ll pull in some raw resources that compliment the styles and brand and go into full designer mode.
Sometimes doing some research on what is current in your industry can help, sometimes going out into the world and finding a nice spot to iterate ideas will work too. But the main point is getting some initial ideas of where the design should be going. This leads into designing a great style-guide for your content.
R & D: Ideation and Creation
The wireframes will be created from the collection of:
- Style guides
- Raw materials
- Mobile, Tablet, and Desktop wireframes
- Site maps and story boards
The creation process will go through targeted revisions and tweaks that allow me to come up with the best solution towards your project goals.
If you’ve noticed there isn’t a revision process with the client, understand that I pride myself on the professional work that I do. By hiring me for doing design work, you are allowing me to use my expertise as an expert of my field, much as I respect you as an expert of your field. Therefore, you are most equipped to describe your goals and provide content for the design, and I am most equipped to take those goals and content and use my design skills, expertise, and insight to build a solution that will accomplish your goals. This takes a large deal of trust from both parties, but it will allow me to come to the best solution for the outlined goals.
R & D: Prototyping and Development
This will then be baked in the oven at 350 degrees for 18 minutes until crispy and golden brown. Not, really, but it will be coded and tested thoroughly across browsers and devices. What code bases and functionality is determined from the questionnaire and creation phases. A thorough consult with an SEO expert is always suggested, but the site will start to be outfitted with current SEO best practices out of the gate. After numerous hours of development, some quality assurance will be conducted to ensure that every stone hasn’t been left unturned.
We’ll meet for a presentation and hand over the keys
By now you must realize that each part of this process will be well documented and formatted for presentation. I keep detailed notes on every design decision and understand that for someone to follow why a decision was placed to help your brand actualize your project goals. We’ll meet for presenting the new site and it’s documentation. We’ll talk about the challenges and the solutions, as well as any things that went exceptionally well.
After the presentation, and having collected the final payment, everything is delivered to you with any necessary directions for use. A ‘handing over of keys,’ so to speak. We’ll migrate any and all designed content into your possession. From here?
It is time to show your new looks
It’s like getting a new haircut and storing pictures of the last one. We’ll blast the new look for the next few days about the new look and archive the old one. We’ll submit the new site or the new changes to the search engines.
After all of this, you’re still here
So that means unless you’re a designer looking up another process to glean from, you and I really need to connect and talk about doing some great work together. A brand’s project to me is an investment in that brand’s future. I hope you treat that the same way. (p.s. if you’re a designer or developer as well, I’d love to hear from you too. Shoot me a message and I’ll read it too.)
I go over the whole Design Process again in a broader scope here