Web design is an amalgamation of several smaller processes which result in a website or several pages being created. The different aspects that go into web design would include designing the layout of the site, managing the content that is posted and producing the graphics that will be featured on the website. The text that we read on individual pages of a site is created using a markup language such as HTML5, while the layout and appearance of different components of the webpage would use Cascading Style Sheets or CSS. Apart from text and layout, a web design plan would also need to include images and sometimes videos as content.
There are tools which help to convert regular images into formats that are suitable for posting on sites. These are the general components of web design. Though it is a combination of both creative and technical work, it is carried out like any other project where you have to follow specific steps in a particular order. A good website design would, of course, need excellent technical quality including robust code, Kotton Miami SEO capabilities, and a user-friendly vibe visually. However, all the work will go in vain if the final version of the site does not meet the business goals. Let us examine the different steps involved in making a web design project go smoothly and complete successfully.
Outline the scope
As mentioned earlier, a website cannot just be a collection of code and visuals. The design and development teams should first understand the purpose of creating the site and what goals it hopes to achieve. It is a long process with several iterations, but in brief, it has three primary components that everyone needs to agree upon before moving forward:
- The basic outline and background of the project (including details such as the owner/company of the site, the business environment of the company, its employees, partners, clients and other stakeholders)
- The specific outcomes the owner wishes to achieve through the site (will it be for information only? Will it be used as a tool for promotion and advertising, or will it also include options for transactions?)
- The target audience of the site (who are the ideal visitors for the site?)
Create the basic structure
Once the scope is well defined, the web design team can set out to create the necessary wireframes of the different pages that the website will contain. For this, the first job is to have in place a sitemap including a list of all the pages and how they will be linked to each other. Once you have the sitemap, the hierarchy of the content can be determined, and the details of the requirement can be forwarded to the team that will provide the materials.
Plan the look and layout
After the basic structure of the website is ready, the team needs to consult with the client to understand what kind of a visual treatment the site would get. It would depend on the goal of the website and the industry or environment the client company is part of. Therefore, the involvement of the client in this stage of the process is essential just as it was when deciding the wireframes and sitemap.
For a company that is building its first website, it is also crucial to factor in the possible color schemes, layouts, and other visual elements, and each of these elements should be relevant to the other branding and merchandising efforts including company logo and social media image. The idea is to keep the visual message of the brand consistent to facilitate faster recall, instead of confusing the viewer with ever-changing looks.
Bringing it all together
Once the above steps have been completed after multiple discussions and iterations, it is time to get to the meat of the matter – the development of the website. The site will now be coded based on the pre-determined wireframes, layout and content structure. Everything that will go into the website now gets final shape, and that includes the text, pictures, videos, slides, and other features that the site would choose to carry.
A web design process must commence in the process that is mentioned above. A haphazard start can only lead to a disastrous end! A well thought out plan and careful execution are critical to the success of a web development project.
Test your efforts
All these steps would give you a beta version of the website, but it is not yet ready to be released, which means it cannot be placed on the web browser where anyone can access it. The web development team would put the website on a production server, and members of the team and some authorized employees from the client company would have access to it. The team will take the website through its paces, by testing its features and checking device and browser compatibility, while the client company can put forth their feedback and suggestions/requests for changes if they have any.
The penultimate stage in the life cycle of website creation is crucial to both the client as well as the development and design teams. It is the day when the website is placed on the browser servers and can be accessed by anyone using the internet. It is the day of reckoning, and the next few days will receive varied reactions from users. While some will be happy and satisfied with it, others may be disappointed or even frustrated. The team should be able to take the feedback sportingly and make changes where necessary.
The process does not end with making the site live. The website will require regular maintenance to correct bugs, update details, post news, and updates. Usually, a dedicated team is given this task.
Author Bio: Betty Meeker is an authority on web design, and has a long association with web design and development. She advises several Kotton Miami SEO companies on best practices and latest developments.