Web Design & Development Process Steps

A detailed article explaining the web design and development process

When Mediatopia undertakes a website design and development project, we follow a defined development process that enables us always to exceed our customers expectations. The video above has been put together to show our future clients what their hard-earned money will buy them.

To create a successful website there needs to be a variety of criteria that is worked out with the customer before, during and after the entire web design process.

Boardroom.

1. Start with a company meeting

The first step to creating a successful website is to begin with a business meeting; a meeting will enable each party present to get a feel for the other and the basis for a good ongoing business relationship. At this stage, a plan of action can be formulated based on what questions are asked to understand the need of the client and the client can understand what the possibilities are.

A web design proposal edited in Microsoft Word.

2. Draft a proposal

The second step is to create a plan based on the first step of analysing the prospective business. Your plan should contain all of the information talked about in the meeting and written as an entire project or split into phases depending on the size and scale of the project. The proposal should include all of the technology you intend to use and a list of all the design, development and testing work that you intend to carry out for the customer. The proposal should also include the relevant costs and a contract ready for when the client is happy with what you are proposing.

A web design being formulated using Adobe Photoshop.

3. Create the draft design

The third step once the customer has paid the initial deposit for your proposed project is formulating the design. Sorting out colours and logo to use plays a major part in planning the design that your project manager will have gathered for you to begin the design phase. Take into consideration what typography would best suit the type of industry that you are designing. One needs to study the business proposal to understand what kind of website to develop and who the target market is. With drawings or a schematic wire-frame, understand the essential elements and create a design that represents the wishes of the customer. Also creating a plan that will lead the web visitors to the page on a story-boarded process to the desired goal or call to action, ready for them to buy or call about a product or service.

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4. Content Strategy

Navigation structure

A website's navigation or top-level page and sub-page structure are also another bone of contention. How should the menu navigation be structured? Should the website have a top page navigation with a mega menu floating submenu? Should the top bar be sticky so that when the web page scrolls the menu bar stays fixed? Should the top menu disappear when visiting the internal pages and a side menu bar replaces the top menu navigation? It takes careful planning and consideration of content to know which style would best suit the type of website that you are designing.

Copywriting

Writing copy is one of the most difficult steps in the web design process. Most CEO's find it tough to write the text about their business. While they may manage a great company and offer excellent customer service, the one thing all business owners suffer from is putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboards and elaborating about their business. Years of web experience and putting hundreds of website projects together comes into practice. The key is being able to ask the right questions to gain the right answers about any business or industry.

The list of issues that need asking are endless, but it just depends on what type of design you are creating and what kind of sector the business is.

Website Imagery – to photograph or not to photograph!

Another significant part of a web design is having great looking imagery to portray a company in the best possible light. Many firms think that an out-dated picture of their premises looks good, or old staff photos are acceptable – wrong! Mediatopia strongly advises to contract a professional photographer who has business photography experience – a picture is worth a thousand words and well shot professional images will leave a much better lasting impression on website visitors.

A camera man is filming someone.

Using video to explain your products and services

Getting a video made for your business can also have positive effects when embedded into the design of a website. Not only can a video be used to explain a product it can also be used to show web visitors around your business. Video can be used to give your business credibility and if optimised correctly for the search engines can also be found in good ranking positions on the search engines that will bring visitors to your website.

Someone using Facebook on a Macbook.

Social Media Strategy

Using social media too is one of the best modern marketing methods to get more visitors to visit your site. Knowing which social media platforms to use and how to use them to create sales will help your clients immeasurably. You need to explain the benefits of using social media in a way that a business owner can understand. However, there are times when a business owner has limited time or is of an older persuasion and just does not understand technology as well as all the young folk. Devising a way in which to outsource this type of work will help your client.

The most obvious social media platforms to set up for any business would be:

  • Google Plus
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest

Most companies are familiar with these well-known popular brands, and each one used for a particular type of social engagement.

5. Web Development

Crucial to the overall process, this phase of web design is worked out at the business meeting stage. You will have understood whether the customer wanted a content management system to manage the editing of the website in-house or if the site needed to be static meaning no content management system. The website would, therefore, be static resulting in different code, if the site required to be responsive or if a separate mobile website was needed. If the client requested the site to be managed by the company carrying out the work or not.

If you are a professional web specialist, you will know all of the different types of web development, what can and cannot be done based on a client's budget. The list of functionally developed into a website is exhaustive, and I am not going to list it all in this article as I would be writing for the next few days solidly.

Understanding how your client wants the website to function will dictate what type of functionality needs implementing. Whether or not the client wishes to have control over that function means further coding to allow non-technical users to edit. Maintaining these features requires an understanding of how a database works and the limitations of what can and cannot be done depending on time and overall cost.

6. Website Testing

On completion of development, each and every site undergoes stringent testing. A variety of tasks is carried out on the coding of the site to make sure that everything works as it should. That the site renders correctly in a variety of browsers including Internet Explorer, Firefox, Google Chrome and so on. The spelling and grammar are correct that the content worked and optimised for the search engines. Whether or not the website is responsive and how it performs on mobile and tablet devices. The testing of a website is a crucial process in the overall user ability of a site.

The website gets sent to the customer for their final approval and to make sure there are no last-minute tweaks or adjustments.

7. Website Deployment

When all of these tests have been carried out, the site is ready for launch and is uploaded to the server and set up on the domain name available for propagation. It does not end there; we continue to monitor the website, fixing any bugs and managing all the future updates and maintenance making sure that the site gets off to a smooth start.

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Posted by Duncan Maund

An image of the Managing Director of Mediatopia
Duncan Maund is the Managing Director of Mediatopia. He has been educating business owners on Social Media & Digital Marketing for over ten years. Having been involved with over 1500 website projects, Duncan has the knowledge and expertise to coach and advise businesses how to succeed in all digital technologies.