Our Web Design Process
Web design is more than just aesthetics. Great design is a very calculated and precise process. Everyone appreciates a beautifully crafted website and can think of a handful that they personally visit regularly. These sites make us feel something. Some encourage us to buy a product and others offer great articles that we often share with friends. Have you ever wondered how these sites became so culture?
I can tell you for sure it wasn’t by accident. Every agency follows a similar process with slight variations. The following is an overview of our design process and how we can consistently create web projects that inspire both our clients and more importantly their audience.
Discovery absolutely needs to be the very first step in any design process and the web is no exception. So what is involved in the discovery and why is it so important?
Discovery is a very structured process where the site owners and our team decide the true vision of the project. Together we will determine what the goals are and start to formulate the process needed to reach those goals. On the surface, this may sound simple but it can quickly become very complicated. Hense the need for structure. Our team has conducted hundreds of discovery meetings and constantly refine our process to best capture the clients true intent.
An e-commerce site has very different goals then a site developed to promote social awareness. If the goals are not clearly defined in the discovery process direction can be lost. This happens more often than you might think. That handful of beautifully designed sites we discussed at the beginning of this article established clear goals and maintained them throughout their entire design and development process. Whereas the sites you visited today before arriving here seem unmemorable. They most likely lost track of their goals or did not clearly define them in the discovery process.
A tried and tested method used to keep track of the established goals is to create a site diagram. This provides a roadmap for your site’s users to navigate directly to the intended goal and increases the overall conversion rates.
Now that we have our goals defined and a sitemap developed the design process can start. Design is a very complicated topic and can not possibly be covered in this article or any single article for that matter. I have a tremendous respect for professional designers and the magic that they perform. I will address the requirements a designer must factor into their design.
Content is a requirement that needs special consideration. Obviously, content varies in so many ways. Size alone can be a deciding factor. Is there a paragraph’s worth of content or entire white paper worth. Not only is the size a factor but the structure also needs to be considered. Search Engine Optimization basics are derived from print. Headlines, sub-headlines, and content are all evaluated to determine the importance of the page. A designer takes these fundamentals and transforms them into an aesthetically pleasing design.
Visually impacting images influence audiences without text. Selecting the right photo can make all of the difference in the world. Studies have been conducted on the effects of imagery vs the written word. These studies suggest that an image has a deeper impact. Especially if the viewer is in disagreement of the written messaging. A photo is less invasive and forces the viewer to reflect and process the image internally.
I’m certain everyone is well aware that color has a direct effect on users interactions. Entire companies are devoted to conducting comparison research and determining which colors have a more dramatic effect on the user. Colors set the stage and promote a feeling. If you would like to know more about colors I have a fun experiment for you to try. Once you have completed reading this article perform an image search in Google. Search for a feeling rather than an object. For example search images for the word fun. Notice that most of the images displayed will be yellow. As the worlds most popular search engine Google displays what it believes is the most relevant image for the query. Billions of images are uploaded to the internet and then tagged by people with text descriptions. Overwhelmingly images that described by the word fun just so happen to be yellow.
Only after the design has been completed will the development process start. Think of it as building a house. You would not be very successful building a house if you did not have a clear plan in place. You might end up with the commode in the middle of your family room.
Our developer’s sole purpose is to transform what the designers have crafted into a functional website. It will be a pixel-perfect copy of the design provided to them. This methodical process is absolutely necessary in order to achieve the end goals.
Quality assurance is one of the most overlooked yet most important steps for any design agency. Code changes rapidly during the development cycle and an element that worked correctly during the first few days may conflict with development that was implemented in the later portion of the development cycle. You never want to release a nonfunctional site to a client much less to the public.
The smallest discrepancies such as a broken link or slow loading site can mean the difference between a resounding success and a colossal failure.
The testing process involves combing over each page and inspecting each element individually. Not only testing that each element is functional but making sure each element is functional on various screen sizes. (Mobile, Tablet, Desktop) If this were not enough not all browsers are created equal. What works well in Chrome may not work well with Safari or Edge. The web project must pass the gauntlet of browsers as well.
This is the moment everyone waits for. A masterfully crafted web project from concept to the wild. Believe me when I say we are as excited as our clients for the big reveal. Our team has devoted a considerable amount of time, effort, and passion into this project. We have skin in this game as well.
Educate – Optimize – Grow
Our role rarely stops once the launch has completed. We have an obligation to the success of our clients. Their success starts with education. Our team provides guidance throughout the entire process and ensures that our clients feel like industry experts.
Quality web projects need to be maintained and optimized. Our marketing team can monitor the site’s performance and make minute changes to increase its overall performance. These are all data-driven decisions that have been carefully evaluated. A series of A/B testing and extensive research will guide the team to make minute changes to the site that have a huge impact on accomplishing the site’s goals.
If you have read this entire article it is obvious that you are someone who takes your web presence seriously and recognize the difference between having just a company website vs investing in your companies digital persona.