Tech

How the Website Design Process Actually Works in Practice

Every business these days needs a website. Without one, your clients cannot tell if you offer legitimate goods and services, or if you’re trying to scam them. Not to mention, every website for a small business will need the same 5 major features.

Are you in the market for a proper website (and not another third-party hosted blog page) for what you do? If so, then it’s time you learned what the website design process looks like in practice. Here’s what you need to know to bring your best web development foot forward.

Stage One: Project Definition

The first major step of the website design process is project definition. At this stage, the small business owner sits down with the web design team to define who the website should cater to and what purpose it should serve. Meetings during this stage will go over common concerns like:

  • Determining the target audience for the site
  • Analyzing the websites of the competition
  • Choosing the company’s message for the website

Once the design team has a better understanding of the intended audience and purpose of the website, they can move into the next step of the planning phase.

Stage Two: Scope and Planning

Yes, you read that right. Both stages one and two are part of the planning phase of the website design process. Once the business owner and the design team have an idea of the site’s intended purpose, they can determine how many pages the site will need. This also determines the timescale they can expect each page’s development to occupy.

Setting clear expectations and timeframes throughout the design and development process is a practice used by the best web development companies in the industry.

Stage Three: Mapping and Architectural Work

With the timelines established, it’s time to create the sitemap. To start constructing the architectural framework for the site itself.

The sitemap will illustrate how each of the pages connects with one another. This can help the development team understand the overall navigational flow of the site.

Another key piece of this stage is the creation of the site’s wireframe. Once the site’s mapped and you have some basic ideas of the elements that you need, wireframing can better illustrate where that content will sit on the page when it loads.

Stage Four: Creating the Content

Now, for the somewhat boring part of the whole process: Content creation. If you want your website to show up anywhere decent in Google’s rankings, you need content to populate the pages of your site. Well-optimized, SEO-rich content.

Naturally, this means writing entries for the blog or article sections of your site that rank heavily in desirable keywords. It also means that you need to work on building backlinks. (You can look here for more

information about how many backlinks you might need for your site to be an SEO success.)

You need to have content created for your website in advance before you can start…

Stage Five: Bringing in the Visuals

The next step that you need to follow in the website design process is where the most actual design work comes into play. The colors, fonts, picture types, and element arrangements you choose for your website go a long way towards reaching the right audience. There are many factors that can play into this, not least of which is color psychology.

Some small business owners have a clear idea in mind for their colors, photos, and desired shapes for the web elements. Others offer the web design team more freedom. In either case, you’ll want to use mood and style boards, collages, and other collaborative visual tools to ensure that you’re on the same page.

Stage Six: Testing and Refining

When you have the visual language and basic framework of the website set in place, it’s time to start testing and refining the website. Nothing makes it through the IT industry without rigorous testing and re-testing, after all.

This stage of the process involves checking and triple-checking that all the elements of the site work correctly. Every internal link goes to the correct page. Every external link goes somewhere valid and secure. All images and videos load correctly upon the site’s opening. If you have a chat window, this part of the process will determine whether or not it responds as it should to outside visitors.

Of note, your testing should also ensure that your website functions well on mobile platforms as well as desktops. A website that can’t run efficiently on mobile devices is as good as dead these days.

Stage Seven: Enjoy a Successful Launch, and Don’t Forget Maintenance

Once every single element of the website has been tested to ensure proper function under all circumstances, it’s time to launch the site. If all the stages up to this point have been followed properly, the site’s launch should run smoothly.

However, no one can account for every possible error that can crop up. The best web developer professionals on the market will offer maintenance for the website even after it goes live. (Or, failing that, give the small business owner the tools that they need to maintain the site themselves.)

Let’s Review the Stages of the Website Design Process

The website design process can seem daunting from the outset, given the sheer amount of planning involved. However, once you make it past the first two planning stages, web design and development becomes a matter of assembling your content and visual elements into a cohesive, well-tested package. And, of course, of maintaining the website so that it functions as intended for as long as you need it.

Did you find this article about the website development and design process helpful? Would you like to learn more about the programs and processes that go into this often collaborative effort? If so, then check out our blog for more articles like this one!

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Published by
Tom William
Tags: Website

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