From brainstorming to launch, we’ll guide you through each step of our process. Whether this is your first web project, or you’re a seasoned veteran, this outline will give you an idea of what to expect as we move through the stages of production.
The first step is to gather all of the details and specifications for your website to help determine the scope of the project. We’d like to know as much as possible about your business and see a few examples of other websites that have the look, feel, and or functionality that you are looking for. (It’s okay for you to tell us about sites that you don’t like too.)
We can set up face-to-face meetings and phone calls to make sure we have all of the details straight. We may scribble on a napkin or two as we answer all of your deepest, darkest web-related questions, and hopefully get a feel for what it would be like to work together. At this point, we’ll have the information we need to start assembling our proposed recommendations and associated budget.
Say the word, and we will draft a formal proposal for you to review. We don’t just slap your name in a proposal template and hope for the best. We outline our process for your specific project, and we include every single detail of what your site will include. Most of the time, we can give you a hard quote based on the amount of hours we think the project will take. We stick by our quotes even if we go over the allotted hours, after all, we’re the experts. However, if something new or unforeseen comes up during the project (that was not covered in the original scope), we will discuss how the budget and timeframe will change. We want you to know exactly what you’re paying for, how long it will take, and what it will cost. No one likes surprises—especially surprise costs. If everything looks good, we’ll assemble an agreement and statement of work for your signature, and send an accompanying invoice for a deposit.
Depending on the size of the project, this step is crucial. Understanding your target audience, competitors, and goals is an extremely important starting point for any successful design project. During this phase, we work out a proper site map and flow, create mood boards, organize content and gather all the appropriate assets. This phase helps us understand the challenges and solutions we’ll provide with creative design. Armed with this information, we can build a website that works for your customers, not just you, and not just us.
Before we start designing the site, we’ll be creating wireframes that outline the general layouts and components the designs should include. This can be a combination of sketches, whiteboard diagrams and/or wireframe prototypes. This process maps out and helps ensure that all of the most important information and expected elements are in place, and gives us a good guide on how the site pages should be laid out and flow. Think of this as the blueprints or plans you need before building a house. Once completed, we’ll review with you to refine for accuracy and use it as the basis for page elements as we design the layouts.
Working closely with you, our designer will design the graphics and mock up a concept for your new website’s home page, while keeping your industry, preferences, and target audience in mind. Our standard projects generally include multiple design concepts with revisions, as needed, to finalize the design. We then mock up any other key pages of the site’s design that require special layouts, while ensuring the look and feel of all pages are consistent site wide. For responsive designs, we even mock up mobile formats of every page for review.
Most of the web applications we build are dynamic in some way, which require custom web programming for functionality. Upon your approval of the static XHTML/CSS site layout, we’ll begin the programming phase of the project. (This phase includes converting the site from static HTML/CSS, to a dynamic, database-driven website.) We custom program any special functionality into your site, which often includes building a custom Content Management System (CMS) so the website can be quickly and easily updated by you. We will also configure, implement, and customize any third-party or open-source web software at this time. This software includes e-commerce shopping carts, blogs, and so on.
When all of the dynamic web programming has been completed, we will review and test the entire website with you. We will also provide training for any administration tools that your site may require. Finally, we’ll do a thorough audit and the finishing touches will be completed in preparation for launch.
When everything has been tested and approved, your training has been completed, and the final balance of the project has been received, we launch the new web application and everyone celebrates. Once launched, we’ll be standing by to handle any requests, additions or enhancements for the life of your website, and will plan to check in with you regularly to make sure things stay up to date.