Steps in designing a website

Designing a unique and quality website requires the right mix of art, technology, and communication skills. It is vitally important to the success of any professional website project that the client is actively involved in helping the designer identify and understand her true wants and needs. Web designers act as creative coaches and translators of ideas. Turning ideas into concepts, incorporating customer feedback, and prototyping quickly creates an evolving and actionable workflow for the customer, producing maximum results and a delightful customer experience.

Step 1: Learn a little (or a lot) about the client’s business

Once a client has committed to building a new website, it’s time to dig in and learn a bit about the business and the specific requirements. This can be done through a simple questionnaire for smaller sites, or it can take many hours of consulting for larger sites. Some of the questions asked include: website goals and objectives, target audience, color and style preferences, examples of preferred websites, etc. If a client already has specific text and images they’d like to include (perhaps from an existing brochure or catalog), it’s time to share the files and information with the designer, and the designer will in turn review it and share a goal. opinion on the usefulness and quality of the materials supplied by the client. If a domain name for the site does not already exist, this would be a good time to decide on a name and register it. The designer can help as much as needed in this area. Once all information has been received, work will begin immediately on custom website design. Exchange of ideas and customer participation are always welcome and encouraged.

Step 2: Review Design Concepts and Choose a Direction

Typically, a client will have initial design concepts to review within a few days. Some projects may take significantly longer to reach this initial stage, depending on the level of research and discovery being done for the client in other related and possibly interdependent areas, such as the design of a new corporate identity (logo and full branding) or the creation of an information systems solution on the website. The layout and design of the home page and top-tier inner pages come first. This offers the client insight into the possibilities and how different ideas work together on different levels. One will then be selected for further refinement. The designer’s existing works can often be used as a starting point and modified to create a unique, yet familiar look. In case the client is undecided or does not fall in love with any of the initial concepts, additional designs will be presented. After a design and layout concept is chosen, revisions will be made to that design and layout concept until the customer is completely satisfied.

Step 3 – Review reviews and ask for feedback

Once the layout and design have been approved and finalized, the detailed content will be entered using the selected design guidelines for consistency and beauty. Content can be delivered in almost any electronic format, including email, Word, or even scanned text. For larger consulting web projects, client content can be created as part of an overall branding and marketing campaign. In the case of images, the content may be taken by the design team, provided by the client, or in some cases purchased or custom-created by the designer. There is also the option to choose images from a gallery of quality royalty-free work at no additional cost. Simply describe what is desired and the designer will choose the perfect images for the job. Or, if he prefers, the client can choose the images themselves and the designer will certainly assist in the process at a level the client is comfortable with. Customer-provided content may be provided as soon as it is purchased; there is no reason to wait until the web pages have been designed. In fact, many times the best design concepts are born from content.

Step 4 – Finalize your website.

All concepts and revisions can be viewed online and there is always an open channel of communication with the designer. Once the client is fully satisfied with the finished website, high-quality website hosting is offered, or the website may be deployed on a third-party host of the client’s choice, provided the appropriate security access is available and the necessary software tools.

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