Our Web Design Process.
Your website is an important brand ambassador and the primary source of information on your company and products. A carefully planned and well designed website is vital for your online credibility. If your site doesn’t convey trust or is difficult to use, visits won’t be converted to purchases or enquiries.
Because nobody knows your business more than you, we like to keep you involved in the design process. From back-of-the-envelope sketches to precise colour selections, your contributions ensure that your website will closely reflect your taste, ethos and style.
The Design Brief.
Once you’ve made contact with us and told us a little about your needs, the first thing we’ll do is send you our requirements fact-finder. This is a detailed list of questions that help you think carefully about your website and determine its primary goals, target audience and structural, content and design requirements.
Our requirements document is designed to help you determine what you need from your new website. The questions we ask cover areas ranging from your most desired actions for visitors to take when visiting your site to your preferred colour combinations and reference sites. The more thought you put into your response and more information you provide us, the clearer we will be about your needs.
After we’ve gone through your exact requirements, we’ll be in a position to prepare an accurate estimate for completing the work according to your brief. We’ll send you a formal quotation that will be valid for 30 days – if you choose to accept the offer, a booking deposit will ensure your project is scheduled for work.
Prototyping and Markup.
Once we’ve started your project, the next step is to prototype some ideas by drawing sets of wireframes. These are hand-drawn, high level representations of how the different pages on your site will be structured and layed out. There are a number of graphics tools available for drawing wireframes, but we prefer a simple pencil and paper so that many options can be explored without a large time commitment. If you’d prefer to send us your own wireframes for us to work from, you’re welcome to do so. The wireframes below were provided by the clients who knew exactly what they wanted. We came up with actual designs based on their drawings.
When you’re happy with the look of your wireframes, we’ll create a detailed mockup of the site using a graphics tool like Adobe Photoshop. These mockups will show you exactly how your website will appear but because they are only graphic compositions, can be altered quickly to suit your preferences. Getting the design of a website right is one of the most critical parts of our planning process as good design pays dividends – a London Business School study has shown that every 1% a company invests in design causes its sales to rise by 3-4%.
Armed with our detailed mockups and a functional specification of your website, we can go ahead and start programming it. How we go about this depends on what kind of project we’re working on. Simpler CMS-based websites will have a quicker workflow, generally taking a month or two to create, while more complicated custom applications can take a number of months and are often developed and rolled out over a number of phases.
Testing and Launch.
When the programming of a website is complete, we place it on a staging server for testing. The content will be uploaded to the site by the client and the site will be tested on the main web browsers (which include Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome and Safari). It is important that the site is checked for cross-browser compatibility as each browsers display sites a little differently.
In addition to testing the site on standard browsers, we see how it renders on a text-only browser. This shows how your information is presented to people that use assistive technologies such as screen readers but also shows what your websites content will look like to a search engine spider. Accessible websites and search engine optimised websites share many of the same characteristics; putting the effort into optimising your site for either of these is a worthwhile exercise.
Before we make the site live, we’ll configure analytics tools that allow you to keep track of where your visitors are coming from, what keywords they were searching for and what outcomes they arrive at. Keeping track of this information allows you to see which pages of your website are generating sales and conversions and gives you an indication of how well your website is supporting your business. A deeper insight into your customers browsing behavior will help you tailor your website to better meet your customer’s needs and can help you improve your off-line marketing strategies and sales.