What is the purpose of the site? Do you want to provide information, promote a service, sell a product?
What do you hope to accomplish with your web site? Two of the more common goals are either to make money or share information.
Picture the “ideal” person you want to visit your web site. Consider their age, sex or interests – this will later help determine the best design style for your site.
What information will the target audience be looking for that will best achieve your goals?
Next, we do our homework by researching the marketplace and construct a competitive analysis to find out what others are doing that works (and doesn’t work). We take into account your existing brand, logo, collateral and primary audience. Using the information gathered from phase one, it is time to put together a plan for your web site. This is the point where a site map is developed.
The site map is a list of all main topic areas of the site, as well as sub-topics, if applicable. This serves as a guide as to what content will be on the site, and is essential to developing a consistent, easy to understand navigational system.
Drawing from the information gathered up to this point, it’s time to determine the look and feel of your site. Target audience is one of the key factors taken into consideration. As part of the design phase, it is also important to incorporate elements such as the company logo or colors to help strengthen the identity of your company on the web site.
Your web designer will create a prototype design for your web site. This is typically a pdf of what the final design will look like. You will be sent an email with the mock-ups for your web site. In this phase, communication between both you and your designer is crucial to ensure that the final web site will match your needs and taste.
The developmental stage is the point where the web site itself is created. At this time, your web designer will take all of the individual graphic elements from the prototype and use them to create the actual, functional site.
At this point, your web designer will attend to the final details and test your web site. They will test things such as the complete functionality of forms or other scripts, as well as testing for last minute compatibility issues (viewing within different web browsers), ensuring that your web site is optimized to be viewed properly. Once you give your final approval, it is time to deliver the site and go live. This marks the official launch of your site, as it is now viewable to the public.