In today’s information driven economy, a quality website is essential to success. Whether it is a one-man show or a Fortune 500 company, a business or organization can use the website to build brand identity and connect with current and future customers. To accomplish these goals, the website must be designed; if an existing website is inadequate, it must be redesigned. Designing a website is not much different from any other design process; the project should be divided into discrete segments that build on each other.
There are six steps involved in the web design and development process. These steps do not represent the only way to attack the problem, but they are a good place to start.
- Discovery Phase
In this phase, the primary goal is to ask, “What is the purpose of this website?” To answer this question, start with customer demographics and an analysis of the competition. For instance, a site aimed at middle-aged homemakers would look quite different from a site aimed at finance industry professionals. If the competition has nothing but a facebook page, even a modest website will be acceptable. Once there are clear goals set, the site can be checked against these goals once the project is complete.
- Planning Phase
At this point, the content desired for the site must be decided on and developed if necessary. The relationship between sections of content must also be determined. With this information, a Site Map, a graphical representation of the relationship between different pages of the site made. This is also the point to consider budget; it is probably not cost effective to spend thousands of dollars on a website for a small business or organization just starting out. Researching the competition to determine how much other organizations are spending can be helpful when determining the budget.
- Invention Phase
This is the point in the web design and development process when the site is actually designed. Ideally, existing logos should be used if possible and the color schemes and feel of any existing media should be incorporated into the site design. Now is the time to perfect the basic design, so feel free to revise as often as necessary. It is better to make revisions now before too many resources have been committed to a particular design.
- Build Phase
Once the basic design has been determined, it is time to put the content into the basic framework. This should be a fairly quick process if Melbourne web designer has been hired and the previous phases have been completed. The most time-consuming task is testing, but it is much more desirable to catch and fix problems now rather than after the site has been deployed, when customers discover issues.
- Deployment Phase
The most important thing to do in this phase is to closely watch traffic levels. If web host cannot handle the traffic, it could lead to an embarrassing outage. This is also the time to seek out user feedback and tweak the design if need be.
A good website is not a static thing. Content should be updated regularly. A website with content that is out-of-date can lead to a bad impression of the business or organization. If the goals set for the website in the discovery phase are not being met, features can be added or removed.
The website has become an essential part of operating just about any type of business or organization. Many pitfalls can be avoided by researching and planning carefully. A well-designed website can be a fantastic asset; a great web design and development process is the path that leads to this goal.