Every website, app, and development project involves a series of steps to create a great user experience. There are multiple questions to answer, challenges to solve, and plenty of coffee to consume along the way. With the right approach, a well-designed website can attract visitors, help people understand your product, company, and brand, and guide users to take action. For Array, the process to design a custom website involves 11 steps:
Step 1. Discovery Meeting
Every web design or app project starts with an exploratory meeting between your core team, Project Lead, and our Account Manager. We use this time to learn all about you, your organization, and your goals, pains, and vision for your website. Working together through questions and research exercises, we explore your brand personality, identify goals, and begin developing your unique marketing strategy that focuses on building awareness, engagement, and conversions.
Step 2. Site Analysis & Content Inventory
Now that we’ve gotten to know each other a little better, it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of your website. We analyze what we learned through discovery and start making a list of required content, and questions your clients need answered. If you already have a website that is getting an update, we review your existing website Analytics, and determine your most engaging content, where users are dropping off in the site flow, and any demographics available. We also review your current website structure and navigation.
With our boardroom stocked with plenty of coffee, sticky notes, and pens, we take all this inventoried content and organize it into groupings, identifying where content is needed and what content needs to change. Once all the content is in the right place, we assign a heading to each grouping and begin to flush out the navigation of your new website.
Step 3. Information Architecture & Wireframes
Using the outline from our content inventory, we draft a “blueprint” of your website or app called an “Information Architecture,” that will eventually become the final site navigation and content structure. This often looks similar to a flow chart, showing which pages connect and what content and functionality they will have.
For websites that have more complicated functionality and content, we then move on to a wireframe. This usually looks like a simplified block layout and shows approximate placement and sizing of content. This allows us to confirm placement and core site structure, before moving on to (and getting distracted by) design elements.
Step 4. Visual Design
With the sitemap and wireframes approved, we start shaping your website together with colors, images, photography, typography, and other design elements. Throughout the design process, we review, tweak, and approve mock-ups to ensure your goals are being met, and pain points solved. We then digitally proof the home page concept to you – followed by other key sections – and allow for two rounds of revisions.
Step 5. Desktop & Mobile Programming
With the design nearly complete, it’s time to code! For approximately 4-5 weeks, our development team plug into their headphones and start putting the visuals together on screen. From the start, we’re diligent about ensuring your website is optimized for mobile viewing and add mobile-friendly styles to optimize the website for all possible screen sizes and devices.
Step 6. Review & Testing
To ensure your website is looking fantastic on every screen, we go through the website page-by-page on all devices and identify content holes, make sure buttons and links are doing their job, and ensure there are no technical issues.
Step 7. Revisions
After you and our team have gone through the website and created a list of necessary changes, we tweak your site to perfection and send it back to you for one final review.
Step 8. Training
We’ve built your new custom website using WordPress, a user-friendly content management system. Now, we sit down with your support staff and train them on how to make various updates across the website.
Step 9. Launch
The big day! We’ve reviewed, tested, and are confident to reveal your new website to the world! We go LIVE on a server of your preference, or on our own dedicated, Candian hosted server.
Step 10. Post-completion Follow-up
During the next couple of weeks, we check in with you to ensure no technical difficulties have arisen, and you’re confident making updates via WordPress.
Step 11. 3-month Checkup & Traffic Analysis
Approximately 12-15 weeks after we’ve launched your new custom website, we like to check-in and ask for feedback. What can we improve upon? What’s working better than expected? Tell us everything!
We then give you a Website Traffic Analysis directly from Google Analytics tools which will provide insight into how users are engaging on your new website. This is a great tool for those less technical clients who have a hard time understanding the ever-changing interface of Google Analytics. These reports are great for anyone who wants to know how their website is performing – check back next month for our next topic detailing what’s included with Website Analysis & Reporting!
There you have it, we’ve shared our 11-step approach to web design projects at Array. Don’t worry, you don’t need to memorize it, your dedicated Account Manager is there for you throughout the entire process, and we promise there is no pop quiz at the end of this article! 😉
If you’re ready to overhaul your current website or get a website for the first time, now is a great time to get in touch and make it happen!