Amongst everything else that is part of your job, particularly in a small business, managing the design and development of your website can feel like a step into the unknown. What’s the web design process for me? What do I need to supply?
At Tad Web Solutions, we’re open and transparent throughout our whole process and understandably, our clients play a huge role in each of our projects. The process for creating a company website can differ from project-to-project and particularly agency-to-agency. To give you an idea of what to expect when it comes to your next web project, here’s a rough guide to our process.
For this example, we’ll assume you’re an already established business with existing branding. You already have a logo and colour scheme and are looking to bring your presence online up to speed as your business grows. You need a website that looks great and complements your business. What’s the process?
Web Design: Prerequisites
Every project starts with a conversation. We’ll speak to you in person, or over the phone, to fully understand your requirements, to get to know your business and get to know you. From here we can begin to imagine how your website should look and how you want website visitors to interact with you online – send an enquiry, purchase a product, download a brochure, and so on. You should have a firm idea of the pages that will be on your website and the content for each page, though this is not essential. Some clients choose to work with us and copywriters or consultants to finalise their website content.
With an idea in mind and having agreed a price for your project, we’ll request a few things from you to get started. You’ll most likely choose to provide these by email.
- Digital copies of your company branding.
- A copy of your brand guidelines (not always applicable).
- Written down version of any ideas or key features for your website.
- Any photos you would like to include on the website (not always required as you may choose to use Shutterstock or Adobe Stock images).
- List of pages and initial content for each page.
What we’ll do: Meet you, understand your requirements.
What you need to do: Meet with us, explain your needs for your website and provide materials.
Wireframe: The Homepage
With these assets, your ideas and our experience, we can begin to create a ‘wireframe’ in the form of an image. This is our first draft of how we can turn your vision into a reality and illustrate where to include your call to action, key elements such as your KPIs or testimonials and much more.
With any first draft, there’ll be elements you like and some you don’t. An image can be created much quicker than a website homepage, so we use this wireframe for you to assess what you like, what you don’t like and what needs to be tweaked. A vision can look great in your head and not so much on paper (or on the web). We’ll work with you to review the wireframe, review feedback and work to refine until the homepage wireframe is signed off by you.
We start with the homepage as it will set the tone for your entire website. A large proportion of your website traffic will find your homepage first, so we start by designing this and then tailor your inner pages, such as service pages and contact pages, to complement. Dependent on the size of your final website, you may also choose to have wireframes of your inner pages and product pages created before the website is created. We’ll go through the same process as the homepage to ensure every page meets your exact requirements.
What we’ll do: Create wireframes to illustrate how your final website will look.
What you need to do: Provide feedback on wireframes.
The Web Design Process: The Start
With a wireframe, or wireframes, agreed we can begin to bring these images to life through web design. Websites that are not finished are stored behind a username and password, so you don’t need to worry about anyone finding your new website before it’s finished. We typically start by creating your homepage in accordance with an agreed design and a single inner page or product page, so that you can begin to imagine how your website will look as a whole when a visitor finds your homepage and begins to click links through to different pages.
With a first draft sent to you and again ask for your feedback and any notes. You may choose to share this first draft with colleagues, friends or family members to get a good range of feedback and insight. Pass your notes onto us and we can make any amendments.
With your feedback, our talented web design team will then create a second draft for another round of feedback. You might decide these revisions are great and that you’re happy – this is the final design, or decide that there are some further tweaks to make to perfect your vision before we’re ready to continue with the next step.
What we’ll do: Turn your wireframes into a draft website.
What you need to do: Provide feedback on drafts, perhaps share the website draft with colleagues or friends.
The Whole Picture
With a homepage and inner page design agreed and on the web, we’ll begin work on your remaining inner pages. We’ll soon have a full draft of your website ready for you to visit and again share with colleagues or friends for feedback.
We can use this feedback from different users to ensure that your website is easy to use, the content is understandable and your requested features work as you would expect. You might then choose after reviewing this feedback to change how parts of your website work or change your menu structure. We’re on hand to advise and help through every step.
After utilising this feedback, we can make any agreed changes and prepare to launch your website.
What we’ll do: Use your feedback to finalise drafts and create the remaining pages for your website.
What you need to do: Provide further feedback, share the website with colleagues or friends.
Many of our clients choose to wait from a few days to a few weeks between completing a website and opening it up to the public. This gives you time to share it further with colleagues, friends and trusted partners to provide honest feedback so that we can deliver any final tweaks. This also gives you time to prepare any form of press release or marketing campaign alongside the release of your new website.
When you’re ready your website is launched and we’ll monitor traffic for any common issues. It’s impossible to build a website for clients without having clients use it, so over the next 28 days you can provide us with any further tweaks and changes to details based on feedback you may receive from website visitors to improve your website and they’ll be carried out at no charge. After that point, we’d agree that your website is finished and signed off.
What we’ll do: Launch your website
What you need to do: Prepare are marketing or PR, provide any feedback or issues from clients.
Expanding Your Idea & Monitoring Data
After being launched for a few months, you might have further ideas or plans to expand your website based on data. All of the websites we build are able to be expanded upon so we can again schedule a conversation in person or over the phone to plan your ideas and how to build upon your website further.
Dealing with the web design process on top of everything else you do at work can feel like a daunting process, but try not to worry. Our team at Tad Web Solutions are here to help. You should always research before deciding on a web agency, understanding their process to a project is just the first step.
If you’re not sure about your next website, we would be more than happy to help walk you through the process. Get in touch.