We work with the client to determine what goals the new website needs to fulfill. What's the website's goal? Sell products and services? Online visibility? The designer/programmer, the client, and sometimes even the stakeholders, need to explore questions and answers in this stage. What's the target audience? Children, teenagers, adults? Every website has competition, so we need to develop a working knowledge of the competition. In this stage, we need to determine how we'll differ from the competition. This is the most important stage in the development process, since, if something goes wrong in this stage, the whole project can set off in the wrong direction.
We need to define the scope of the project. We need to know the site's goals. What features does the site requires to fulfill the goal? This is the step where we choose the technologies we are going to use, and the software development methodology, defining the deliverables. This is the stage where we create Sitemaps and Wireframes. The sitemap will provide the foundation for any properly designed website, and it is created using the information we collected in the first stage. The primary function of a sitemap is to frame the website structure and make it user friendly. We also need wireframes. Wireframes provide a visual description of the site. Wireframes are used to decide what functions and features the website is going to have. Some of the usual functions we wireframe are login, email subscription, and the home page. Wireframes can help us get to know the client, and they can help us identify flaws in the sitemaps. They don't need to contain every element of the website, but they need to be good enough to guide and inspire both client and developer. A client may have a goal in mind, but this goal can expand or change during the design process (this is why wireframes and sitemaps are important). If the change in expectations isn't matched by a budget increase or a new timeline, the project can be in trouble.
Sometimes this is the first step, and that's because a client may already have a template in mind. After the creation of a sitemap, wireframes, and a roadmap, it is time to design the website. Wireframes are turned into color graphics, animations, buttons, and menus. This part of the development process depends on what the website represents. For example, if it represents a brand, the website's color palette should be similar to the brand's logo, and the blend of colors must be part of the user experience. In most cases, the website look is described by the client, but the target audience is one of the key factors. Needless to say, this is the stage where a good web designer shows his skills. Today's websites need to be mobile-friendly and look great in all browsers. You need to use the right fonts, colors, and design motifs, and you need images that look good.
Dull and lifeless content will drive visitors away. Excellent and engaging content is necessary to keep users interested in your website. The writing needs to be good, and it needs to look good as well (good typography, good visuals). The content should contain headings, subheadings, tags, etc. so that people can find what they are looking for. This is the stage where Search Engine Optimization comes into play. Your content needs to have the right keywords and key-phrases to boosts your site’s visibility for search engines. The closer the keywords are to the beginning of your content, the better. In this stage, the client is the one that supplies the content. But it is up to the developer to make the content keyword-rich, and put the right keywords in H1 tags and meta descriptions.
Let's face it, this is the most unpleasant part of the process, for sometimes errors are hard to find and fix. Some of the things we need to test are: website speed, cross-browser compatibility, and conduct multiple screen tests. We need to check every page and every link before launching the site. We need to be rigorous and meticulous. Make sure there are no programming bugs, and use code validators to make sure the code follows the current web development standards. Everything must run without a glitch. Comprehensive testing can also reveal future improvements.
Once everything's functioning, it's time to launch the site! This is our compensation for all the hard work.
Most developers are happy to provide maintenance services. Maintenance work often involves giving customers the source code, project documents, and post-development support. Once the site goes live, you often need maintenance, general updates, or even adding new features. And we always need to monitor analytics. Maintenance can be facilitated by collecting user feedback. The essence of maintenance is to continually enhance your project.