Web developers usually follow a basic design process that is somewhat similar for every web design project. The web design development process outlines the steps to successfully complete a project by assigning tasks and resources to each phase. A typical website design process consists of five steps:
I. Planning Phase
Web designers need to gather important information from the client and pay attention to detail. They should investigate the purpose of the website, the goals that the client wishes to achieve through it, the target audience, and the kind of content the website would have. After the client requirements are analyzed, a project charter is created that serves as a reference for the project. Designers also plan a roadmap for the project by drawing a site map to add structure and navigation to the website design. They also decide upon the resources and the technologies that will be used during the site web design.
II. Design Phase
The design phase is a step forward to convert the website idea into reality and decide upon the look and feel of the website. The design idea is given a visual representation by ‘wire framing’ the layout using pen and paper, and/or mock-ups in Photoshop. After the prototypes are finalized with the client, web developers write the HTML and CSS code for the basic design. During this phase, developers should maintain close liaison with the client and design a website keeping in view what was planned earlier.
III. Development Phase
This stage involves the creation of a functional website from the graphic elements highlighted in the prototype. Developers carry out programming work, build code templates for each page and load the content. Elements such as flash animations, interactive contact/feedback forms, or ecommerce shopping carts are added and their functionality tested. As the website takes form, each web page is tested to ensure that everything is in proper order and working.
IV. Implementation Phase
The implementation phase involves adding final touches to the website to make it ready for launching on the web. The design elements are twitched, and the interactivity and features are tested for a positive user experience. The website is also moved to a live server to test its compatibility on different browsers and versions. Web developers also run the website through broken-link checkers, code validators, spell-checker, and website health checks for fixing any such faults.
At this final stage, the web designer provides the client with documentation for the website including the soft copy of the site map, framework details and languages used. You should make sure that you have completed all the project requirements and answer all the client’s queries. This does not mean that you let go of all contact with the client but rather maintain a relationship with the client for future maintenance and ongoing support. Website owners should work closely with the website design and development company to create a thriving web site design that will help their business grow.