When it comes to new projects I find it’s important to have a good process, so that together we can have a successful project. Below I’ve explained an example with a typical website project, but much of this can be applied to any typical design project of mine.
This is where we have in-depth conversations to start off with. We discuss the purpose of the project (website in this case), the goals (what we want to realistically achieve from the website), the users (those that the website is for and those updating the content on it) and functionality etc. From all these discussions we should be able to get a decent understanding of the brief and idea of the pages in the site for a sitemap.
Sometimes this section can be a consultation project in itself if you just want to get an understanding before moving forward with the project.
I generally leave the user research to the client, hopefully you know your users and customers better than I do. We’ll definitely discuss users though, as sometimes it can be difficult to imagine how someone will use your website. We’ll also discuss competition, other businesses/companies similar to yours etc.
I’ll look into some websites related to your users/competitors as well as some that may inspire a individual look for your company/charity.
From our discussions and research I then design a wireframe, this is a rough sketch of squares and sections to figure out the layout and where intended functionality will go.
Once we’re happy with that I’ll get into a bit more of the details in a colour design of the templates in the website. By templates I mean one example of each page in the site that looks ‘different’ to each other – this might mean that the ‘about page’ and ‘services page’ have the same template (layout, functionality, look and feel) but different content. Depending on the project scope, will depend on how many template pages I’ll produce.
I generally create one specific design (with several page templates) for a website project. This is so we can keep budgets down and find a single design that suits your needs rather than spending more time and money on multiple designs that may not match you project brief.
Once you’re happy with the design and can sign it off, then I begin development. Ideally we don’t have any major changes at this point, design and functionality have been agreed on. Colours may be slightly tweaked and content added later, but functionality and templates will reflect the design we agreed on.
I’ll develop the site using WordPress, which means you’ll get a custom designed and development website front-end with a very user friendly content management system that makes it easy for you to edit your content. WordPress is widely used, so updates and any problems you may have in the future can solved by myself or one of the many WordPress developers all around the world (there are a lot of them).
Ideally during the design stage (or earlier) you’ll have an idea of your content, you may just need to edit it or find a few photographs, videos etc. Before I finish development it is good to have the content ready. Then we can pop that into the website and check it all out before it goes live.
I can help you purchase a domain name and website hosting if you don’t already have them. However, you will have complete control over these two things in terms of access and money. I do this to be transparent. Once you’re website goes live it is all yours. You can do with it as you wish and if for some reason I’m unavailable in the future and you need something, then you have complete control over all your website access details so you can contact someone else to help you if need be.
Having a good domain and website hosting can mean a fast, smooth website. Many web hosting companies have excellent customer service and are worth paying a little be extra to get top quality. It would be a pity to have such a great website that is running at snails pace because you’ve got a cheap slow website host.
Once the website is live, with a bit of training (I won’t leave you in the lurch) you can further edit content whenever you need to. It’s all yours now!