Website design and development is a long and complex process with several layers in it. Although, the process varies a little according to the size and strength of the organization, the basics usually remain the same. Following this process will certainly make web design and development much smoother and fruitful.
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Some of the best practices related to website design and development mentioned below will certainly help you get a direction while working for your clients/projects.
1. Discovery: This is the first or the introductory phase. As a web marketer or designer, you must first get a thorough understanding of the business and the objective of making the website, web platform or app. The objective can be to provide information, generate leads, ecommerce or actual sales or plain branding. This would also include understanding the products, services, target audience and target market. For this, you must have a clear dialogue with your client, ask as many questions as possible and conduct extensive research. Only when you are thorough with this, you should move to the next stage.
2. Planning: Once you have all the information, the next step is to make a comprehensive plan for website design and development. Based on the research, you must plan the different features and elements that you need to include in your website. Prepare a sitemap or a wireframe (rough layout) on your drawing board or a paper to help you visualize better. This is when you will have to rope in the web designers and developers to discuss about the design, look and feel and the technology to use.
3. Share the Plan: Once website design and development plan is finalized lay it out clearly and share it with your clients. This helps you in gaining any suggestions, points you may have missed and an overall feedback about the direction that you are heading. Also, this helps in maintaining clarity and has no scope for confusion.
4. Execution: This is the real battleground as far as the website design and development process is concerned. This is the stage where your ideas actually come to life. This is the production stage wherein website designer actually make the design, copywriters add copy based on the concept, developers prepare the code and put it live. While designers prepare the design, the developers take care of the front end and back-end development. Make sure that once in this stage you cannot or should not make any major changes.
5. Testing & Delivery: The last step in the website design and development process is testing and delivery. Once the website/web platform/app is ready, test it. This is the stage when you look for any bugs or discrepancies and lend the final touches. While you may have an independent testing executive doing this, it is a good idea to ask a close group of diverse people to test it. It may be people from your office, friends, family and clients. This will help you fix not just technical but even usability issues that the website may have. Once the testing is done and the bugs are fixed, voila, you are ready to go live!
While this may seem as a standard norm or process, you will be surprised that many web marketers and designers do not follow this and thus fail. However, sticking to these points will certainly help you in delivering productive results.