Rapid Project Development is about how long it takes to build a web – and how long it should take? Also, does this time include the research, the strategies, the graphical manual and everything else that is needed?
Let’s take a look at web production so we can better understand the importance of having a clear web strategy. To give you an overview, let´s briefly look at the broader production structures. This should help you understand why things don´t always progress exactly the way we imagined through the timeframes initially set up. But, of course, that´s because unforeseen adjustments must be made in order to improve and strengthen your overall concept.
Before we even get started
It may seem too obvious, but still – even before you set off to start developing your web project you must be very sure that you understand and are clear on the nature of your project. Ask yourself, and consider carefully:
- What is the purpose of your site? (e.g. are you trying to promote a service, offer information, or sell a product?)
- What exactly are you hoping to accomplish by building your website? (most often the goal is to either to share information or to make money – be clear on what your aim really is!)
- What is the specific target group you have in mind to help you achieve your goals? (your audience)
These primary considerations are extremely important – we can call it “information gathering” or “purpose identification”. In order to design an effective and successful website it is critical that all the right things are taken into consideration – and it all starts with understanding who you are and what your business dreams and goals are.
After thorough consideration of the above points, you are ready to move on to the planning stage. Based on the information you have gathered and clarity gained from your initial purpose identification phase, you can now start practical work on a tentative site map. “Tentative” because you should remain open to making adjustments which might present themselves as necessary or more sensible through the process.
The site map will function as a rough guideline to what kind of content will later be added to your site and, as such, basically consists of a ´list´ or graphic illustration of the main points and topics to be featured. At this stage you should work closely with your web designer to determine exactly which kinds of technologies should be incorporated in in your sight while, all the time, keeping your potential users and customers´ experience in mind.
Draft version and design
Moving on, it is time to start thinking about your target audience and the intended ´feel´ and experience you want to convey to your site visitors – the factors which will help determine your approach to the visual design of the site. Obviously, you must aim to make your website appealing and to appear trustworthy to your target audience – whether they are e.g. business professionals or teenage consumers – including finding ways to communicate your brand identity across in a strong way, by means of logos and other visual techniques.
This can be a somewhat lengthy process, but also one that´s important not to rush through. Using mock-ups to visualize ideas and possibilities can help ease communication and understanding between you and your web designer. It is important that you continuously exchange ideas, review mock-ups, and work closely together through this stage, as the understanding between you and your web designer will determine the final outcome of your project. This is how you ensure that your final website delivers what you wanted and satisfies your business needs.
Actual production comes next… Most often, this process starts with your web designer creating your ´Home´ page, followed by ´shell´ pages for the rest of your site, according to the site maps and mock-ups you created earlier. The selected design and graphic elements will be implemented to form the basic structural/visual framework.
Also, to complete the development phase, various technical elements – such as your CMS, contact forms, shopping carts, WordPress etc. – will also be made functional as integrated parts of your site. Finally, all your available content is added to the relevant pages. You – being the project owner – should be involved throughout the actual production to help test and approve various elements continuously.
Delivery of your website
Before your finished web project can be ´delivered´ and launched to the public, it is critical that you go through a diligent process of testing. Make very sure that – first of all – that your site can be viewed properly via all relevant browsers and on different (handheld) devices and that the written code validates etc.
Further, run tests to check that shopping carts, payment gateways, search functions etc. are all functioning. At this point of your (perhaps “long-time-coming”) project it is only natural that you will be very excited and eager to see you “baby” finally ´out there´ and taking off. However, it would be equally heartbreaking to launch your site to launch your site – only to see it fail, break down or giving visitors a bad experience. So, do take time to test together with your web designer!
After you´ve finished thorough testing, your final approval to the designer will mark the conclusion to your website development – you are ready to ´go live´ and launch to the public!
Is there a better way?
Can you improve on our structures? Do you have the skills and experience we need? – Apply for a job here!