Example web design process

The following are examples of the sort of processes a decent web design company should follow when designing and building your website. This is intended as a guide, and the following will vary depending on your needs.

Ask the prospective design company or freelancer to explain their process — if they miss too many steps from the following you should perhaps reconsider!

Smaller site

  1. Meeting to discuss requirements.
  2. Brief should be agreed.
  3. A sitemap will be created to show the various pages and sections that will make up your site.
  4. Wireframes should be produced to show site functionality. Wireframes can be thought of a rough sketch of the site.
  5. A mockup of the homepage and at least one other page should be created.
  6. The site should be built and tested with major browsers before delivery.

Medium to large site

Planning stage

  1. Meeting to discuss requirements.
  2. A comprehensive brief will be written by the web designer explaining what the project will entail and the desired outcomes.
  3. A set of customer personas may be developed. These are profiles of archetypal users and can be very useful for anyone involved in creating design elements or content for the site. The personas can be referred to throughout the process ensuring that any work produced is appropriate for your target audience.

Design stage

  1. A sitemap will be created to show the various pages and sections that will make up your site.
  2. A set of wireframes should be produced to show the functionality of each page or site section. Wireframes can be thought of a rough sketch of the site.
  3. A ‘mood board’ may be produced to indicate the visual style of the site. Mood boards and wireframes are two side of a coin. Whilst wireframes show functionality without aesthetics mood boards indicate the style of the site without getting bogged down in precise layouts.
  4. Once wireframes and mood boards have been approved you should expect to see a mockup of key sections of the site. The mockup may have some limited functionality or it may be completely static. Mockups should be seen onscreen, not as print outs.

Build and launch

  1. A first working version of the site will be produced. This is sometimes referred to as the beta version and is used for browser and user testing. If the site uses a content management system (CMS) you should be given a login to the admin interface at this point.
  2. The launch version of the site should be delivered in the way you have agreed. The design company may have supplied or arranged hosting or may be delivering the files to you to make your own arrangements. If this is the case, make sure you understand any installation procedures.

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