I was recently told in the comments that some posts do not correspond to the blog format, which is positioned as a useful resource specifically for web designers. On the one hand, a lot of attention is really paid to a graphic editor, for example, photoshop, but on the other hand, this is also part of the work, and not insignificant. Nevertheless, today I decided to publish a post that would partly satisfy those wishing to read something about creating sites. At the same time, I decided not to limit myself to one web design, but to consider the issue more broadly.
If you want to competently and professionally approach the website development process, you need to consider all the details and carefully consider all stages of project creation… In this business, nothing can be overlooked, although often the developers are guilty of this. As for the “stages of creation”, then, probably, everyone can have their own, which depends on who and how he is used to working. Nevertheless, there is a certain list of general (recommended) points that it would be desirable to fulfill. In any case, it is helpful to define a clear, structured plan for yourself so that no details are overlooked.
Typically, a project workflow looks like this:
- Study of the issue;
- Design, concept development;
- Design development;
- Website creation;
- Website launch;
- Site support;
This article was used as a source of inspiration. Let’s take a closer look at each stage.
Study the issue
“Why study something?” – you ask – “we are already quite experienced people.” In fact, this is one of the most important stages. You can be an experienced developer but understand nothing about the “womens shoes” that the site will be dedicated to. Therefore, before proceeding to the stage of website development, you must have an idea of the subject and topic of which the website will be devoted. Not that you need to delve into all the subtleties of this niche, study many models of women’s shoes, just evaluate the main features and nuances of the subject area.
When you’re designing a website for a client, spend as much time as possible on the initial communication with the client. You need to find out about the goals and objectives, deadlines, target audience, estimated budget, and more. Get as much information as possible. At the end of this stage you should have a clear understanding of what is required of you… In this difficult matter, such a concept as “brief” can help you. This is something like a list of standard questions for a future project, where you can find out the preferences and wishes of the customer. Of course, a “website development brief” will not replace personal communication with a client, but it can be used at the initial stages of cooperation – send it by mail, or conduct a survey by telephone. The “brief” can include various questions – from the audience of the project, the planned budget to personal preferences in the design and functionality of the site.
General design, prototyping
After you have decided on the goals and objectives, you can proceed to developing a basic layout… You can start this stage by visiting competitors’ sites. Surely someone did something like this before you. Therefore, the first task is to study the best examples of sites on a similar (or close topic) and note for yourself the advantages and disadvantages of each of them. Taking into account the experience of competitors, you can move on to a brainstorm, during which you need to determine the overall design concept, basic elements, colors, fonts, and more. We do not forget, of course, the wishes of the customer.
The last stage of design is creating a sketch, a wireframe. It can be done on paper, using special programs and services. If you’re working with a client, be sure to validate your baseline before moving on. In principle, in my practice, I saw that the “basic outline of the layout” was not always approved. The only exception can be considered only the development of logos, where it is important to immediately understand in which direction to move. But as for the design of sites, not all customers could understand anything from the sketch, as a rule, the basic structure of the site, the arrangement of blocks and the color scheme were determined. Although to some extent this can be considered a “sketch” 🙂
Website design development
It’s time to “build up meat on our frame”. Many designers or developers start from this stage right away, ignoring the “research question” and “layout”. In my opinion, this is not entirely wrong, or rather, to say that with the preparatory stages it will be much easier and more efficient for you to work – solve all basic questions and details for yourself earlier, now only concentrating on creating a design. Thus, having studied the subject and going through the stage of creating a simplified layout, you will predefine the content and then you will not lose sight of anything. Design development is the stage of determining with the form in which you will dress your content, this is the detailing of the layout.
Typically, such a design is created in Photoshop or another graphics editor. The finished design should almost completely correspond to the final product (elements, colors, pictures, fonts), except that the text can be inserted while staged. It should be remembered that design development includes not only the main page, it is also necessary to develop subpages, and maybe “additional versions” for mobile devices or some other special purposes.
Be sure to approve the finished design with the customer before proceeding to the next step. Then going back and redoing it will be more difficult (more time consuming). It is imperative to draw the customer’s attention to this nuance – imagine yourself that you have completed all the work on coding or installing cms, and then the client suddenly changed his mind about the design. This, of course, happens, but risks should be minimized.
At this stage, we need to turn the “picture” (detailed design) into a live site. This stage varies significantly for different webmasters. It all depends on how, on what basis and for what CMS (if any) you write the code. Experienced artisans usually already have prepared “blanks” of HTML / CSS, so after “slicing” the necessary elements in Photoshop, the markup process may not take so much time. At the same time, do not forget about beautiful and correct HTML layout.
After writing, debugging, testing in different browsers, validating and fixing errors, you can proceed to the next stage. By the way, after this stage, I personally also provide the result of the work to the customer for approval, if the site is developed on cms typo3 where it is necessary to connect (adapt) the created HTML in the admin panel. If we talk about WordPress, then, most likely, it is better to immediately create a template without “preliminary layout”.
If your site is flawlessly “licked”, works flawlessly and everyone likes it, you can finally publish it. Do not forget to check everything thoroughly (it is good to have a pre-launch checklist for this case), after you upload the site to hosting via ftp, test everything thoroughly again. In principle, you can create a website directly on the hosting – in this case, firstly, you will not have to “move the site” from the local computer, and secondly, everything is tested in real mode in real conditions (and the host’s settings), third, the customer can follow the progress of the work.
It is not in the literal sense of the word a stage of development, but it is worth deciding the issue of support and further development in advance – will you deal with this issue, or the customer will be able to do everything himself. In addition, after the delivery of the site, developed on some management system (CMS), the client should be provided with documentation on how to work with it, or a little training.
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