Great web design is not a conjuring trick. It cannot be produced out of thin air. It is a product that is hard won through a coming together of imagination, effort, technical proficiency and taking it through an exhaustive process of web design.
The process of web design is composed of different phases, with each phase taking the website further towards completion. Taking the website through each stage is absolutely necessary if you are to have any chance of building a successful website. Taking a closer look at this process will definitely give you a clear idea as to why a well-planned, clearly defined process lies at the back of all successful websites.
The web design process needs to be planned in great detail. So, this is arguably the most important stage and whatever is accomplished in the later stages of the web design process is all a result of proper planning. There are certain essential components that are a part of this stage:
1. Requirement gathering and analysis
Client interaction will offer a clear picture about the purpose of the website, its objectives, the target audience and the design concept that the client has in mind. It is at this point of time that designers will need to flesh out all the details of project with the client, improve upon the concept and make it more feasible.
All information that has been collected now needs to be put down on paper. Also known as project charter, this paper work underlines all the client requirements and clearly defines all aspects of the project that the designers have agreed to fulfill.
3. Determination of Resources and Technology
Yet another important component of this stage is identifying the various resources that are needed for the project and also zeroing on the software that are going to be used for project development. By studying, analyzing and evaluating the needs and objectives of the client, designers can freeze on the resources and technologies that can help them perfectly cater to all client requirements.
This stage helps give shape to whatever has been put on paper. All the information gathered at the planning stage forms the basis of the visual layout of the website that is given shape during this phase. A wireframe and/or mockup of the website is created, which uses various design elements that are going to be a part of the final website design. Usually, designers prefer using software like Photoshop for creating mock-ups, which means they can be edited easily during the review cycle. The mockup of the site goes through a period of tweaking till the client and designer are not satisfied with the design. Once the design is approved, it’s coded using HTML and CSS, as well as, JQuery. By the end of the design stage, the visuals come together on the screen.
This is the stage where the website is fitted with its engine, which essentially means its development framework is put in place. For e.g. if the website is going to use a CMS, this is the time for its implementation. The various page templates are also coded during this stage. If the website has any interactive elements, then this is the phase where they are tested. Once all this is done, content is loaded onto the website and finally the whole website is tested on various parameters. Testing is a very important part of the development stage and each and every aspect of the website, including landing page, navigation, validation pages, links and everything else is checked thoroughly for their functionality.
But this is by no means the end of the process. The website still remains to be launched. This includes aspects such as transferring the website to a live server, checking its cross browser compatibility etc. and then handing it over to the client. As can be imagined, one can’t rest easy at any stage of the design process. Everything hinges on attention to detail and the designers not taking a step wrong. This is also the reason why it so important to get your site designed by an experienced designer who has the necessary proficiency in all aspects of the design process.
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