What follows is a process that I recommend, but in reality every client I’ve had has been different so basically I’m flexible and we’ll make it work, but this is how I’d like it to work…
- We get in touch and discuss what you’re hoping for. We’ll determine the main goals of your site, roughly how much content it will contain, what features we may need, and whether you need any work developing a logo and colour scheme.
If you’d like to meet in person that’s fine at any stage in this process, or we can talk on the phone or just email, whatever you’re more comfortable with. (Some of my clients live locally, some are spread around Australia and others are in Europe and North America.)
- I’ll prepare a quote.
- If you’re happy to go ahead I might ask you to fill out a quick design questionnaire so I get a feel for the look that you’d like for your site. It also helps if you can give some examples of other sites that you love and hate and why (they don’t have to be related to your business).
I’ll also ask for a deposit to be paid at this time.
- Ideally you’ll be able to supply drafts of all the content before the designing even starts. This is because the design should depend on the content – its mood and its goals. I can help shape your content if you want.
We also need to work out the organisation of your site – the ‘information architecture’ – the order that we present your content, what pages there are, what sections pages are grouped in. I like to be involved in this step.
And depending on your goals, it’s probably best to do SEO research even before starting the content! This can add a thick layer of complexity and expense to the project though, so I recommend you check out my guide to SEO so you’re well informed from the beginning.
So hopefully you supply me with your content and some answers from my design questionnaire, as well as some examples of sites and features that you love and hate.
- To start the design process I’ll prepare 2 or 3 initial stylescapes – these aren’t page layouts as such, they’re intended to give an overall look and feel of the site.
After receiving feedback I’ll prepare some actual page mock-ups at different screen sizes in image format for your comments.
- When you’re happy with the design I’ll develop the site (do all the coding). I would like final copies of all your content (text and images etc.) before starting this development stage.
Then I’ll upload a working version to a test server so you can check it all out.
- And as soon as you’re happy with that we can make it live on your domain! I’ll also do some housekeeping like telling Google about your site and setting up Analytics etc.
- And finally, it’s important to remember that after your site is live it’s still really easy to make changes, so if you decide to change anything now it’s usually fine.
(Small things like a wording change or two only take a few minutes, if you’d like me to do it would be free. Rearranging pages or adding new content might take a little longer, I’d charge by the hour or part thereof. Bigger feature or structural changes would cost more, I’d let you know roughly beforehand.)