Thinking about getting a new website, but not sure what the web design process is? We’ve put together a quick and straightforward guide to the stages of web design.
Even though your web designer will be doing the heavy lifting, tech-wise, you’ll need to be on-hand to make decisions and feed through information. Your designer will take you through each step; however, it’s always helpful to know a bit more about the process.
What does the website need to do?
This is the first thing your web designer needs to know. Broadly speaking, websites are a combination of information and marketing, with the balance changing according to the product or service. So, your designer needs to know what your organisation is and who you need to reach. For us, knowing the target audience is key: for example, B2B and B2C websites often look and feel very different to each other.
How can the website achieve this?
The next stage is to define the scope of the site in relation to these goals. If your website is simply to give you an online presence and advertise your contact details, a few pages is fine. For online retail sales or bookings, we’re looking at a larger structure with more technical features. Then, there’s making sure that the navigation, language and look of the website appeal to your target audience.
How is the website organised?
This is where designers start talking about site maps and wire frames. Basically, this is how the site is structured for (hopefully) easy and intuitive navigation. At Brown & Brown, we work with our clients to keep the site architecture as simple as possible. As we all know from experience, getting lost inside a website is a deeply frustrating experience; and if your navigation is too time-consuming, you may lose out to a competitor.
What website content is needed?
Content is the copy, images and films that go on your site. Again, the balance of words and pictures depends on the subject. You may already have your web content prepared, or you may want to hire professional writers and photographers. Other things to think about include whether you want a regular blog, social media tie-ins, downloadable content (from instruction manuals to menus) and a search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy.
What about the website design?
What do you want the website to look like? Is there a trend in your industry (it’s worth checking out the competition)? You may have an existing brand or be starting from scratch. At the very least, a consistent colour palette and typeface gives a professional gloss to even the smallest of websites. When it comes to design, remember that your content could be viewed on everything from a smartphone to a smart TV.
What about the website’s technical development?
The technical aspect of the site depends upon the scope we spoke about earlier. Your website may need to be integrated with a third-party system such as a payment gateway, booking engine or accounting software. If you want to be able to update the site yourself, the web builder can construct a content management system for easy content maintenance.
When should the website go live?
Test and snag. Repeat. At Brown & Brown, nothing goes live until it’s been thoroughly tested. Make sure your hosting and domain is set up and ready, and that the SSL certificate (this authenticates your website) is in place.
One of the beauties of a website is that unlike printed material, you can change things. However, if there are errors, you want to be the one to spot them, not your customers. All checks in place, it’s time to go live. Whether you go for a “soft launch” or pop the champagne corks is up to you.
From the client’s point of view, web design can (and should) be really simple. If you know what you want the site to do and who you’re trying to reach, that’s the best bit of information the designers can have. You can leave the wire frames and third-party integration stuff to us.
If you’d like to know more about web design and how we can work together, please contact us at Brown & Brown for a chat.
Author Kate Waddon. First published Fri, 06 Nov 2020 15:34:50 +0000