Web designers and developers, often think Web in terms of wire frames, content management systems and code. But experienced professionals know that the success of a Web design and development is not determined by the code, social media integration or attractive visuals. Designing a captivating website requires a well-organized online strategy focused on achieving organizational goals — that can be anything from attracting visitors or buying products or introducing visitors to a new brand.
As a designer or developer, can become one of the most valuable and influential members of the Web team to understand how to develop an effective online strategy. There are several people who can write code and have knowledge about the design, but only few of them have the talent and tools needed to create a Web site that helps an organization achieve its goals. This blog will focus on the key tactics, content and design elements that go into creating a strategic Web presence.
The Website Design and Development Process
There are several steps in the web site design and development process. From information gathering, to the creation of the web site, and finally to maintenance to keep the web site up to date.
Phase 1: Gathering of Information
The first step in designing a successful web site is to gather information or data. Look and Feel will also be taken into consideration.
It is important that web designer should a list of questions to help them understand the business and their needs in a web site.
Certain things to keep in mind are:
- What is the purpose of the site?
- Is the site is for just providing information, promoting any service or selling a product?
- What will be accomplished by making the website?
- Major goals will either consists of making money or sharing information.
c. Target Audience
- What would be the specific group of people which will help you reach your goals?
- What kind of information or data will target audience are looking in a website? For example: are they looking for specific information, any specific product or service etc.?
Phase 2: Planning
As per the information or data gathered in phase one, it is time to put together a plan of the web site. This is when a site map is developed.
The site map consists of a list of all the main topic areas or sub-topics of the site. It serves as a guide to what content is there on the site, and is essential to develop an easy to understand navigational system. A good user interface creates an easy to navigate web site.
During the phase, it will also be planned what technologies should be implemented and any contact forms will be added are discussed when planning the site.
Phase 3: Design
After planning, next comes the design part where the look and feel of the site will be done.
Target audience is one of the key factors taken into consideration. For example, A site made for teenagers, for example, will look much different than one meant for a financial institution. It is also important to include elements like logo or colors which can strengthen the identity of the company.
In this phase, communication between both client and designer is critical to ensure that the final web site will matches per the requirements.
Phase 4: Development
The developmental stage is the phase where website is created. At this time, web designer will take all of the graphic elements from the prototype and use them to create functional site.
Phase 5: Search Engine Optimization
SEO is the process of optimizing the web site with elements such as title, description and keyword tags which will help in achieving higher rankings in the search engines. The meta tags should be included in the file before make it live. This is a very important step, having a website is not sufficient till the time it doesn’t reach the target audience!
Phase 6: Testing and Delivery
At this point, the web developers will check the minute details and test the web site. They will test functionality of forms or other scripts, as well last testing for compatibility issues (viewing differences between different web browsers), ensuring that web site is optimized and viewed properly in the most recent browser versions.
As part of testing, web developer should make sure that valid code is written. Valid code means that the site meets the current web development standards.
Once the site is approved by both web designer, developer and the client, an FTP (File Transfer Protocol) program is used to upload the web site files to the server. Some web development companies also offer domain name registration and web hosting services as well, or have recommendations as to where one can host the site.
Phase 7: Maintenance
Every Website needs constant care and maintenance. Updating content, making changes to the backend, taking backup and fixing broken links are all comes under maintenance. All of these critical in the Web design and development process. But the main strategy is to achieve a goal, move the organization forward, to prosper in a competitive environment.
The web designer and developers should work closely to achieve the desired goal. A good working relationship with the designers and developers, including an open line of communication, is important to ensure they are creating a successful web site that will help any business grow.