Ever wonder what process goes into designing a website? Everybody has their own method, keep reading to see a glimpse into how we do it at Vancouver Island Works Project.
When it comes to building a new website, we always start at the same place:
We start with a client who has come to us with a problem
Each problem is different but here are some common ones we see:
- Their site is out of date
- They are not acquiring customers
- Their business is hard to find in search engines
- The website is not operating as it should (there are bugs)
- They want to increase sales
- or maybe they do not have a site at all!
Whatever the problem is, we are here to come up with a solution. Sometimes the solution only requires us to work on their current site and fix it up. Sometimes the solution calls for a new site all together.
Next, will show you the steps we take to design and deliver affordable quality websites and provide solutions to your web based problems.
1. Gather Requirements
Firstly, we are going to want to talk with you and learn all about your business and your needs regarding your new or improved website. This is where we chat, ask questions, and gather the requirements we need to lift your website up to where it needs it to be.
If you have an existing website, this is a good time for us to sit down and have a look at it. You can tell us what you love about the site, what you don’t love, and what you want it to be or achieve.
If you don’t have an existing website, that’s okay! We can talk and brainstorm just the same.
Each meetup is different and it really depends on the problem, but one aspect remains the same: We listen to your problem and gather the information we need to come up with a solution.
Discovery (aka research) is the period where we learn not only about your business but about your competition, your customers/clients, and your industry overall. Think of it like we are putting ourselves in your shoes, your competitors shoes, and your customers shoes. We look at all possible stakeholders and learn the effects this site will have on them. As a result we can gather insight on your stakeholders needs regarding the website.
3. Mockups/ Prototypes
This is where you get a sneak peak at the look and feel of your new site, here our web designers will build a prototype of your website based on the information we have gathered from your needs and our research.
What is a website prototype?
A website prototype is an interactive demo of the site that end-users can click through and look at each page design. Prototypes may be of an entire site, one or two pages, or a single component.
At this stage we focus on the look/ design of the website in particular and lay down a good foundation for the overall user experience.
During this time we will keep communication up with you and may ask for assets and content to aid with our design process. Assets include all media (documents, videos, pictures) needed for your site and content will include all of the copywriting. At this stage assets and content are not required yet because we can always use placeholders in our mockup. But we will need them for development.
Don’t have content and assets? We can certainly help you with that.
In addition to assets and content we will also ask about your branding styles including brand colours, fonts etc. If you do not have branding that is okay!
Last, We will share links of the prototype(s) with you so you can view them from the comfort of your home or office. When you view the prototypes you are welcome to provide feedback and request changes.
This is where your site starts to come alive! At this stage we start to build your site. We will take the look we created in the mockup and we will create the real live version of it online and add all the functionality it needs.
Generally we use a staging site that allows us to build in a safe and controlled environment. This staging site will be hidden to your clients but it will be visible to any admins (the developers, and you). This site will not affect your current site (if you have one) It will stand on its own.
At this point we will need all assets and content in order to optimize and put them into the site. If you do not have these items then feel free to talk with us, we can help provide copywriting and images.
We are at the stage where the site is almost ready to launch; it is all designed and developed, we just need to take a deeper dive into all the functions and components to make sure they all work as they should.
This is where we have multiple developers use all of the functions of the site to make sure it all works correctly. Some common tests we may do include:
- Make sure e-commerce payments go through
- Ensure forms send correctly and all validations are working
- Check for any broken links
- Test site on multiple device sizes and browsers
We do tests throughout our development phase; but once development is all done we run our tests over again to ensure everything is working as it should.
At this point the site looks as it should, it runs as it should, and it’s ready to launch. Here we will communicate with you and arrange a time that works best for the website migration.
We will make a full backup of your current site as well as the new site to be migrated
And then we migrate it over! This is a great time to get on social media and let your stakeholders know of the new site. We will stick around and monitor your site during launch to make sure it continues to be smooth.
Are we done yet? Not quite, see the web does not really stop growing and transforming. At this stage there are many ongoing web maintenance tasks that we should keep up with. Some maintenance tasks may look like:
- Refine SEO
- Ongoing updates, backups
- Design updates including new features, components, and general designs
- Monitor analytics
Keeping up with website maintenance will keep your online business running as smooth as ever.
To sum it up, there is a solution to whatever web-based problem you are facing. At Vancouver Island Works Project we will approach this problem in a careful and methodical way from gathering requirements to launch and we will stick with you for ongoing maintenance.
Interested in affordable web design & development and/or ongoing website maintenance services in Vancouver Island and Vancouver BC? Ask us about our affordable web package options! It doesn’t matter whether you need a new site built or if you just need help with your current site – we will always check under the hood and see how best we can optimize your web presence.