A simple guide to the web design process.
Don’t want to make the same mistakes you made the last time? On a tight timescale or limited budget? Then plan effectively, it will save you both time and money, here are some steps to consider.
Not sure where to start?
It may seem an obvious first step but so many people tend to jump straight into constructing the wire frame or design brief. Review your website Google Analytics - What pages retain visitors for the longest? Is there a penetration of bounce rates on certain pages? What is currently working well and what isn’t? Don’t just rely on analysis though, seek some customer/client feedback, it doesn’t take long to circulate a simple survey for feedback.
Content Planning - back to basics
How do you want to be found by your target audience online? What are your keywords, long-term phrases, short-term phrases? Think laterally for your keywords, don’t just focus on words which describe your product or service. What are the broad subject headings you need to include for your menu sections and sub-sections? Do you need to inject credibility of your product through review, testimonials, knowledge, advice, tips etc? Who do you need to contact internally for updated information?
For most marketing professionals this is the most daunting task particularly if you must conduct a complete overhaul of text. If you’re lucky enough to have brand guidelines, you can follow the brand tone of voice. Remember you’re telling a story, you want to inform, engage, inspire, motivate and leave a lasting impression. It’s vitally important to tackle the actual copy before you begin the wireframe, you’ll be amazed how quickly this will speed up the overall process.
If you’ve done the content planning and copy, this should be a relatively straightforward process but leave some flexibility for design to make tweaks. An initial meeting with the designer and web developer will iron out any anomalies and provide a concise, clear brief which is the foundation of a successful plan.
Make sure you include within the design brief any preferences for imagery, detail any videos or animations to be used. Ensure you have the permission to use any other company logos within your portfolio. Providing the content with the design brief is a dream, and perhaps wishful thinking but it’s a perfect combination. Once you’ve signed off the initial visuals the actual website build can begin - yes, the exciting part!
Don’t forget to communicate internally. You may want create an internal teaser campaign to inject some excitement and anticipation. I highly recommend circulating the test website to all employees, no matter how many times you’ve proof read there is always someone quick to highlight a mistake - better a colleague than a customer!
Before you launch.
The final stage is all about testing, checking, testing, checking before you launch.