Web designers often conceive a website design process with a focus on technical aspects like code, content management and wire-frames. But great design does not end there. In fact, custom web design is way more than how you integrate your social media buttons or even sleek visuals. Great design focuses on creating a website aligning with overarching strategies.
Well-designed websites excel on more scores than just aesthetic appeal. They draw in visitors and help individuals to experience the value of the company, product and branding through numerous indicators encompassing text, interactions, and visuals. Every element of the site needs to function towards a defined goal. Via a holistic website design process, both form and function are taken into account. Goal identification, scope definition, sitemap and wireframe creation, content creation, testing and launch are just some of the crucial website creation steps. Let’s delve deeper into each of these steps:
- Strategy Making & Goal Identification
This is an important step in the entire process as it serves as a basis for other steps. Defining requirements for achieving or communicating with customers, who the target customers are, and how informative the selling platform is, what are the features required etc. are all of paramount importance. Before the design process evolves, one needs to understand the essence of the project.
A website design team needs to be clear about the project’s business goals. A successful website is developed with a crystal clear strategy and eye-catching, future-proof design. The focus should be clear, as to why a website is being made or redesigned. The website should be able to accomplish the goals established. The underlying definition of the business should resonate clearly with the team.
Check whether you want to target a certain group of visitors. This is the stage where it all focuses on where the audience is located or what their preferences are. During this initial stage, designers need to have clarity about the end goal of the website, in close collaboration with clients or other stakeholders. You need to check who the site is for, what do they expect to find or do there, and what the aim of the website is. Evaluate if the website needs to convey the brand’s basic message or an all-encompassing branding strategy with its own focus. Study which competitor sites exist and how sites should compare to your competitors.
It is useful to find clearly defined goals or a summary of what the audience expects. This helps to put the design on the correct path. Understand the website’s target or intended audience and study competitors so that you’ll develop knowledge of the rival sites. Consider audience personas, creative briefs, competitor analyses and brand attribute. Web design projects also need to be associated with the correct scope. One not only designs and builds a website, but also web apps, push notifications and email newsletter templates.
- Sitemaps, Wireframes and Prototype Creation
Using the information gathered in the strategy-making stage, it is essential to plan out by documenting the information and readying the site structure. A site map contains all the topics and subtopics your website will have. The web designing technologies need to be considered at this juncture, too. Site maps should be user-friendly and easily navigable. There should be clarity about the kinds of servers, programming languages, tools like CMS etc. Site maps also capture page hierarchy. Further, the site maps provide a foundation for a well-designed and structured website. Page and content elements are interrelated through a website.
Building a site sans a sitemap is like creating a house in the absence of a blueprint. Wire frames form the next step. The wire frame stores the site’s visual design and content elements. It further identifies gaps and issues with the sitemaps. The wire-frame gives way to the visual prototype. Each element of the site, from the logo, to the colours, font sizes, images or overall feel of the site need to ensure a unified branding strategy.
Site visuals need to be part of the custom website design process, keeping the needs and preferences of the target audience in mind. Pathwwway web designers can create many prototypes to decide on. Feedback and communication can help in avoiding time wastage or wrong resource allocation. Mock-ups further make the testing and modification of the website easier. Reviews and approvals are followed by the final stages of designing discussed next.
- Web Development
Custom website development consists of 2 aspects – coding and content. While coding takes care of the home pages and other pages based in the site maps, it also includes adding static web page elements and other components that were defined during the initial planning stage. After the structure is established, the next step is to fill them with content that has been created with care, so URL, title, description and various other elements are optimised for search engines. Website designers then proceed with the testing.
- Testing and Launch
At this stage, the site is tested for compatibility and functionality issues. The site needs to run smoothly on different browsers or platforms and perform well across devices. Every link needs to be tested and re-evaluated to flow smoothly across broken links. Once the testing is complete, the web design needs to be uploaded to the server using on the FTP.
Once the site is launched, it is essential to closely monitor performance to resolve issues and ensure flawless performance. Updating content on a regular basis and installation of plug-ins help in attracting visitors everyday and converting them to loyal customers. Regular updates help to avoid bugs and keep sites secure. So, while an attractive or functional site is priority, website security is equally important.
Custom website designing does not end with the launch process. All aspects of the project need to be documented for future reference. Organising the site also means making allowances for expansion as the business scales. Remember that the website is an extension of the business and a critical factor in the overall marketing and business strategy. Every aspect of the custom website design and development process needs to flow naturally and seamlessly from the other to ensure branding success.