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The Eight Steps of Webdesign

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One common question I get, is how a website job should be planned and executed – what are the steps? The following is a quick outline of the process that I have been using for years with good success – at least most of the time.

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THE 8 STEPS OF WEB DESIGN

The steps:

  • Figure out what the focus of the website will be.
  • What specific features do you want in the website.
  • Create a list of sections for your website and give them a hierarchy of importance.
  • Write out your content and finalize it.
  • Find a style / look that meets your website’s and your industry’s requirements.
  • Build the website.
  • Evaluate the website and make the required changes / updates.
  • Go live – register a domain, find a host, upload the website.

1. THE FOCUS OF THE WEBSITE

This is the first thing you want to define clearly before any other step is taken. You need to decide what the main purpose of the website is - what you want to focus on in terms of a subject.

It is important that you define this step as clearly as possible because a website’s focus has a major impact on the whole project; this is the ‘foundation’ of the site.

For example:

  • A web store.
  • Information hub for established clients.
  • Branding website.

2. SPECIFIC WEBSITE FEATURES

This builds off of the first step, where now you look at actual features that you need to implement. For example:

  • A shopping cart for an online store
  • A password protected section of the website

Again, the more detail the better.

3. MAP OUT THE MAJOR SECTIONS OF THE WEBSITE

With the first two steps completed, you’re ready to actually start mapping out the major sections of the website; drawing out quick diagrams of the website is a useful way of doing this.

A diagram can easily show the hierarchy of a website and how the various sections are related to each other.

4. WRITE OUT YOUR FINAL CONTENT

This part is usually left to the end … then people wonder why they have to go back and rethink the structure of the site.

All websites are driven by content; it’s the content that makes a site effective and successful. As such, this part of the process is arguably the most important, so you need to pay attention to it.

5. FIND A STYLE / LOOK FOR THE WEBSITE

At this stage of the process, you are ready to start looking at the visual aspect of the site – the design. You have a few options:

  • Hire a graphic designer / web designer
  • Come up with your own design – I’m assuming you have some artistic and design experience.
  • Buy yourself a website template and save time and money.

6. BUILD THE WEBSITE

Yes, I know it seems impossible but you can finally start building the actual site at this point!

With the above questions answered and steps completed, you’ll find the process of building the website (actually writing out the code,) is much easier and you will have reduced the chance of having to go back and redo things.

7. EVALUATE THE WEBSITE, MAKE THE REQUIRED CHANGES / UPDATES

Once you've built the website, you should walk away from it for a day or two. This will allow you to come back and evaluate it with fresh eyes. It might also be a good idea to get someone who has not worked on the site, to take a look as well.

Here are some of the things you should be looking for:

  • Clean easy to update design/structure.
  • Good usability in the design - and all that implies.
  • Fast loading 'light' pages.
  • Intelligent use of technology - using Flash when it makes sense not because you want a 'cool' intro!
  • The website’s ability to convey the meaning/message of the website quickly if not instantly.

8. GO LIVE – REGISTER A DOMAIN, FIND A HOST, UPLOAD THE WEBSITE.

If you’ve passed steps 1 to 7, you know you're ready to show the world the website. All that is left to do is go live:

  • Register a domain
  • Find a hosting company
  • Upload the website

NOTE: You could actually register the domain and find a hosting company after you’ve completed the first 4 steps. Sometimes it makes sense to register your domain name before you design the website; this is because you may want to integrate the domain name into the design.

CONCLUSION

If you follow these steps, and not let pressures from your clients (or anything else) sway you, you’ll find yourself working more quickly and under less stress, while delivering a better website for your client – everyone wins.

Thanks!

Stefan Mischook

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