There are eight key steps to designing and launching a new website:
The goal of the definition step is to identify three measurable key outcomes that are directly related to the strategic goals of the organization. The challenge in this step is limiting the number of goals. Most organizations will have more goals than they know what to do with, and each department believes their individual unit’s goals are the most important. Being able to bring focus to organizational goals will make developing the site easier and make the final product more effective.
Defining the scope of the project is a critical step. One of the most common frustrations with Web projects is scope creep. By creating a well-defined project scope plan that outlines specific activities and deliverables, along with specific timelines, you will be able to clearly set expectations for your clients.
Wireframes and Site Architecture
Site architecture includes the sitemap and wireframes of pages. Creating the sitemap ensures that you’ve considered all the key pages in the site, showing their relationship to each other and defining how the sties overall navigation should be structured. Wireframes provide a detailed view of the content that will appear on each page. Although they do not show any actual design elements, the wireframes provide a guide for defining content hierarchy on the page
Once the blueprint for the site has been defined through the creation of the sitemap and wireframes, the next step is to create a visual style.
With designs approved, it’s time to flesh out the design of the pages, develop new content and refine old content, create videos, slideshows, podcasts and other media that will appear on the site as well as start to build out the HTML and CSS of the site.
Before the site is launched, it will be placed on a production server where only internal audiences and anyone with who you share the link can view it. Testing of the site is critical as there will inevitably be issues that need to be addressed before the site goes live.
The big day. You’ve tested the site, had it reviewed and approved by the project stakeholders, and you’re ready to launch. But once the site is launched, the project isn’t over — you should be prepared to address feedback from users adapting to the new site. Expect to make some immediate changes to the site, such as fixing broken links, editing copy and making adjustments.
Websites are living, breathing entities and need constant care and maintenance. Updating content, making changes to the backend and fixing broken links are all in a day’s work. All of these phases are critical to the Web design process.