Wireframes, programming, and content management are all common topics for web designers when considering the web design process as a whole. However, excellent design is more than just how you incorporate social media buttons or attractive aesthetics. A website production process aligned with a company’s overall strategy is the key to great design.
Websites that are well-designed provide more than simply a pretty face. A combination of visual, textual, and interactive indicators assists visitors in understanding the product, business, and branding. This implies that every part of your website must have a specific purpose.
However, how exactly do you go about achieving this perfect balance of elements? Web design that considers both form and function is essential.
In my opinion, there are seven phases in designing a website.
Goal identification: The process in which I work with the customer to discover what objectives the new website has to meet to be successful. I.e., what it’s for.
Scope definition: Once we understand the site’s aims, we can determine the project’s scope. I.e., how many web pages and features does the site needs to accomplish its aim, and how long will it take to implement them?
After establishing the scope, we can begin laying out the sitemap and wireframes, which will help us understand how the content and functionality indicated in the scope definition will interact.
With a clearer idea of the overall structure of the website in mind, we can begin producing individual pages’ worth of content with an eye on search engine optimization (SEO). For our following level, you must have genuine material to work with:
Visual elements: Now that we have the site design and some content, we can begin on the visual identity. If you’re working with a new client, they may already have a clear vision in mind, or you may be starting from scratch. Tools like style tiles, mood boards, and element collages may assist with this process.
It’s time to test your site now that you’ve completed all of your pages and specified how they appear to a site visitor. Combine human site surfing across many devices with automated web crawlers to uncover anything from user experience concerns to basic broken links.
It’s time to launch your site after everything is up and running well. It’s important to arrange the launch date and how you’ll announce it to the public. Then it’s time to pop the corks on the bubbly.
Now that we’ve laid out the procedure, let’s take a closer look at each phase.
The Web design strategy in 7 easy stages
The following procedures should be followed while creating, building, and launching your website:
1. Defining the purpose
An important first step in website design is determining the final goal with the help of the client or key stakeholders. In this phase, questions to ask and answers to discover include.
Who is the target audience of this website?
What are they hoping to discover or do when they get there?
Do you think this website’s primary purpose is to educate or to sell (e-commerce anyone?).
Are websites meant to communicate a brand’s primary message, or are they part of a larger branding plan with their distinct focus?
If there are any rivals, how should this site be similar to or distinct from them?
In every web development process, this is the most crucial step. The whole project might go awry if these issues aren’t addressed briefly.
One or more clearly stated objectives, or a one-paragraph description of the anticipated outcomes, may be helpful. This will put the design in the appropriate direction. Ensure you know the website’s target audience and understand the competitors well.
Tools for determining the purpose of a website
- Competitor analyses
- Brand attributes
- Creative brief
- Audience personas
2. Define the scope
Scope creep is a typical and frustrating issue in web design projects. With a single purpose in mind, when you begin, the project quickly grows, changes, or transforms entirely throughout the design phase. Before you realize it, it is not only a website being built but also an app, emails, and push alerts.
This isn’t always a negative for designers since it typically leads to more work. Even with higher expectations, however, the project might quickly become unaffordable if more funds or time are not allocated.
A Gantt chart, which shows a realistic timeframe for the project and any key milestones, may assist in defining limits and attainable deadlines for the project. This is an excellent resource for designers and clients that helps keep everyone focused on the work at hand.
3. Development of a sitemap and wireframes
The sitemap is the building block of every well-designed website. It gives web designers a better understanding of the website’s information architecture and explains the links between the different pages and content sections.
An online sitemap is essential to the development process, but without one, it’s like constructing a home without a plan. And the results are seldom favorable.
The next stage is to gather design ideas and create a wireframe prototype. Using wireframes, you may store the site’s visual design and information in a logical structure and spot any inconsistencies in the sitemap.
Even though a wireframe doesn’t include any final design components, it is a reference for how the site will appear in the end. ” It may also serve as a source of inspiration regarding the layout of different pieces.
4. Content creation
The most critical part of your website is the written content, which you may begin creating after the foundation is established.
First and foremost, content serves two purposes:
- A primary goal of content is to compel readers to take action.
A site’s objectives can only be achieved if visitors are compelled to take the steps required. The substance (the text) and the way it is presented impact this (the typography and structural elements).
Visitors’ attention spans are short while reading dull, lifeless, and too lengthy text. Intense, enticing material entices readers to click on the links and explore the rest of the site. Your pages may require a lot of text, but if you split them up into short paragraphs and include graphics, you can maintain a light, engaging feel.
- SEO is the second goal.
In addition to enhancing a site’s ranking in search results, high-quality content is a powerful SEO tool. SEO, or search engine optimization, is the activity of creating and enhancing content to score highly in search results.
A website’s performance depends on the accuracy of its keywords and keyphrases. Google Keyword Planner is my go-to tool. With the help of this tool, you can see how many people are actively looking for prospective target keywords and phrases on the web. Content strategy must evolve as search engines become more intelligent. Using Google Trends, you can see what keywords users are typing into the search bar while searching.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is important in a design approach. The title tag should include the keywords you want to rank for, and the closer to the beginning, the better. The H1 tag, meta description, and body text should include keywords.
You can do a few things to improve your website’s search engine rankings: provide better content that’s both helpful and keyword-rich.
5. Visual components
Finally, the site’s aesthetic design is complete. Existing branding components, color schemes, and logos specified by the client will frequently influence this step of the design process. You may shine at this point in the process as a skilled web designer.
More than ever before, images play a crucial part in online design. In addition to making a website appear and feel more professional, high-quality photographs convey a message, are mobile-friendly, and generate trust.
Clicks, engagement, and income have all been shown to rise when images and videos are included. Images are also a big draw for visitors to a website. Images not only make a page seem lighter and more digestible, but they also improve the content in the text and may even deliver crucial information without the need for reading.
Using a professional photographer is the best way to ensure the photographs are perfect. Remember that large, stunning pictures might significantly slow down a website using free stock photographs. You should also make sure that your photographs are mobile-friendly.
The site’s aesthetic design is a technique to connect with and entice visitors. If done correctly, it may make or break a website’s popularity. You’re simply another web address if you get it incorrectly.
You may begin testing the site after it has all of its aesthetics and content.
Re-check each page for broken links, and the website displays correctly across many mobile devices and browsers. Even though it’s a hassle to detect and repair little code problems, it’s preferable to present a faulty website to the public.
Take a look at the page meta titles and descriptions as well. If you have a lot of keywords in your meta title, it might impact your page’s search engine rankings.
Now it’s time for everyone’s favorite phase of the website design process: launching.
This is not going to be a flawless experience. It’s possible that a few things still need to be worked on. Creating a website is an ever-changing process that requires constant upkeep.
It’s all about striking the right balance between form and function in web design. You must use the appropriate typefaces, colors, and design elements. However, the user’s experience on your site is just as important as the design itself.
Designers who are familiar with this concept will be able to create a website that manages to balance the two perfectly.
It’s important to remember that the launch stage is just the beginning. The web’s greatest strength is that it can never be fully completed. In addition to testing new content and features, you can monitor analytics and refine your messaging after the site goes live.