Reading a post on Top 6 Tips to Streamline Your Web Design Process made me think about the overall design process for a website. Here are some thoughts on their six tips.
Project structure is important and almost any website is going to be built in phases. Typically there are clear phases, such as:
- and then after the launch there are always revisions to be made.
Depending on the size and scope of a project, you may use tools such as Canva or Niice to create mood boards to help your client decide on fonts, colors, branding, etc. But that may not be necessary for smaller projects when a face-to-face meeting with the client allows you to review samples on a screen and decide on an overall approach.
I have found that clients are easily overwhelmed by too many options. I generally will offer two or three designs, but I always have a few others in my back pocket just in case my initial options get a tepid response.
You can use tools such as Divi to help in the layout design process which can be faster than building wireframes and mockups because you’re building the layout at the same time.
I have also found that including images in a design will help a client get a better sense of what the site will look like, but images that are not the client's or not similar to their own imagery can throw them off.
Even if a client seems unconcerned (or uninformed) about usability and accessibility, make it part of the design process.
Most experienced designers will have prior work, premade layouts and page templates that they will use as a starting place. If I can remix prior work, my job is easier AND their cost is reduced.
After client approval, the development phase begins, although if you were using tools during the design phase properly, you actually have some pages partially developed.
I always have other people test every page, view image and click every link and button for usability. Then allow the client to inspect and approve the website’s final design. Test the site on multiple devices including phones and tablets and with multiple browsers to ensure that it’s responsive and everything works as expected.
The launch phase can mean transferring the website from the development site to its live location, or simply clicking "publish."
For some designers post launch is a very important phase because it includes ongoing care and maintenance which can ultimately provide more income than the creation of the site.
I often have to train the client or user’s on how to update the website themselves.
Even if the client plans on keeping the site going on their own, they are still a potential future client for ongoing maintenance, customizations, additions, or even a site redesign a year or two down the road.