Well-developed, and well-designed websites offer much more than just a cool look or appeal. They attract visitors (customers) and help people understand the product, brand, and company through a variety of indicators, invoking visuals, text, and interactions. That means every element of your site needs to work towards a defined goal and well thought out process. This is where an information architecture agency comes in handy.
Google, Bing, Amazon, and YouTube are our oracles for finding everything from A to Z. In fact, the internet is the primary method of research, connection, education, entertainment and shopping in the world. As of 2020, 4.66 billion people around the world use the internet, that number is equivalent to more than 53 percent of the world’s total population. That is more than half the world’s population, and these people are using the internet for a vast assortment of reasons.
What is the one thing those reasons have in common? They require a website, and each website requires a skilled web-developer.
Web development typically refers to web markup and coding, it includes all related development tasks, such as client-side scripting, server-side scripting, server and network security configuration, ecommerce development, and CMS development.
In this read, you will discover what a Web Development process looks like, and the key points to make it a successful process.
Table of Contents:
6. Initiate and Maintain
In this first stage, the web developer needs to identify the end goal, usually in close collaboration with the web designer and the client. Questions to explore and answer in this stage of the design and website development process include:
What is the purpose of the site? Do you want to provide information, promote a service, sell a product?
What do you hope to accomplish by building this web site? Two of the more common goals are either to make money or share information.
- Target Audience
Is there a specific group of people that will help you reach your goals? It is helpful to picture the “ideal” person you want to visit your web site. Consider their age, sex or interests – this will later help determine the best design style for your site.
What kind of information will the target audience be looking for on your site? Are they looking for specific information, a particular product or service, online ordering, and Does the website need to clearly convey a brand’s core message, or is it part of a wider branding strategy with its own unique focus? Does the website need to clearly convey a brand’s core message, or is it part of a wider branding strategy with its own unique focus?
It is time to put together a plan for your web site. This is the point where a site map is developed. The site map is a list of all main topic areas of the site, as well as subtopics, if applicable. This serves as a guide as to what content will be on the site, and is essential to developing a consistent, easy to understand navigational system. The end-user of the web site (your customer) must be kept in mind when designing your site. These are, after all, the people who will be learning and getting to know your brand, your service or buying your product.
A good user interface creates an easy to navigate website, and is the basis for this.
During the planning phase, your web designer will also help you decide what technologies should be implemented. Technologies such as Jamstack which is an architecture designed to make the web faster, more secure, and easier to scale. It builds on many of the tools and workflows which developers love, and which bring maximum productivity.
Explore more of the benefits of Jamstack.
It is now time to determine the look and feel of your site. Target audience is one of the key factors taken into consideration. A site aimed at millennials or teens will look much different than one meant for, for example Gen X’rs . As part of the design phase, it is also important to incorporate elements such as the company logo or colors to help strengthen the identity of your company on the web site.
Your web designer will create one or more prototype designs for your web site. This is typically a .jpg image of what the final design will look like. Oftentimes you will be sent an email with the mock-ups for your web site, while other designers take it a step further by giving you access to a secure area of their web site meant for customers to view work in progress.
Your designer should allow you to view your project throughout the design and development stages. The most important reason for this is that it gives you the opportunity to express your likes and dislikes on the site design. Communication between both you and your designer is critical to ensure that the final web site will match your needs and taste. It is important that you work closely with your designer, exchanging ideas, until you arrive at the final design for your web site.
“Your website has 10 or fewer seconds to leave an impression on users.”
The developmental stage is the point where the web site itself is created. At this time, your web designer will take all of the individual graphic elements from the prototype and use them to create the actual, functional site.
This is typically done by first developing the home page, followed by a “shell” for the interior pages. The shell serves as a template for the content pages of your site, as it contains the main navigational structure for the web site. Once the shell has been created, your designer will take your content and distribute it throughout the site, in the appropriate areas.
On the technical front, a successful web site requires an understanding of front-end web development. This involves writing valid HTML / CSS code that compiles to current web standards, maximizing functionality, as well as accessibility for as large an audience as possible.
Thoroughly test each page to make sure all links are working and that the website loads properly on all devices and browsers. Errors may be the result of small coding mistakes, and while it is often a pain to find and fix them, it’s better to do it now than present a broken site to the public.
Once setup and an overview is done, and your web site is uploaded to the server, the site should be put through one last run-through. This is just precautionary, to confirm that all files have been uploaded correctly, and that the site continues to be fully functional.
6. Initiate and Maintain
When everything has been thoroughly tested, and you are happy with the site and its functionality it is time to launch, but the development of your web site is not necessarily over. One way to bring repeat visitors to your site is to offer new content or products on a regular basis. Most web designers will continue working with you, to update the information on your web site.
Updating your website with fresh content and information keeps your SEO on point. There are a lot of details involved in optimizing your web site for the search engines. This is very important because even though you now have a website, you need to make sure that people can find it. By keeping up with new content, your website keeps the masses coming to your website.