There are several articles written on this in the past that make very clear of what the whole idea of web designing is all about. But since I had to write on it, let’s discuss what exactly a “Web design process” is? It’s an outline of the steps needed to be taken from start till the end in order to complete a standard Web design project. It flow of work which is divided into tasks and resources that can be used as a guide for each project.
Undoubtedly there are many steps involved in web designing process. The typical steps comprise of gathering initial information, planning, designing, developing and testing. Identifying the reasons of the site’s existence and what it is supposed to achieve are the first step in the process. There have been many researches that suggest that the impact of a website is defined by the quality or the visuals of the website’s design. This simply makes the designing stage one of the most crucial stages of all the stages. The goals and objectives that are determined form the core of the project and all future decisions and development depends completely upon it, like the site structure and visual or content related queries.
Now let’s understand all the important phases of web designing process one by one:
Planning: The very first phase in designing a website is planning as a website requires a lot of time and patience. It also takes a thorough planning as there are a lot of technicalities involved. Here the reason for site’s existence is analyzed which defines its goals and objectives. Focusing on the effectiveness and needs is also to be taken into consideration. Significant details such as finding out what the client does, who they target (who the users are), who their competition is, what deliverables they expect and their framework and budget. This is basically the analysis phase to evaluate all the tasks to be carried forward.
Research & Ideas: After deciding on the key factors, this is another crucial step of this process which gathering information and ideas. Without inspirational ideas or proper research nothing can turn out well. Obviously, there has to be detailed research of everything before moving on the next step. After collecting and studying all the information, it is time for the web designer to move on to the next level of this process.
Wireframe: An outline is created as per the concept to determine the software and resources required. Wireframes are low-fidelity sketches of the website or mobile application. Sketches of some creative ideas for the project are made and these rough designs are then discussed with the client. And changes are made as per the client’s requirements.
Sitemap: Site map acts as a user guide for future reference to the entire project team. The site structure forms the backbone of the website and serves in finding lost information easily. It is crucial for understanding the relationships between pages and other content components. Use of flowcharts shows the structures and other piece of information. It is a list of pages of a web site accessible to users. It can be either a document in any form used as a web design planning tool, or a Web page that lists the pages on a website. Sitemaps exhibit organization, navigation, and labeling system.
Developing Visual Mockups: Mock-ups are visual representation of the blueprint that was created in the form of wireframes and sitemaps. Visual mockups of the UI is created to show exactly what it should look. This is the phase where the visual feel of website starts to take place. Mockups denote the general look of the website. The concept of creating mockups is a key for creating an effective website. The content of the site needs to be fixed before the design and graphics are put into place. This phase is basically a cycle of reviewing, altering and approving the design until both the client and designer are satisfied.
Development and Implementation: After putting all the hard work in the previous stages now is the time to develop and implement the final version of the site. With approved designs it’s time to design the pages, develop new content and modify old content, create or update content, add videos or other media. At this point almost the project is complete and then it is passed onto the client, after which this phase is further carried forward with these sub divided steps;
Site Testing: Before launching the site it’s placed on production server for internal audiences. Site testing is mandatory so that any issues pertaining to the site can be sorted before it goes live. Updating any content or fixing mistakes is addressed, here in this level.
Launch: After reviewing site it is ready for final launch which means site goes live. At this stage anybody can access this particular site anywhere
Site Maintenance: This is the last step in the process of the project which simply means that the site from now on should be maintained and updated if needed. Proper maintenance ensures great quality and proper functioning of the site.
Though different designers will apply different techniques but the flow of process remains the same mostly at its core. And for web designers who work passionately and creatively and hardworking, this can be achieved by practicing all the steps mentioned in the process carefully. In the end, this process will help every designer in crafting a website that is strategically focused to attract, engage and convert visitors.