The Practical Guide To Web Design Workflow Having created some first design drafts for your client and now waiting for that first feedback, you are probably pretty excited about how your work will be perceived by the client. With so many things to monitor in a strict time frame, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the complexity of the project. There are many steps involved in designing a website or app. These steps slightly vary from person to person, but the basic workflow remains the same.
With a good workflow set up and with a few tools and software, you’ll easily keep the ball rolling and avoid lengthy feedback cycles.
Here’s a practical guide to a design workflow that you can use to increase the productivity of your team.
PREPARATION PHASE: MANAGING EXPECTATIONS
- If you are simply maintaining an existing website or designing a new website from scratch, both you and your client are required to manage each other’s expectations.
- While your primary responsibility is to understand the requirement of the project in detail, the client’s responsibility is to understand how each choice that is made impacts the scope and the budget of the project, with your help.
- Let your client know about the required technology, the required budget, and the time frame required for finishing the project. Approaching your project in an organized manner will save time, efforts, and budget.
PHASE 1: DEFINING SITE GOALS
- This is certainly the most important phase of any design project as you define the goals, set up the overall structure, decide on content and assign roles and the different deliverables throughout the project. By setting up proper planning right from the beginning, you save yourself from a lot of grief later.
- Here you work with the client to establish the schedule, budget, timeline, technical needs, visual style and the content structure for the target audience.
- When managing expectations and getting started with your design project, I’d like to recommend making use of a lean and easy-to-use project management in order to keep track of defined goals, budgets, tasks and schedules.
PHASE 2: DEVELOPING SITE STRUCTURE & GETTING YOUR HANDS DIRTY
- The Structure of site forms the backbone of the website. It acts as a reference guide for the team during the entire duration of the project. Use flowcharts to show the flow of the structure.
- Sitemap: Creating a sitemap is crucial for understanding the content organization. It is important to keep updating the sitemap after every change. If you don’t, things will get messy.
- Wireframe: The content of the site needs to be fixed before the design and graphics are put into place.
Wireframes are low-fidelity sketches of the website or mobile application. Wireframes are used to create placeholders for content, establish priorities for elements on the page, and to document requirements. This becomes very important in the next phase.
PHASE 3: DESIGN AND PRODUCTION
- Make surety that the designer works together with the programmer to ensure the implementation of coherent design elements.
- After the client approves the design drafts, the designer and the graphic team work on the look and the feel of the website. Compression, transparency, efficient use of color and design combine to create effective web graphics
- The production stage is a point where the actual website is created. After the design and layout of the site is completed, the site goes into the engineering part of the work. Here, you will take all of the individual graphic elements from the prototype and use them to create the actual, functional site.
PHASE 4: TESTING, COLLECTING FEEDBACK & FIXING BUGS
- None of the project is ever really without flaws. And although testing is something that’s done throughout the development process as well, there will always be bugs left. And we’re not only talking about software bugs. Even a design can be buggy.
- So right now, it’s important to start testing like crazy. Early troubleshooting saves a lot of time and effort. It is critical for all people participating in the creation of the site to be involved with testing. However, testing should be an agile process. Once you’ve launched the site or are in the process of launching it, a lot of people are going to start using it and will provide feedback on the site.
- And even though you put in all the effort you could to test the site, you will have missed a couple bugs or new ones will pop up over time. It’s crucial that you get information on bugs and issues as soon as possible. If you can get your users to report these to you, you’re golden.