Web Development Process
What are the various stages in a web development process?
Every web or mobile app development project has to grow through a number of stages before the final product is presented to the clients/customers. It makes sense to have a streamlined and logical process to follow to minimize errors from explaining to understanding on both ends. The ground rule is that every web development company will have its unique components in the design process, however the basics are universal: learn, plan, design, code/develop, launch and maintain. From evaluation and gathering initial information, the creation of your website and finally to the maintenance that keeps your web site up to date, find the details explanation of the process below :
1. Collecting Information
The first and the most important step for web development is understanding the company in detail, its mission, its target audience, primary and secondary goals, branding characteristics, product, budget, deadlines, processes etc. The website is the online face of your business hence it is crucial to discover and understand all the aspects in detail so that we know what we are creating. The more we are able to learn about what you need to deliver to your customers, the better our chances will be of developing a successful website. We need to proactively find out what you want to be clear about: your aim and target. All clients have their own unique needs and goals and we give our best to retain that satisfaction and trust for us. We give our clients what they want — because that is what they are paying us for. In some situations, some clients have a hard time vocalizing their vision because they don’t know the technical terms and concepts in the IT industry. There are also scenarios where clients don’t know what they want.
How is Information collected?
The web developers at Appmocx will share a set of questions in the form of a questionnaire with you and you have to respond to the same to the best of your knowledge because this information will be the base of all future discussions. We also have a web form available on our website that handles the answers of our clients. There are also some online also tools that can be used during face to face interactions or phone calls. While these are just a few ways of extracting information from the client, we usually follow the method that is most comfortable for you. It is very important for us to understand your likes and dislikes for the websites that you may have interacted with so that we get a visual idea about what should be included and what should be avoided.
Other questions like: do you need and online store or if you already have a logo, sharing of responsibilities among the various users etc. shall be asked and understood on a per project basis.
Based on the information gathered in the first phase, the next step is to plan the website accordingly. We develop a site map which is nothing else but a list of all main topic areas of the site, as well as sub-topics (if applicable). This gives us a guide as to what content will be on the site, and is essential to develop a consistent, easy to understand process flow. At this stage, we also start planning how we will develop your content, meaning we will create design strategy for our team to follow. We do this separately for every client based on their vision and targets because the requirements of each client are different. Who is the target audience of your website is one of the main topic that needs to be fully covered because the popularity depends on where and how the site is viewed.
If there is anything missed during the evaluation/ information gathering stage, the overall strategic map will need to be filled by self-research. We will visit the websites of your competitors or similar players in the industry and see what types of designs are already popular in your target market so you will know how to differentiate your own design from the crowd. While we are doing this research, we also start brainstorming about what colors to use, where to place the call(s)-to-action, what kind of fonts you should use and other similar details, taking notes and screenshots. During this phase, we start designing the layout of the site, the structure of your site and how the navigation will shape up. We experiment with different ideas before actually using Photoshop or Illustrator to create something more concrete. We do not use predetermined set of tools for each site we create a content management system which would work the best considering the site’s goals.
This stage is all about determining the look and feel of the website. The target audience is one of the key factors taken into consideration here. For example, a site designed for an educational institute will look much different than one meant for a bank. We strengthen the online presence of our client company by incorporating elements such as the company logo or some colors on the website. Web designing and development is more than just the act of creating. Our aim is to create something exceptional for you. We shall do some preliminary work before starting to design so that it is easier to convert the imagination into reality. We can hence shift our focus from little things to more important stuff.
We shall not only be designing the home page but also the subpages for the website. We usually design a mobile and iPad version of your website on special request by the client. During the design phase, it is incredibly important to seek feedback often to make sure all specified requirements have been met. If the client wants to make changes, now is the time to do it before the design is sliced and coded, making it ten times more difficult to make what would be a simple change if we were to do it during the design phase. You will have an option to decide at this point whether you want to use real content in your design or some dummy data.
At this stage, we lay out the main sections and content of the website. We begin the coding process and carving your HTML/CSS by inserting the major sections/main divisions for your header, footer and content area. Post that, text and images are added. Once we have the final design, we start creating the live website. Our goal is to ensure that each section stands out for itself. Once all the coding is complete, we do some browser testing to make sure the site looks and acts as intended and provides a uniform brand experience no matter how a user accesses it. If there is limited access to different types of computers, tools like browser shots are used. Next, we make arrangements to debug your site and ensure that the work is going on at the optimal speed. Last, we use google analytics so we won’t miss out on tracking the stats during the website launch. Basically, we test things such as the complete functionality of forms or other scripts, last minute compatibility issues and to ensure that the site is equipped to be viewed properly in the most recent browser versions available.
Launching or realizing the site means that all the coding and testing has been completed and the website is ready for its pilot run. Launching can have a different meaning for different businesses, mostly because there are various content management systems and development circumstances in the market. For example, if you are redesigning a website that uses a CMS or publishing platform, you launch may just be applying a new theme, but that will be known as launching too. If a brand-new site is being created in a sandbox or local developmental platform then “going live” means Ftp’ing your files to the production server.
The development of the website is not sufficient in itself. Meaning, the work does not end here because the website needs to be constantly monitored for any bugs etc and also needs to be updated from time to time with latest content. One of the most effective ways to encourage more traffic to your site is to offer new content or products on a regular basis.
It is highly recommended that two parallel processes should be taking place throughout the design process. One, continuously monitoring the feedback too save time and two, regular testing. During your planning phase, you should also assign responsibilities for site maintenance. If a client is unable to maintain the site, we suggest that they hire us on a regular or as-needed basis to manage and perform maintenance tasks.
During the hand-off/closeout of the project, we also provide some guidelines and basic training to the client to make sure they understand how to properly maintain the site.