Getting a website for your business, or organisation is a structured process. I often find that most clients looking for a website, do not have a clue of how highly involved this process can be. As a result, one of the roles of a web designer and developer, is to guide the client from the conception of the idea, to the realisation of the final product.
At Webmobyle, the process of designing and developing a website is compartmentalised into several distinct steps, that guide the process, to ensure consistency, and to ensure that projects are delivered on time and according to requirements.
Whilst some clients will have a clear idea of what the website to be built is supposed to achieve, some do not. It is very important to have clear-cut objectives about why you need a website, and most importantly, how you will know if and when those objectives are being met.
The Project Initiation phase, is the time when the web designer and developer, together with the client, bring their heads together to brainstorm on ideas, that are pertinent to the project. It is the time to bring up ideas, and expose them to scrutiny, and establishes their relevance in the face of the stated objectives.
When brainstorming on ideas, it is important to first list any ideas that come to mind, with the aim of arriving at the overall picture. A technique called mind mapping, is often useful in this instance.
Mind mapping lists ideas and the relationships between them. This approach can be achieved with the assistance of paper, post-it stickers or a software application. Several iterations of the mind mapping process, can be carried out to refine the ideas, until only the high value ideas remain.
Armed with a purpose, resulting from the activities in the initiation phase, data and resources, in the form of computer files are collected, to start off the process of building the website. Depending on the nature of the website project, the collected data and resources, may take the form of text documents, images, audio or video files.
Sometimes, it is not possible to meet the client face to face, and carry out an exchange of data and resources, since the client may be in a geographically remote location, for which meeting in person is not possible.
In all cases, software applications designed to exchange files online are used, such as Google Drive or Dropbox. Communications applications such as Google Meet and Microsoft Teams play a critical role for remote clients. They are very important and indispensable.
It is in this phase, that the ideas uncovered in the initiation phase are implemented. In most cases at Webmobyle, the website is implemented using the Joomla Content Management System or WordPress. Content Management Systems allow for easy management, and editing of the website, for both the client and the developer.
Testing is also carried out on the website in this phase, to ensure that the website performs as expected. One of the objectives of testing, is to check and ensure that the website works consistently across various web browsers. Another area of importance for testing, is to verify the site responsiveness, to ensure that it scales well, when being displayed between devices of various screen sizes.
There are times when I had personally felt that I had done a great job on a website, only for the client to not be satisfied with the outcome.
Sometimes the difference of opinion may be small, and take a very short time to change or fix the website, but at other times, it may mean having to redo most of the work already done. Website review is about letting the client put a seal of approval on the work done, and giving the go ahead to green-light its publication.
At Webmobyle, the client review takes place behind a password protected area, where only the client can view the website. The reason for this, is to avoid putting something out there for the whole world to see, which the client has not approved yet. Once approved however, the website is opened for public viewing.
The process of getting a website developed is quite involved, hence the need for structure.
By separating out the various activities in the process into organised steps, this brings a high level of organisation to all projects at Webmobyle, and allows for efficient project management.
By providing clients with a structured approach, they are able to anticipate the progress of their project every step of the way. Furthermore, this approach also provides a sense of direction for the web designer and developer.
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