The Importance of the Web Design Process

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From my experience, the number one way to make a web design and development project go smoothly is by having a good process in place. In an environment such as a client-focused agency, having a proven, thought-out process not only makes things run seamlessly for those working on the project, but it also reassures the client that their project is organized and the nuances of their unique project will be well-considered.

Here at Zer0 to 5ive, we have a very well defined, five-step process for web design and development. Each part of the process is not only individually important, but also creates a finished product that is a polished sum of its parts. The process is linear and cumulative. Once step 1 is complete, we move to step 2, and so forth. Probably the most notable step is the one that includes discovery and planning. These foundational items set the tone for the project and everything going forward is built from there.

Foundational elements like developing a site map and wireframe logically come prior to design. These baseline pieces support creative decisions moving forward, much as a blueprint does when building a home. Once a site design is fleshed out, attention may be paid to confirming and implementing specific flows and functionality on various pages, and then developing content around that flow using SEO-friendly text.

Not until the design is approved should development begin. Development relies heavily on pre-designed templates and carefully chosen placement of things like navigation, sidebars, imagery and certain functionalities. It’s important to stick to development during development stages—design edits at this point in the project may set back the timeline and launch, and can potentially detract from the cohesiveness of the site.

A solid web design process puts clients at ease. Knowing what comes next, and that the methods you’ve chosen have worked in the past, allows them to trust that you’ll get the job done right and on time. While all web design projects vary, the basis of the process remains the same.

Many times, the client is unaware of many parts of the web design and development process, so having one can help them understand what is needed from them, what will be delivered to them and the timeline that the project will follow. It also sets milestones and smaller goals that help create a sense of accomplishment, a positive feeling when working on any project.

Most importantly, a good web design process helps turn the focus to the results of the project itself. With all the parts and pieces flowing nicely in the background, more time can be spent on content, creative design and usability best practices – and ultimately meeting the goal of the site itself. A good process goes unnoticed so that the creativity of the design and content can shine, which keeps clients coming back for more!

Post by Lauren Innella
Zer0 to 5ive Principal and Creative Director
Twitter: @phillydesignr

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