We approach each project a little differently based on the nature of the work and the needs of our client. However, most of our projects follow a simple plan that helps us deliver exceptional results and most importantly, meet and exceed our client’s expectations. Please read through our handy ‘quick guide’ to better understand our easy to follow working processes for all projects. This will answer any questions you might have and put your mind at ease allowing you to start your project with confidence.
Six Phases of the Web Site Design and Development Process
There are six easy to follow steps in the web site design and development process which we have outlined below.
The first step in designing a successful website is to gather information. Many things need to be taken into consideration when we design the look and feel of your site, so we first ask a lot of questions to help us understand your business and it’s specific needs. This also helps us to prepare an accurate quotation for you.
This is what we need to know:
1. Do you have any existing marketing collateral, logo, business cards, promotional brochures or website?
This will help us to establish a starting point and get a feel for the current state of your companies branding collateral. If you do not have a logo or branding collateral, then we can create some for you as part of our ‘Business Pro Package’. If you do then we would ask that it be provided, especially your logo in high quality vector format.
2. Are you happy with your current hosting provider?
If yes, then we are happy to work with any hosting company that you choose or are currently using as a service provider. If no, then we can offer you excellent hosting with two of the best hosting companies in South Africa, Hetzner and Axxess. We do not resell hosting so we pass those savings on to you the client.
Whichever hosting company you decide to use, It’s important that you provide us with the top level login details for your hosting account early in the development process.
3. If you have an existing website, how much of the existing structure and content do you want to retain moving forward?
As we are rebuilding your site now is a good opportunity to refresh existing copy and images as well as add extra content and functionality that might have been lacking before.
4. Are there any websites online where you like the design or functionality?
Please provide some examples of websites that appeal to you and why, whether you like the template, layout, the colours or any special functionality that the site has. This will give us a good idea of what you are looking for. It’s also a good idea to look at your competitors websites and see if there is anything that they are doing which we can perhaps do better.
5. How many pages of content do you require?
Content pages are basic pages with copy and possibly images. Examples would be home, about us, products and services, terms and conditions, FAQ and so forth.
6. Is there any special functionality that you require?
A WordPress or Joomla website is already jam packed with functionality out of the box, but you might want something specific. Extending the functionality of a CMS website is a snap so let us know what you need.
- A shopping cart?
- Social media implementation?
- Email collection and email marketing capability?
- Auto-responders for nurturing?
- A blog or news feed?
- Photo galleries?
- A slider banner?
- A responsive site?
- A blog or news page?
- The ability for people to leave comments?
- A quick contact form, quote request or booking form?
7. What is the overall purpose of the website?
- Get more inbound leads / quote requests / phone enquiries?
- Increase brand awareness?
- Educate your audience?
- Encourage sales?
- Collect email addresses and build a list?
- Encourage onsite or social media interaction?
8. What makes your business unique to everyone else?
- Being the cheapest?
- Having awesome customer service?
- An amazing guarantee or returns policy?
- Being the exclusive supplier of a product in a certain area?
- Supplying the best quality product around?
- Fast or Free delivery?
- Offering unique add-on packages no one else can?
9. Who is your target audience?
How can we solve problems for the clients wanting to use your services?
10. Is there anything else that we should know about your business?
Please give us all relevant information.
Quotation and Acceptance:
Once we have all the information we need we are then able to provide you with an accurate quotation. If you accept our quotation we then ask for 50% deposit to be paid into our account before project commencement. Once payment is received your project is then scheduled into our system and we move onto the next phase.
Using the information gathered from phase one, we put together a plan for your web site.
Here we develop a site map – a list of all main categories as well as sub categories if applicable. This gives us a good idea of the basic structure of the website, and is essential to developing a consistent, easy to understand navigational system. This is also the point where we decide which technologies should be implemented, content management system such as Joomla and WordPress for informational websites and cms’s like OpenCart and PrestaShop for online shopping websites as well as any extra extensions that might be required.
Now we also gather the copy and images that will be used on the website as well as up to date contact information for your business. We ask that all files be supplied electronically, documents in Word and images as Jpgs and Pngs. We do help to source images for clients, some are freely available online but they are not always the best quality and they may also be copyrighted. For excellent quality images we highly recommend using a website like iStockphoto.com.
Drawing from the information gathered up to this point, we determine the look and feel of the site. This is where we choose a template that best suits the needs of your business, whether it be a single scrolling brochure style or a more organised paginated style. The technologies that we work with are templating ‘frameworks’ so even though templates come fully populated with content, we remove that demo content and then we fully customise your site using the layouts and special features that are included in the template.
Once we’ve deployed the cms and template framework and completed the initial setup, you are given access to our development sandbox, which is a secure area of our hosting account. The development sandbox allows you to view your project throughout the design and development stages. Most importantly, it gives you the opportunity to express your likes and dislikes on the site design.
In this phase, communication is crucial to ensure that the final web site will match your needs and taste. We work together in this way, exchanging ideas, until we arrive at the final design for the site. Then development can begin.
As we now have a robust cms and templating framework in place that has been approved by you we now continue to build the remainder of the site. We use the sitemap to setup the menu structure and pages as well as install all required plugins and extensions.
This entire time, you will continue to be able to view your site in the development sandbox, and suggest any additional changes or corrections you would like to have done.
At this point, we attend to the final details and test your web site. We test things such as the complete functionality of forms or other scripts, we test for last minute compatibility issues (viewing differences between different web browsers), ensuring that the site is optimized to be viewed properly in the most recent browser versions.
Once we receive your final approval, it is time to deliver your new website. We upload the files to your server – this involves migrating and configuring Joomla or WordPress, along with a core set of essential plugins to help enhance the websites security. Here we test again to make sure that all files have been uploaded correctly, and that the site is functioning as expected.
Only once you are 100% happy with your website do we then ask for final payment and on receiving that final payment we make your website fully ‘live’ and viewable to the public.
The development of your web site is not necessarily over, though. One way to bring repeat visitors to your site is to offer new content or products on a regular basis. If this interests you, we will be more than happy to continue working together with you to update the information on your web site. We offer maintenance packages at special rates, based on how often you anticipate making changes or additions to your site.
Graphic Design Quick Guide
There are six easy to follow steps in the graphic design process which we have outlined below.
We would like some insight into your business so that we can better understand your needs. With this in mind we have prepared a set of questions. We will use your answers to create an accurate quotation for you.
- Do you have existing logos, promotional brochures, magazines or advertisements?
- What collateral do you need designed?
- What are the exact dimensions and other specs?
- Can you supply the copy?
- Can you supply your logo in vector format?
- Are your photos available in electronic format?
- Would you need any stock images supplied by us?
- Is the final output for print or screen display?