4 indispensable steps that must be taken before designing any website
Creating a brilliantly designed website is an uphill task and requires more than just the knowledge of web design. A successful website design is a coming together of conceptualization, imagination, technical expertise and immense efforts by the designers involved, and a comprehensive web design process that consists of certain essential steps taken before the designer(s) begins work on the actual design of the website.
These steps form a basic foundation for a great website design and are crucial to make the web design reach its finishing point. Skipping any of these steps can be a big mistake and it can adversely affect the website.
The steps of the web design process help the designers form a basic framework of the web design, on which they can apply their creativity and skills to achieve excellent results. Let us go through four of the essential steps that should be used by the designers in planning and preparations as a part of the web design process:
1) Requirement gathering and analysis
As the name suggests, requirement gathering deals with knowing the clients’ needs and objectives: be it their design concepts, the purpose that the website needs to address, the target users – will they need mobile website design, et al. The designers need to interact with the clients at great lengths to discuss the project in detail and to understand how they can make it more viable for them.
In some cases, it may also be necessary to take into consideration the specific needs of the targeted audience. By gaining a clear idea of what the client wants at the outset, you ensure that not too many changes have to be made in the design during the final stages of development.
2) Proper Documentation
Project documentation is the step of putting the gathered information on paper. It is important to document the project scope, various aspects of client requirements and roles and responsibilities the designer has agreed to undertake. After a project has already started, the document will be handy to check if the project is going as per the plan or not and corrected accordingly. Hence, the document has to be very clear in all aspects of the project.
There is a tendency to treat documentation as an unnecessary evil, especially for designers who are working on small projects. While it may be possible to design a simple website without following any document that outlines all the different steps of the design plan, a clear and concise document vastly simplifies the whole design process and increases your efficiency.
3) Determining Resources and Technology
In this stage, various resources are identified, including software and hardware. For instance, resources can include the latest photo-editing software, graphics card or an additional designer in the team, etc. The web designers can make an estimate of the resources and technologies required in the project by doing a thorough analysis of the client requirements and how they can achieve them in the best possible manner.
Estimating the need for resources and technology is of paramount importance. If you include too many resources, the cost of web development will go through the roof and the client may start having second thoughts about your company. On the other hand, if you assign inadequate resources to the project, you may not be able to deliver on time.
4) Designing the wireframe
The design stage is used to practically carry out the actual concept. All the planning done beforehand is used to draft a wireframe for the website, which will give an overall idea about the final output. The wireframe of the website uses various elements which will be there in the final website design as well, so that the flaws can be identified and rectified at this stage itself; it goes through a series of modifications until and unless both the client and designer are fully satisfied with the design.
A clear and compact wireframe will make life easy for you and other working on the project when you begin working on the final design. If you have succeeded in understanding all the client ideas and expressing them in the form of a wireframe design, most of your work is done. If the first three steps are carried out with precision, designing a wireframe that meets client expectation will be a breeze.
You can easily follow the above steps while preparing for your website design, with the help of your clients. Only after you have got their approval for the wireframe or mockup, you can proceed to carry out the actual design using various software tools and techniques.
Author Bio: Sebastian Atwell is a developer with PerceptiveWebDesign, a Los Angeles, California based custom web development company. He has worked on many projects in web design and development. He loves to read and be updated with the latest news regarding the tech world.