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minternet web design process

design

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Together we will create a design that incorporates all your requirements with the aim of achieving your website goals.

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develop

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I will then take the prototype design and code the website and implement the functionality agreed.

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deliver

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Once the build is complete and all the content is inserted I will launch the website live on the internet and hand over the files to you.

After you have made initial contact with me, enquiring about my availability or interest in working on your website and we have agreed to meet, I will ask you to fill out a small questionnaire, what I like to call 'Data Gathering', prior to our meeting. This is not to be a pain or put a barrier up. The answers you provide allow me to get a better idea of what you are looking to achieve before we meet and discuss them. It also helps you to confirm & establish your goals and mindset. A lot of clients have a rather vague idea of what they actually want when they approach me, which is not necessarily a bad thing but it is better if you have a clearer idea of what your goals are. I will ask about things like the scope, target audience, aims/goals, colour schemes/palette, budget, timescales (in particular any deadlines you may have). You don't have to answer them all, but the more information you can provide at the start will be better for us all in the long run.

You candownload the full detailed process in Microsoft word format.

You can also download a quick overview of my Design process.

At Minternet Web Design I like to begin with a start-up meeting where we discuss your requirements. Talking with you is a huge part of how I create websites as I believe it is the best way to find out about you and the requirements of your website. I can also determine what I need to do to ensure that your website delivers. I always start with a chat. Where possible this is done in person, face to face but this is not always feasible for clients not based locally. In such cases, we can chat over email, Skype or the telephone.

I want to know why you want a website and more importantly what you want the website to do for you or for your business. I want to know your story so that I can create a website to tell your story to your prospects and customers in a way that will help them fall in love with your company and give you their business. If you can't sum up what you or your company do in a few short sentences then it is far more difficult to ensure your website will make it clearer.

I also want to understand about the different personas that you expect to visit your website and what they will be doing whilst they are on the website.

Together we learn about your organisation and the project context, define goals, devise a high level strategy and outline a scope of works. Then prototype ideas and figure out how the things we're making will work as a larger system and refine the successful parts.

After our initial conversation (our fact finding discovery mission) I will prepare a design specification for your website project which will be based on the website brief and the functionality that we discussed and will include a quote. This quote will be a fixed fee from me to deliver all the specified elements in the design specification agreement. I do not have any hidden extras within my fee but there are some third-party costs that are additional to Minternet Web Design's services, such as web hosting, but we will make you aware of them all before any agreement is signed.

On your acceptance of the design specification & the quote, I will create a unique design for your approval before progressing onto building the website.

Before producing anything else, I ask for a 50% down payment to book the project in. By paying this you agree to my terms and conditions (that is sent to you with the proposed design specification & quote). Once the payment has been received then we can get started with the Design Phase.

There will be a few things I will need from you in order to work on a mock-up/wireframe. This can vary from project to project but the usual suspects are your logo, any relevant imagery that you may have already and a guide as to page content. Working out the best way to present your content is pretty difficult if no content exists. The best results invariably come about when I have a good idea of the content "up-front".

After I have spent time learning about you and your company I will then begin the process of designing your website.

Throughout the design phase I will frequently ask you for feedback & approval. Your feedback and comments during the design phase are extremely important as it will be used to make amendments to the layout and design before the start of the development (coding) of your website. It is vitally important to be 100% honest with me during this stage (and all stages I hope!).

Sometimes clients love the first version, other times they hate it but generally it is somewhere inbetween. I will always justify why I have designed things in a certain way but it doesn't mean I don't take your opinions on board. I like to collaborate with my clients and always welcome your suggestions, there are always alternative ways to achieve a goal.

The design phase is done over two steps. The first is where we create a wire-frame (or a series of, depending on the complexity & size of the website) which is basically a schematic layout of your website, like a storyboard. Depending on resources, time and budget these can either be produced with paper and pencil (I'm a bit old-school) or digitally on my computer. The wire-frame will show how parts of the website will function and how certain elements will be positioned on the page. It deals with the basic and fundamental parts of your website such as layout, composition, navigation preferences, collation and presentation of content and organisation of the website. Basically, all the important foundations of the website before we start to think about the more visual aspects.

The wire-frame acts as a building block to the next step, which is to create a mock-up. This is where we start to have fun and produce the visuals of the website that you and your audience will see and use.

This allows me to gauge how effectively your website objectives are being met.

The traditional method of creating mock-ups (in order to show the client) is done on Photoshop. The problem with that now is modern websites need to be optimised to work and look good on a variety of devices and screen sizes. Displaying this accurately on Photoshop is a time-consuming task and is also ridiculously expensive to do due to the time it would take to produce the different scenarios (and to be honest, they only give you as much of an idea like a photo of a meal). Depending on the size and complexity of your website, I will determine the best way to go about this stage of the process, whether we take a journey for a specific persona of your target audience or a selection of pages to be illustrated, there is a variety of ways to accomplish this. It is important to remember though, at this point of the design, unless otherwise agreed, the mock-up will only be coloured static images representing the working web pages. The amount and degree of involvement and intricacy will be agreed during the previous stage, where the design brief is written and finalised. The more exploration that is done in these early design stages will help the website in the long run by highlighting possible issues before coding begins.

This stage is normally produced iteratively: I submit a design and you make comments on it. I will then refine the design based on your comments (and my own creative instinct) until we come to the desired result that we are both happy with. I would also recommend that whilst I am producing the wire-frames and mock-ups that you begin compiling draft content for the website.

Now we have a style and general layout for your website and you have signed off the mock-up I can begin writing the actual code that will build your website for the web and firming up the content. I will also begin to implement search engine optimisation techniques. During this stage, I will keep you updated with progress of the build at regular intervals.

This will be done on either a testing server of mine or onto your domain, if you already own this. If you do own your domain at this stage, don't worry, I can tell the search engines to stay away from the website while it is being developed so no one will find it. Either way I will send a link direct to the website with any correspondence so you can see exactly how it is looking and behaving in a live web environment. It is important that you check your website on as many devices as you can (smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktops etc). The revision process is similar to that of the design phase previously, revisions are made until we are all happy with each aspect of the website.

Testing is essential to ensure that the website renders correctly on all types of devices and different browsers. I test all my website projects on multiple devices & screen sizes as well as on the latest release of the most popular internet browsers. Every website is tested for browser compatibility and code validated with W3C for standard's compliance.

Now that the website is ready, we want to hear your final feedback. If there is anything that needs "tweaking" we will make changes before the site goes live.

After the development and testing of the website has been finalised & you are happy for the website to go live on the internet I will ask that the remaining balance of my fee be settled, which will be registered by invoice. Once this has been paid in full we get to the exciting bit...

I handle the entire launch process to get your new website online and available to your online audience. If you do not already own your domain name or have a web hosting account set up, you're in good hands. I can either assist you or even take care of this on your behalf (remember that hosting and domain registration prices are not covered by my fee and these prices are additional to my quote). However, if you do already own your domain and have a web hosting account in place then I can upload the website to your web host servers (I will need your ftp details though!).

Your website is now ready to show itself off to the world wide web. Your email addresses, if applicable, will be set up and your website will be submitted to the search engines. I will also send you any useful login details & anything else agreed in the brief. I'll ask you for a nice testimonial and add your new website to the Minternet Web Design portfolio (this is part of my terms and conditions but please let me know if you would rather your website was not shown on the Minternet Web Design website).

After your website has gone "live" this does not mean that the project is complete and finished with. You have 3 months (unless another time period is stated) after the launch date where I will do any minor tweaks and/or fix any bugs & errors that may arise plus fine tune the search engine friendliness of the website, free of charge. Please note that any additional work that is surplus to the agreed specification will be chargeable at my hourly rate.

Once your website has been launched Minternet Web Design offer a completely optional maintenance package. I can help you with backing up your website or making any general updates to your content to keep your website fresh and up to date.

I have never forced (and never will) clients into a maintenance or support contract and I am quite happy to work on an ad-hoc basis for future design & development of your website (even if I didn't originally design it). The costs of any ad-hoc design work, alterations or additions to your website will be priced as required and based on my hourly rate, all of which will be agreed before any works are commenced.

A more brief overview of my design process is available to download

If you have any questions (or even helpful suggestions) about my website design process then be sure to get in touch with me and let me know.

I am always excited to hear from anyone and discuss how I can help with your website design and/or development project needs.

talk to me about your website project