Process of making websites consists of four essential phases, each of which can be further divided into several processes.
Phase One: Research – In an effort to build easily operated website it’s important to determine the purpose of client’s online presence, as well as its target audience, so that proper communication strategy can be built. Variety of research and analysis techniques, both qualitative and quantitative, should be used to accomplish that.
- Information Architecture – Categorizing information into an interface with the structure that allows coherent stream of useful and relevant information to the user.
- Interaction Design – Nowadays, most of websites and applications are interactive – that’s because the web is an interactive medium, so modern designers cannot make pictures of websites. Mostly used is HTML prototyping, but also old school tools, such as pen and paper, white board and many more.
- Prototyping – It’s important to respect client’s time and money, so prototype and test solutions on real users are being made to find and fix any potential problem.
Phase Two: Creativity – The goal here is to transform ideas into a useful, remarkable website that communicates and interacts with its audience in the most effective way. How to do that? By understanding users’ needs and urges. The goal is to make user-friendly visual communication – in other words: elegant, clear and easy to use websites.
- User Experience Design – This is not a single step in making websites, rather it is a stairway with Information Architecture, Interaction Design, Usability and User Interface Design as its stairs. This stairway leads your project from an initial idea to the website with satisfied users.
- User Interface Design – UI Designer’s job is to make user’s interaction as simple and efficient as possible in manner of achieving user objective.
- Graphic Design and Art Direction – It takes more than just to be creative to be good at design, and this is where Art Direction takes turn.
Phase Three: Technical – This is phase where static HTML templates are being integrated into a specific platform based on project’s needs: that could be Magento for eCommerce website or ExpressionEngine / WordPress / Perch if a website needs content management system.
Phase Four: Review – Testing. Testing. And some more testing.
You can read how we do it and if you have your own phases and ways it would be great if you are willing to share them in comments.