The Structured Process Of Getting A Website Developed
Getting a website for your business or organization is a structured process. I often find that most clients looking for a website do not have a clue of how highly involved this process can be. As a result, one of the roles of a web designer and developer is to guide the client from the conception of the idea to the realisation of the final product.
At Synergy Kinetics, the process of designing and developing a website is compartmentalised into several distinct steps that guide the process to ensure consistency and to ensure that projects are delivered on time.
Step 1: Project Initiation
Whilst some clients will have a clear idea of what the website to be built is supposed to achieve, some do not. It is very important to have clear-cut objectives about why you need a website and most importantly how you will know if and when those objectives are being met.
The Project Initiation phase is the time when the web designer and developer, together with the client, bring their heads together to brainstorm on ideas that are pertinent to the project. It is the time to bring up ideas and expose them to scrutiny and establishes their relevance in the face of the stated objectives.
When brainstorming on ideas, it is important to first list any ideas that come to mind with the aim of producing the overall picture. A technique called mind mapping is often useful in this instance. Mind mapping lists ideas and the relationships between them. This approach can be achieved with the assistance of paper, post-it stickers or a software application. Several iterations of the mind mapping process can be carried out to refine the ideas until only the high value ideas remain.
Step 2: Data and Resource Collection
Armed with a purpose resulting from the activities in the initiation phase, data and resources in the form of computer files are collected to start off the process of building the project. Depending on the nature of the web project, the collected data and resources may take the form of text documents, images, audio or video files.
Sometimes, it is not possible to meet the client face to face and carry out an exchange of data and resources since the client may be in a geographically remote place where they cannot be reached in person. In such cases, software applications designed to exchange files online are used such as Google Drive or Dropbox. Communication applications are also useful for remote clients and Skype or Google Hangouts become very important and indispensable.
Step 3: Website Construction and Testing
It is in this phase that the ideas uncovered in the initiation phase are implemented. In most cases at Synergy Kinetics, the website is implemented using the Joomla Content Management System or Wordpress. Content Management Systems allow for easy management and editing of the website for both the client and the developer.
Testing is also carried out on the website in this phase to ensure that it performs as expected. The testing is carried out on the website in general as well in various web browsers to ensure that the website displays consistently across the major web browsers out there. Another area of importance for testing is the site responsiveness to ensure that it scales well between devices of various screen sizes.
Step 4: Website Review and Publication
There are times when I had personally felt that I had done a great job on a website, only for the client not to give the go ahead. Sometimes the difference of opinion may be small and take a very short time to change or fix but at other times it may mean having to redo most of the work already done. Website review is about letting the client put a seal of approval on the work done and giving the go ahead to green-light its publication.
At Synergy Kinetics, the client review takes place behind a password protected area where only the client can view the website. The reason for this is to avoid putting something out there for the whole world to see which the client does not approve of. Once approved however, the website is opened for the public to view.
The Need For Structure
The process of getting a website developed is quite involved, hence the need for structure. By separating out the various activities in the process into organised steps, this brings organization to all projects at Synergy Kinetics and allows for efficient project management. By providing clients with a structured approach, they are able to anticipate the progress of their project. Furthermore, this approach also provides a sense of direction for the web designer and developer.