At every stage of a web design workflow, a web designer will have to ask a different set of questions to ensure an optimal process from start to finish. This will ensure that the website unfolds in a way that meets the client’s satisfaction.
For a start, one of the first and primary roles of a web designer is managing a client’s expectation. A client has to understand that the decisions on the website impact the scope and budget of the project. Knowing what are the deliverables of the project, a web designer will find out a client’s objectives. This set of objectives will help define the structure, content and design direction of the web project.
At this stage of the workflow, a web designer has to gather information on the project schedule, budget, business branding, client’s business model and target audience among other considerations. Depending on the nature and model of the business, a web designer will integrate client log-in system, e-commerce, blog, chat feature, internal search engine, membership-only section or event calendar.
- What is the objective of the website?
- What problem is the client trying to solve?
- What is the business’ unique value proposition?
- Who is the target audience?
- What is the budget?
- What is the project timeline?
- What are the users’ needs?
- What are the technical specifications and limitations?
- What are the client’s desired style, features and functionalities?
- Is there a company tagline?
- Are there existing company collaterals that the website must align with?
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Determine site structure
The site structure is the skeletal structure of the website. At this stage, the web designer creates a sitemap to provide clarity on content flow and organisation. After which, the web designer creates a wireframe or simply a framework with which content, images and graphics are put together into a seamless page. These can be simple sketches of the website so that a web designer can better visualise the page.
- Is the navigation clear?
- Is the flow seamless?
- Are there missing features?
At this juncture, a web designer liaises with a programmer to work on design drafts. These drafts require client’s approval before the web designer and programmer implement the designs formally.
- Are the content and design aligned with the client’s company’s image?
- Does the website look professional?
- Does it adhere to company colours or fonts, if any?
- Is the key message clear to users?
- How can I improve on functionality or user experience?
- Does it contain appropriate call-to-actions?
- Are there elements that are too distracting?
The website is created at this stage. Apart from ensuring that the website meets function and form, web designer and programmer have to make it responsive for an optimal experience across desktop, tablet and mobile phones.
- Is the website responsive?
- Does the site have broken links?
- Are images optimised or compressed?
- Is the website tested for malicious codes or possible compromise?
- Are the pages search engine optimised?
This is the stage when web designer and client test the website and make improvements on it based on feedback gathered. It could involve several rounds of testing, debugging and revising before the final website can be published.
- Are all functionalities working?
- Is it tested on supported browsers?
- Are forms validating, submitting and reporting correctly?
- Do all links work?
- Is there a backup strategy?
Designing a website is an art and a science. It is a mix of attention to content design and technical know-how on many fronts. Clearly, many factors come into play when designing a website. The questions highlighted are just some of many that web designers deliberate on.
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The Articulat editorial team