Website Design Process

Every designer has their own process--I've refined mine over the course of many years to best create an effective, efficient workflow and a beautiful, manageable result. Here's how I'll approach creating your new website.

 

 

The Process: Step 1

Initial Consultation

First, fill out my new client inquiry form.

This lets me know all the big picture information of what you're wanting to do, including scope, expectations, timeline and budget. I will evaluate whether or not I can help with your project (typically, issues arise because of timeframes) and if I can, we'll schedule a phone call, Skype session or meeting (if you're local to Portland, Oregon, or I'm going to be traveling in your area) to get to know one another. Not only will we talk about your project, but we'll also just make sure that we're comfortable with the way one another works and our expectations.

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The Process: Step 2

Project Proposal

I put together a proposal for every project so we're all on the same page.

This includes your budget, the scope of services, any special considerations I recommend you mull over, a timeframe and additional options you can add on to your project. Some projects are fairly cut and dry, while I may present other folks with a menu of options. Regardless, each proposal is clearly and concisely fleshed out in an understandable, straightforward manner.

You can ask questions, pick and choose your options and once you accept that proposal, we'll schedule your start date once I've received your signed contract and deposit. 

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The Process: Step 3

Discovery & Planning

The big day is here--we're ready to start your project.

Typically, we'll schedule a check-in phone call or meeting in the first week of your project. This helps get your project fresh in our minds, we can talk about the calendar, and go any ideas or features you are hoping to integrate. During this first phase, you will need to be working to get all of your content wrangled--or you can build this work into your project, should you need copywriting assistance or logo development. You'll also want to spend some time thinking about what images and other assets (the "stuff" that goes into your site) you'll be needing. I will also provide you with a detailed questionnaire to help guide our work.

Meanwhile, I will develop your sitemap--which I think of as a living document--your first project deliverable. On the sitemap, I'll make recommendations for how your content should be organized and linked and make suggestions about approaches to your content that will punch up your site. Concurrent to this work, I will be planning any features and integrations for your site and testing their functionality. And, I will create a Pinterest board for your project and a shared Dropbox folder, as well as a locked area in my website that will serve as your "Project HQ."

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The Process: Step 4

Design Concept

At this point, it's time for me to get to work on your design concept.

Most clients receive a single design concept representing a design direction that we can explore. Occasionally, folks add an additional concept or design direction onto their project in the proposal phase, but I've found that for most clients this is unnecessary. Based off of that design direction, we'll revise that design concept up to two more times until we have a design we're both happy with. Typically, I will provide clients with a homepage concept, an internal page and--as needed--a special page, such as a gallery, blog or store. Since every project is different, I customize what I present for your needs. Oftentimes, clients include what I call "lightweight branding" or a full branding process in their project and those clients will also be presented with a few color and typography options as well. If you've elected to include a logo in your project, you will also have 2 - 4 choices in logo direction to look at as well. When your concept is ready, I'll provide you with a password to view work project online and work through revisions via a locked part of my website and/or a platform called Invision.

Once your design is finalized, your payment for the design phase is due and this starts the next major component of your project.

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The Process: Step 5

Production & Review

It's time to dive in and get your entire site laid out.

At this point, I should have received all of your final copy and other content for your website so we can build out your website. We'll get your site built out, all content formatted and double-check the nuts and bolts such as forms, checkout notices and other key pieces so you're launch ready. For larger projects, I engage an eagle-eyed consultant to help with link-checking and other quality control tasks so we have another set of eyes on your project. Usually, I will make a few recommendations for small design changes or content restructuring at this point as well, if I see anything that needs attention during our internal review. Once our internal review is completed, you will be added on to your website and you can review your site while I finish up all of your search engine optimization work in preparation for your launch. 

At this point, you're 90% done!

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The Process: Step 6

Launch: Let's go live!

We're ready to go!

We pick a day and we unleash your new website into the world! This means that we'll convert you to an active Squarespace account, remove the site lock and map your domain. Once you're live, we'll submit your site to search engines and social media services (ie, Facebook, Pinterest Rich Pins) and make sure everything is functioning smoothly. Keep in mind, it can take awhile for your domain to fully function and for Google to display your site's information--patience is rewarded here. 

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The Process: Step 7

Training

It's essential that you know how your site works, even if your plan is to have someone like myself do major updates.

Changing text, adding a page and swapping out photos are all small things you should understand about managing your website. Because I keep an eye toward user manageability, your new website will be user-friendly--but there's still a learning curve! If you're local to Portland, Oregon, or if I'll be traveling in your area, we'll conduct your training in person. If you're remote (like most of my clients), we will train you via Skype (or Google Hangouts or your preferred virtual meeting space) and I will also make recordings of any key processes that will be yours to keep so you can refer to them in the future.

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