WEB DESIGN

The different areas of web design include:

  • web graphics
  • interface
  • authoring
  • including standardised code and proprietary software
  • user experience design
  • search engine optimization

The term web design is normally used to describe the process relating to the front-end (client side) design of a site including writing mark up. Web designers are expected to have an awareness of usability and if their role involves creating mark up then they are also expected to be up to date with web accessibility guidelines.

WEB DESIGN PROCESS

Step 1: Discover
Step 2: Plan
Step 3: Design
Step 4: Develop
Step 5: Launch
Step 6: Maintain

Step 1: Discover

The Discover phase of the web design process is all about information-gathering. This step is important to understand more about the business (industry), the target market (customers), and the ultimate goal (aim for the website).
Questions to ask the owner / manager
1. What does the business do?
2. What sets your business apart from your competitors?
3. Who are your competitors?
4. Who is your ideal customer?
5. What are the general demographics of your audience (or site visitors)?
6. Describe the service this website is intended to provide or promote.
7. What is the goal of your website?
8. What is your dream for the website?
9. Who is responsible for making the final decisions?
For Redesign:
10. Are there current specific issues with the current site you hope to correct or improve?
11. What do you like and dislike about your current system?
12. What primary action do you want your primary audience to take when visiting your site?

Step 2: Plan

Research and planning will help clarify your objectives for the website and guide your design, so it is good to spend a generous amount of time in this stage of the process. Just like the saying, “measure twice, cut once,” spending time on website planning is a good investment that will ultimately save you time and even money in the long-run.
During the planning phase, you’ll want to review or create an SEO strategy for the website.
The planning phase of website design includes 3 basic tasks:

A. Review or Create an SEO Strategy

• Consult with the client on search terms for their business/industry
• Research and review keyword volumes
• Create a spreadsheet of keywords/keyphrases
• Audit existing content for SEO focus
• Make a list of SEO content needs to fill gaps
• Map keywords/keyphrases to existing or needed content

B. Create the Website Sitemap

Planning the sitemap prior to working on any website design has several benefits since you can build your design around the most important pages, plan the website navigation more efficiently, and get an overall idea of the content that still needs to be written.
• Using your SEO Strategy, build a sitemap with appropriate page hierarchies and content list.
• Create an actual document for your sitemap/site outline. The sitemap is used as a checklist to guide the project.
• Include basic website pages (About, Contact, etc.) plus additional keyword/keyphrase pages.

C. Content Review & Development

The last part of the website planning process includes an in-depth review of the website content. You’ll need to take an audit of existing content (if the client has a website already) and make a plan for producing new content.

• Review existing web content
• Ask for non-web content such as brochures, business cards or flyers
• Hire or assign writers for content needs
• Put deadlines on content completion

Step 3: Design

The third step of the web design process is to design how the website will look. In this step, a website wireframe is created with basic web page elements such as the header, navigation, widgets, etc. The wireframe can then be moved into a more realistic mockup using a program such as Photoshop.

For each page design, ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the main goal of the page?
  • Is it clear to users what action they need to take?
  • How does the design encourage users to take an action?

Step 4: Develop

In the Develop step, the website design is translated to actual code that makes the website work. This stage can be the most lengthy.
The following feedback can be sent on a weekly basis to give an update on this process.
• This is what I did this week (past)
• This is where we are (present)
• This is what’s next (future)

The basic steps for website development include:

1. Install WordPress on the testing host server
2. Install the WordPress theme
3. Install the plugins that is required like contact form and cache.
4. Using the mockups (Photoshop and wireframe designs) to create the live site
5. Test and optimise along the way (meta tags, mobile view and Internet Explorer compatibility)

Step 5: Launch

Finally, it’s time to launch the website. Since there are so many steps involved in launching a website, it’s a good idea to use a checklist to make sure you haven’t missed a step.

Before the website is launched it is important to proofread and check the following:

• Broken links
• All contact forms work correctly
• Redirections for links that existed and were not included in the new website
• Test all pages on different mobile devices
• Make sure all images are optimised to the lowest size without losing quality
• Check the speed of the web pages with Page Speed insights, Pindom and Gt Metrix
• Make sure you have a backup in place

Step 6: Maintain

This last and final step of web design is often overlooked, but website maintenance is important for the long-term health and success of a website.
Before a new website project even begins, educate potential clients on the long-term responsibilities of owning a website. Just like owning a car or house, a website will need upkeep and maintenance.

On a basic level, a WordPress maintenance service includes the following necessary actions to keep a WordPress site running smoothly:

• WordPress Updates
• Theme and Plugin Updates
• WordPress Backups
• WordPress Security
• WordPress Hosting
WordPress maintenance can also extend into other areas of website upkeep such as SEO, adding new content or updating existing content, comment approval/replies, spam clean-up and more.

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