I’ve always found it interesting and captivating reading the design process of others freelance web designers because it’s a good way to have an insight into others work, to see if I can learn anything from their process but also for curiosity.
So here is the break down of my design process :
Most of the times I’m hired to revamp an existing website, to make it more modern, change the colors or to customize the design. So I will have a look on my clients existing design and see where and how I can improve the design.
(If you already ordered my services please fill in the Online Form Planner for your website)
The first thing I do when I get an enquiry is to send the potential client a website planner.
The website planner is a series of questions I have listed in an Online Form that will gather requirements for the project.
The key objectives of the Planning document are :
- Find out who the client is and what they do
- Who their target market/user is – this includes client goals, target audience, detailed feature requests and as much relevant information as I can possibly gather. Even if the client has carefully planned his or her website, I will not be afraid to offer useful suggestions from my experience.
- Who their competition is
- What deliverables they want from me
- Timeframe and budget
- Gain access to servers and build folder structure – typical information to obtain and validate includes: FTP host, username and password; control panel log-in information; database configuration; and any languages or frameworks currently installed.
- Contracts that define roles, copyright and financial points – This is a crucial element of the documentation and should include payment terms, project closure clauses, termination clauses, copyright ownership and timelines.
- Determine required software and resources (stock photography, fonts, etc.)
3) Research & Ideas
I start by going through the current website and list things that can be improved. If you don’t have a website ( please see 3.1 ) yet I will go through the Planning Document and based on that information I will do a research on your competitors.
3.1) Competitors sites
The next stage is to analyse competitor websites: what is good and what is bad about them. If I can take on board what is good and eliminate what is bad, then there is a better chance to come up with a successful and better solution.
I suggest several improvements that can be made to the current site, showcase variousfeatures of other non-related sites that I feel can be integrated into the new site.
Depending on the project, new branding may be necessary including logo, stationary, company image and the website.
4) Information Architecture
I will mention here that at each stage I get feedback from the clients and discuss about any revision or correction they want. It’s important for me that my clients are getting involved in the whole process.
I write down every section of the website on post-its and arrange them (on the wall behind my PC Screens) in order of importance. This is an great technique that allows me to easily change and rearrange your order.
In the end I will end up with various levels of importance, which will help me with your sitemap and wireframes.
I start by sketching wireframes and then move them in a digital format to produce more professional looking wireframes that I can pass to the client.
Once the client is happy with the wireframe, is time to open Photoshop and start with a new canvas. The good thing about this process is that I now have a wireframe to build the design over.
If all is good to go, the front end development process starts and I produce the template for your homepage.
The project is complete and the templates are then passed to the client.
After launch I will still monitor the analytics and make suggestions on how to improve the site.
It’s hard (or impossible) to get it perfect first time, there are always things you can learn from how the users use the site and make improvements based on the experience.