The process of web design is often discussed and focused on, but without the initial planning, a website’s best intentions can be ruined.
The planning stage of a website comes before the design process, and without it the direction of the website can take many unnecessary turns which could increase costs dramatically. Planning and preparation are key to a successful website, so in this blog post we’ll go through our four key stages of planning.
First and foremost, we listen carefully to your brief, thoughts and ideas, in order to work out exactly what you’re looking to achieve. We prompt the discussion with such questions as ‘what is your website for?’ – an obvious question to ask, but without a good outline from the start, the rest of the planning will be made much harder.
Your site’s purpose could be to inform or to entertain, to be product-based and primarily focused on e-commerce or to raise awareness of an issue or business. It may well be a combination of these, so the aim is to gain a solid understanding of the purposes in order to build a foundation for the website.
Identifying your target audience can involve considerable research, such as assessing target markets or examining competitors websites to see what approach they have taken. Asking yourself relevant questions will help, such as: Who am I aiming at? (will they be contractors or other businesses, customers or perhaps volunteers?). What age are they likely to be? What will they be using my website for?
Time spent researching can help everyone involved gain a better insight into the kind of information that will need to be included, and the order of importance.
Once we’ve identified the content that we need to present and who it’s aimed at, we then use wireframes to plan how we’re going to structure that information.
We believe that wireframes are vital to the success of any web project. Wireframes are used as a template to show the basic content layout and priority of information that best supports the website’s business objectives. Wireframes don’t usually contain graphical elements, just placeholders for the final text and images.
Finally, we start researching the best ways of achieving your goals. This could range from which technologies to use, to whether you’ll need a mobile-optimised version of the site. Thorough research at this stage will ensure that your site is future-proof and can grow with the needs of your business.
If you have a project in mind but you’re not quite sure where to start, we’ve produced a project planner document which can be downloaded here. This will help you to start thinking about what you’re looking to achieve, and we’re always happy to meet with you and offer our expertise to help you get where you need to be.
Got a project in mind? Talk to us.