Whether your Internet project is large or small, our web design methodology will always contains these critical elements:
- A look at your product/service/concept/ideology. Whatever it is that you are hoping to promote. What features does it have? And more importantly what benefits does it bring to your potential customer. NOTE this process is the most important part of the project. From this list of benefits will grow the framework and emphasis of the website.
- A look at your typical customers. (Or your ideal target customer. That’s right, they may not be the same) Do they belong to a typical market “value segment”? What are the things that are important to them? What “style” do they respond to? Funky? conservative? friendly? What problems does your product or service solve for them? What need or want does it fulfil?
- A look at the competition. What do they do better than you? What do you do better than them? What can you offer your customers that they can’t/don’t? Why do your customers prefer to deal with you (HINT: ask them!)? This process helps to determine your USP (Unique Selling Proposition). The thing that sets you apart from everybody else in your line of business.
- Establish the goal of the website. Exactly what action do you want your site visitors to take? place an order? Join your email newsletter? Request your freebie? Generate a sales query? They must do SOMETHING. What are the primary and secondary objectives?
- Choosing key search phrases. This process may establish 20-50 potential “search phrases” or words that your ideal prospect might use to find your product in a search engine like Google or Yahoo! We establish these now so that they can be worked into the text, headings and navigation links on your site. This gives you a head-start in achieving high rankings and a much better chance of being found by your prospect when she uses a search engine to find your product.
- Design and usability. Establish the look and feel, design the structure and navigation while complying with accepted usability standards.
- Offline marketing. How will the offline and online aspect complement or help each other?
- Write the words. We’ll start with some of your existing marketing material and polish it with what we have learned from all the steps above. Then we’ll read it again and fix it and polish it some more.
- Choose the images. Carefully chosen photography must enhance your message or inform in its own right. Beware! Whirling Gizmos don’t sell. Letters jumping into an email envelope don’t make me want to email you! Flash and other forms of animation should be used judiciously and kept to a minimum. Why? Because they distract visitors from your message.
- Build and code. Then and only then does page construction and coding begin.
- Test. We test the browser compatibility, navigation, forms, links and database programming. We don’t want your reputation tarnished by having your prospects find the problems before we do!
- Usability testing. This can be as simple as creating some “tasks” for a novice user to carry out on the website, monitoring for problem areas, bottlenecks and confusion. Large, complex websites should invest in a detailed usability study to eliminate stumbling-blocks. The goal is to ensure a straightforward, plain-sailing website which leads your prospect directly to the response you’re aiming for.
- Revise where necessary as a result of the usability test and client feedback.
- Acceptance testing. This is usually a short period after launch in which the client may ask for amendments (but not major changes outside of the original scope) at no charge. The length of time appropriate for acceptance testing will depend on the size, complexity, and technology architecture of the web site.
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