Failing to plan is planning to fail. Designing a website without a plan is similar to designing an automobile without an engine. Poor planning is a disaster waiting to happen for all web design companies, and by the time remedial efforts are put in place, it’s too late! Why do website designs fail? There are plenty of possible reasons, including:
- Poor technical skills of developers, testers, and designers.
- Lack of scope and absence of a requirements document which is generally the backbone of most projects.
- A half-baked design strategy for the website. A lot of companies engaged in website design services do not have a clear vision of the design. This usually results in a poorly executed website and lack of usability.
- Creating a website without following coding best practices and source code versioning. This results in uncontrolled code with zero development accountability.
- Quality assurance that lacks quality. Often, testers do not perform thorough functionality and regression testing before going live. The lack of a proper test plan also contributes to the downfall of the project.
There is no standard template or a "one glove fits all" strategy for successfully planning a web design project. The responsibility lies on web design companies to balance design best practices along with other usability factors, and deliver a successful project. The steps to planning a web design project are:
This is arguably the most important phase. Here you will assess what needs to be included, and most importantly, what need not be. A project charter, requirements analysis document, server configuration, and software and resource allocation are the stepping stones to this phase.
This stage revolves around transforming your requirements into reality. In order to have a sound design strategy in place, you must create a wireframe of the site, a mock-up, and ensure compliance with W3C standards, to name a few. A compelling design can make any organization involved in website design services stand out from the crowd.
This phase is where core programming and source code management takes place. In this phase, web design companies have a development framework in place along with usability and content design.
- Testing and Delivery
At this point, a full functional and regression testing of the website will be performed. The scope of testing is, but not limited to, cross-browser compatibility testing, code validation, and third party API and widget integration.
Now that the website is ready for public consumption, identify parts that deserve a second look. It also doesn’t hurt to move the site to a test server and perform a trial service. Although most web design companies follow this step religiously, they often fail to plug the gaps when it comes to broken links, out of date and erroneous content, and backward compatibility of browsers.
This is the business end of the planning lifecycle where customer interaction takes place. Hand off all necessary artifacts to the client, for example, documentation, source files, test plans, etc. Do not burn bridges with incomplete transition.
This six-pointer guide is by no means perfect. It is not a primer for readymade success. Planning a near perfect web design project could significantly alter your company’s bottom line on an upward curve. The credibility and relationships with your core customer and partner network will hinge greatly on how well planned and optimized your website is.