I do not waste time hunting for themes, showing them to you, only to discover they lack features in critical areas or to find out some important part is broken. I use a Framework theme that I have already tested many times and I’m sure it works, is well supported, and will work for along time in the future. A Framework theme is a set of tools for custom designing a website to fit the needs of almost any client.
Learn Your Business & Objective
But design is not the first job. First I have to learn about your business. Your website will be a tool for improving your business. I need to know how to optimize your website to achieve your particular goal. If we do our job correctly, you and I, your website will be unique and reflect your vision.
Outline & Produce Content Components
The next step is to outline your objectives, then produce content such as photography, sales pitches, product descriptions, staff bios, diagrams of ideas, logos, slogan, taglines, schedules, pricing patterns, anything that will become a component in the website. These components are the building blocks of the design. We must have them gathered up to understand the kind of website we need to build. Before we gather the content and decide upon the details of your intentions, we don’t even know how large the website will be.
Outline the Navigation & Sketch Page Layouts
Now we can outline the actual website. We can identify an ideal navigation pattern, sketch some page layouts, and even begin installing and configuring all the software. Yes, there will be layout sketches and outlines, but no, I do not recommend wasting a lot of time trying to create Photoshop renderings of final pages. We know which pages should contain which segment of content. The software has a lot of intriguing tools for displaying that content. New ones are invented every week. We should develop the design while building the website, and let the content shape the outcome. In this way, websites are not like buildings. It is more like a painting. You don’t really know what the final design will be. Ideas happen during the design process.
Begin Website Assembly & Content Imports
I would then load up all the images into the Image Library, ready for placement. I would create the empty pages and link them to the navigation pattern. Then I would begin to develop various modules of content on each page. During this period, the client, you, can visit the website sometimes and watch it being assembled. It will look sketchy at for a while. There will be good formats and weak ones that will replaced the next day. Then eventually it will start to resemble a final design.
Real Time Design Process
As you watch the website being built, you might get a few new ideas. Be careful not to throw a cherry bomb into the canoe and create a lot of extra work with ideas that cancel out all the work you just paid for, but there is always room for improvement and it is easier to see new ideas during construction than before there was anything to look at.
Proofreading & Testing
A website really is a piece of software, with a UX design, modified code, many links and images, and a well defined and intended function. Therefore, when it is completed, it needs to be thoroughly proofread and tested. Do not underestimate the importance of the testing period. You will catch errors in links and in language. No one is perfect. A month after you have launched your website, you will see another way you need to improve it. If you do not make improvements, then you are ignoring one of the most important tools for success in your business that was ever invented.
AquaJazz is here in Portland Oregon. Call me to talk creatively about your new website design.