Developing a website has two primary moving parts that are content and website design. For a Company Owner, a Web Site is among the essential Investments that can be made.
A website is a virtual storefront and so has to be user-friendly, appealing, and clarify services and products ways to assist your prospective client.
It requires a whole lot of work from developers, designers, and customers to construct a site that looks impressive, attracts traffic, and assists a business to achieve its goals — while remaining on course and within budget.
Too often, Web Site developers and designers get some input from their clients and then go off to design and create the site. It can lead to two possible results. Either everything is excellent, or most often nothing looks good, and the Customer is not happy. Many times clients ask for significant adjustments, or the worst is they take the site in bad shape and also walk away unhappy. Neither of those outcomes is excellent for either party.
The most critical process of developing an excellent website is to have a clear understanding of what the client is requesting. As a web designer, it’s easy to get carried away in your creativity without sometimes understanding what precisely the client requirement is. It is essential to understand the vision and ideas of the client for bringing it to life. During the call with the client try to take as many written notes as possible and structure it well. Well-structured documents will go a long way through the web development process. Some of the important things to know from your client are the color scheme of your website, fonts and typography, website content, images to be used, logo, and other brand assets.
Check out this list of questions that you can ask your client before starting a web designing project.
Every website is created with some goals in mind. A client would want to create a website for various reasons, refer below examples of common website goals.
For a client, it might be easier to say “we want a good website full of features and content”. But that is not enough, and as a web designer or web developer, you are the one who is going to design the website. It, therefore, becomes your responsibility that you help your client understand the importance of web development conversion goals and clarify what they are interested in. By identifying the conversion goals, you can ideate well and also make the client understand what and why you have created.
A client is the one to tell what kind of website they are looking for. Any web-development process starts when a client is looking to design a website. Making a website that the client is not going to like is a waste of everyone’s time and effort. To avoid this, we should always involve the client in the web development collaboration process from the very start of the process. You should ask for continuous feedback from clients which will enable you to deliver your Customer what they need. By doing so, there will be no surprises for either client or web development team when it’s time to launch the website.
It would depend on the project if you would need a dedicated project manager on your team or not. Most of the time, either the web developer or the web designer can manage the role of the project manager. However, for larger projects, you will need a dedicated project manager. A project manager’s role in a web development project is to act as the bridge between the client and the web development team. Primarily a project manager facilitates smooth communication, documentation, and management of tasks for delivering the website project on time and within budget. Having a dedicated project manager on web development projects has many benefits, but it’s up to you to decide whether your project would need one or not. PMs are experienced professionals who have a good understanding of the language that web developers, web designers, clients, and other team members understand. And that is why they are an essential key to the web development collaboration process.
The designer Has to be willing to understand what makes your website unique.
If the designer does the homework to find out about a customer’s business and their vision for the website, the basis of a fantastic working relationship is created from the beginning. After all, a designer is the one who is going to bring the client’s vision to reality. When working on a web development project, a designer should make sure they try to get as many details and references as possible from the client and also make proper suggestions so that both client and designer understand each other’s point of view.
Well, it is no more a secret that content is the king. And copywriters are the ones who write content. A copywriter is an important person on the team in any web development team as these are the people who are going to communicate the ideas and visions of the client’s business to the website visitors. They are the ones who attract a new potential customer to the website and drive their journey from a visitor to newsletter subscriber or potentially a future client. Having a good copywriter on the web designing project is essential so take your time to find one whose existing samples and content material is in sync with your requirements.
I know we talked about the designer in the previous point, but let me tell you a website designer and UI/UX designer play different roles in the overall web development project. A UI/UX designer makes your website visually attractive and improves the user’s experience of your website. They look at things differently and find ways to improve user behavior and retention on your website. A web designer, on the other hand, enjoys solving problems of your users and providing them value by including all necessary elements on a website. For example, a web designer would say we need a CTA button here. However, a UI/UX designer would think about the placement of the button. How to drive the user to the CTA and how to optimize their interaction with the button. UI/UX designers primarily work on improving the experience of the user and not necessarily the client. They make sure they have enough data to advise what and why the teams need to build to solve the client’s purpose and also to create a great website.
Ever seen cool-looking animations or graphics that make you stop and stay on the site, to get a good look at the beautiful motion graphics? Yeah, this is what motion designers create. Motion designers are different from UI/UX designers and website designers as they primarily focus on creating beautiful motion graphics and animations that are in sync with the client’s brand, the tone of the content, and at the same time are visually appealing. An excellent motion graphic on a website is the one that grabs a visitor’s attention and communicates a message or emotion to connect with the content of the webpage.
Creating motion graphics and animations for your website is highly rewarding and can be within budget if done correctly. However, just filling up your site with a lot of motion graphics is not advisable as it distracts the potential client from actually taking the action that we intend them to take.
Website development collaboration is not just about content and design; it mainly consists of code or simply said compute language that tells the system of what is to be created. To successfully create a website and make the client happy the developer must understand the features and functionality that the client is requesting. Also, it’s usually observed that clients and designers might not understand the language that developers use. After all, clients and designers are tech geeks, so developers should make sure they either visually show how the feature will work or build a prototype of the features requested on the website before they develop the actual product.
It is especially important for the website developer and website designer. They should know the terms and understand each other’s language to collaborate while working on the web development project. For, e.g. a developer should know about UI/UX, wireframing, prototype, mockups, website navigation, etc. Similarly, a designer should know about brand style guide, typography, accentuating color pallette, UI components, animations, etc. It makes the process of developing and designing the website 10x effective. In this stage, you even include clients to give suggestions wherever you need one. But it’s entirely up to the understanding of the client and web development agency. Setup a fixed process and establish clear deliverables for every party involved. It makes sure everyone understands who is accountable for what tasks, who is dependable on whom, what is to be expected from whom, what tasks are on priority, what is the deadline, etc.
When working on a new project, always make sure to determine what the customer wants. The very first step in the web development collaboration process is finding out exactly what the Customer wishes to achieve with their sites. Who is the target audience? What methods would the client use to get more visitors to the sites?
In general B2B businesses wish to acquire new leads with their site.
E-commerce companies are seeking to sell their products online. And then some companies are trying to either educate their audience or trying to demonstrate the work they have done in their industry. So each of these different kinds of businesses would need a different website design strategy. Sometimes clients also have more than one goal to achieve from a single website. That is why whenever starting on a new project, make sure you understand and agree upon the goals of the website development project.
Project goals and deliverables might sound similar; however, they are different in many aspects. A web development project goals talk about the overall objects of your client’s business goals that the client is trying to achieve. On the other hand, web development project deliverables talk about specific tasks that can be assigned, prioritized, marked as open or complete, and have set deadlines. Think about it this way, a goal is what the client is expecting from their website, and deliverables are what you expect to be completed by the web development project team. Defining deliverables is essential so that each member of the team knows what they are responsible for, what are the deadlines, and how much exact work is needed to complete the web development project. Web development project deliverables help set project timelines, and based on these you can smoothly communicate with your client. One should make sure all the deliverables are well defined, and they match with the objectives of the web development project. It might take a day or a few days depending upon the plan to set up the deliverables. But this investing time in setting up deliverables will get you higher ROI on your web development project. Then instead of going in circles on tasks and objectives for months to come.
Not all website development projects are easy, and so understanding the scope of the project is essential. All the parties involved in the web development collaboration should make clear as to what is to be expected from each collaborator. Try to assess the features list, design requirements, and ask questions immediately to make things clear from the very start. Do not assume something if you are not very sure about it. The best way to collaborate on a web development project is to use a project management tool like zipBoard. Where you can track all the discussions and feedback visually, so that is no chance of missing out even on the smallest of details.
There could be two scenarios while working on a web development project.There was no website in the past. And a completely new website is to be developed from scratch.
The second scenario is where there is already an existing website, but it has to be redesigned for various reasons. For example – the current site looks too outdated; the website is not serving the purpose it was intended to among many other reasons.
In case a website is being created from the very scratch, then you need to conduct an extensive Q&A session with the client to understand their requirements.
However, these sets of questions to ask the client will completely change when a website is being redesigned. Because for the most part web developers can run various tests to understand the current structure of the site, its online reputation, the user experience of website visitors, etc. By analyzing the existing website, you can get answers to a lot of questions based on which you can plan what things are needed and what needs to be improvised. Here is some analysis that you can perform on a website.
Some amazing tools can help you understand the metrics mentioned above. Try these tools if you would like to, it includes both free and premium tools. For the once premium, you can utilize the trial version to start with.
User interviews allow you to understand exactly what it is that the website user or visitors like to see, read, and take action on. Doing usability and web accessibility testing for an existing website can be simple as there are already subscribers, customers, and new visitors to whom you can ask questions. However, for a completely new website, this can be a little tricky, and you might have to do a sample of few prospects. For a new site, you can start by asking the question with your user persona profiles, which we will discuss next.
In either scenario, by doing user testing, you will get to know your users well. And it, in turn, will help with website goals and conversions. Some questions that you might ask during user interviews are
Here is any amazing questions bank for Usability and Web accessibility – Read more
I am assuming you might have come across this word previously, however, let me start by talking about what a User persona is. User Persona is a lookalike fictional character of your potential prospects or clients. Having an understanding of your website’s user persona helps you design your products according to the needs of your target audience. A user persona also helps segment a different kind of user in different sets of the target audience. So you know what you can create for each set of audiences and how to provide them with one of the best experiences when they visit your website, products, or services.
For creating a user persona, you will need to research various demographic and psychographic data.
“Louis Grenier” from Hotjar have put a very well written post on how to create a user persona check it out here
Now that you have done the initial setup, teams, and structure of the projects, it’s to build a prototype instead of the complete site. This might seem time-consuming, but it actually would save a lot of time for your web development team and the client. You might ask, why do we need a prototype in the first place? The answer is so that you can get the prototype reviewed and approved by the client before you build the actual website. A prototype consists of the research of similar sites, sketch of the website layout, Navigations to pages, and sample images and sample text. By building a prototype, you are doing a huge favor to all the parties involved in the web development project. It helps visualize the idea of the website, share new design concepts, a clear reference to what the final product will look like, and get initial client feedback so that you avoid a rework of the final product. Website prototype can be viewed as a combination of website wireframe and website mockups on steroids. Learn more on how to create a good prototype for a website.
Getting feedback for the product you are developing is a crucial part of the whole web development process. Feedback provides us with the user’s perspective of interacting with websites and helps in enhancing the website. Usually, when we discuss reviews and feedback the first thing that comes to our mind is it would include a lot of to and from emails and messages. But that is not the case anymore; instead, we can utilize the power of visual feedback to explain better our experience and enhancements needed on websites. zipBoard, for example, provides a full-fledged visible reviews and feedback management solution to explain feedback better and take action on those feedbacks.
Sitemaps help map users’ journeys on a website. It is a well-designed plan that shows connections between different pages on a website. Well-planned navigation through all the content of a website helps a user to enter the website and learn relevant information on the site and take some action on the website. It is better to plan on this outline or sitemap while building the website. So you know where to place what links and call to action buttons. And sitemaps are not limited just to the user behavior, but it also makes a lot of difference in how search engines index a website’s web pages. Website sitemaps provide a bird’s eye view of all the connections between web pages on a website. It’s a best practice to show the sitemaps and web pages linking in a visual format so that the collaborators can clearly understand how webpages are linked. And can provide their feedback on the sitemap diagrams.
Once the prototype of the website is built and reviewed with the client and has been approved. It’s now time to start developing the site. Website development involves various stages e.g. coding, designing, content writing, linking pages, and posts. So you must follow a continuous feedback loop with clients and other web development collaborators. Make sure that you have set up a process around how the collaborators are going to add their reviews and who is supposed to manage all the tasks created from that feedback. Having a continuous feedback loop makes the whole web development process collaborative experiences. However, if you develop the website entirely and never take feedback from the client, the chance is that there is going to be a lot of rework and delay in website launch. Even worse is more effort, and money gets spent, leaving the client unhappy. You can check out this article on how visual reviews are essential while developing a website.
In this phase of the web development collaboration, we are looking to get more feedback from visitors and guests. To learn what their thoughts are on the website, what improvement they can suggest. Engaging with visitors, this makes them feel as if they are an integral part of your website. Not necessarily every feedback that you get is going to be something that can be implemented. But more or less, you will understand the direct user’s perspective and help boost the engagement on your website.
Remember we talked about website goals and conversions, yes you are right we discussed at the very start of the article. Testing your website will help in identifying what the factors that can be improved are. We already discussed the different tests that you can run for your website. Refer to the section “Test and analyze existing websites” and start analyzing your website.
Measuring your efforts is vital to understand whether the intended goals are going to be met or not. When working in a collaborative environment on single projects, it’s essential to understand the time and efforts that went into creating the website. You can only get this data if you have been managing your web development project within a collaborative tool like zipBoard. zipBoard is completely equipped with project management features that allow you to measure web development teams collaborative efforts.
As far as the website is concerned, make sure you integrate analytics within the site to learn the traffic and related metrics. These metrics will tell you whether you are on track of achieving the goals as was discussed while the project was being set up.
Taking a step back to reassess your situation while working in an Agile team is crucial to meter your progress and to make sure whether the plan of action is impactful. After initial rounds of testing your web project, you and your clients and stakeholders need to gain insight on what is working and what is not. It will serve as a checkpoint and assist you in understanding what is working and what is not.
zipBoard will help you keep track of all tasks, bugs and issues which you can export in an CSV file for deeper analysis.
One of the crucial decisions that a team has to make after getting review and feedback is to choose whether the team should persevere or pivot. Web developers have to constantly iterate the project as it progresses because the user testing data tells them to.
If you are building a website for your business, it is of paramount importance that you build one that is iterable through time. A good business website will help you inculcate all the changes that you might have in your business in the foreseeable future.
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