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The 4 D’s of Web Design

The 4 D’s of Web Design

When meeting with prospects we often get asked, “How do you guys make a website?” Without getting overly technical, we are going to describe the four phases every web design project goes through – “The 4 D’s” – and the steps within each phase that make the magic happen.

Discovery Phase

  • Requirements and Specifications: A web design project begins with understanding your vision and goals. In order to transform this vision into a fully functioning and interactive website, we need to capture the complete set of specifications and functionality of the project. Will it have a blog? Will users be able to login to a private section? How will the news be handled? Will users be able to purchase a product?. Once we have the specs down we can move forward with our process.
  • Sitemap: A sitemap is a high level diagram depicting the general structure and architecture of the website. The goal for a sitemap is to be able to clearly identify the various sections, pages and navigation items that will make up the site. This step is critical since the sitemap will drive the content strategy and guide the development phase.

Design Phase

  • Wireframe: When we begin to wireframe, we begin by sketching out the general layout of a page. A wireframe is simply a black and white blueprint showing the overall placement of the elements on the page. This is the step that defines where the main navigation will go, where the logo will be placed as well as all images, text and media elements. By adding these placeholders, we get the foundation to design a user-friendly and incredibly awesome looking website for you.
  • Design: Once the wireframes are approved, we move on to designing your site. This is where we implement our creative ideas and we begin to design the look and feel of the website. One of our goals during the design phase is to capture the essence of your business, your culture as well as your products and services. A website is usually the face of your company to the world and it needs to reflect who you are and what your business has to offer.

Development Phase

  • Content: A website isn’t just about design. The site needs relevant content that clearly communicates your company’s story, its products, services and offerings. We also strive in developing keyword rich content to help improve the site’s search engine ranking. At this step we help you develop content or improve on the content you already have. Content production usually begins right after the sitemap has been approved.
  • Front End Development: This is where we take the approved design and turn it into the language of the internet, HTML. We splice and dice the design and code clean, search engine friendly and compliant HTML/CSS.
  • Back-end Development: The back-end is the brains of your website. This is where we bring your site to life by programming all the functionality, creating the database and implementing the site’s logic. During this phase we tie the CMS (Content Management System) to the HTML and make sure you have a way to easily manage all the features of your site as well as the content.

Delivery Phase

  • Testing: Since users will access your website from different computers, browsers, phones, iPads, etc, we test our creations on various platforms and browsers such as, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome and Safari. This in order to make sure the the user experience is the same whether you’re looking at the site on a Mac running Safari or a Windows 7 computer using Internet Explorer. We make sure our websites look great in all of them.
  • Launch: Once the site is complete we turn on the switch and introduce your newborn website to the world. We also make sure we pass cigars around and pop open the champagne.
  • Post Launch: We introduce you to the Content Management System (CMS) and let you test drive your new site. During this training session we show you how to manage the content, create new pages and upload files, images, videos, etc.

Our 4 D’s approach to Website design is very client-friendly and easy to follow. If you are ready to take your Website to the next level, we would be happy to further discuss our process with you. Feel free to leave us a comment or drop us a line if you have any questions.

Posted by Eric Garza on 07/06 at 02:44 PM in BusinessCreativeWeb Design

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