The Process

We follow a proven five-step process: Define, plan, design, build, and launch.

Define

Discuss and document general directives for the company and site, including:

  • The brand: Past, present, and future
  • Short- and long-term goals for the site
  • Peers and competitors
  • Expected "user types" for the website
  • General "look and feel"
  • Project scope, budget, and work plan

Deliverable(s): Documentation of these general directives.

Plan

Refine each directive and identify how the new site will address it; for example:

  • What colors, images, terms of art, tone, etc., will contribute to or create the company brand?
  • What concrete steps can be taken to accomplish the short- and long-term goals for the site?
  • What function, content, or design features will create the desired look and feel?
  • What aspects or features of competitors' and peers' sites should be imitated, adapted, or avoided?
  • What will each user type expect from the site, and how will the site deliver?

Identify existing collateral copy that can be utilized on the site.

Review and analyze existing server-traffic logs, and begin planning search-engine optimization and search-engine marketing strategies.

Confirm project scope, budget, and work plan.

Deliverable(s): Final "blueprints" for the site, including:

  • Sitemap(s)
  • Wireframe site prototype
  • Process flows with third-party sites and/or components
  • Database design
  • Project milestones
  • QA checklists
  • Graphic design specifications

These blueprints will help to guide future management and growth well after the current development project is completed.

Design

From existing collateral, proposed collateral, and elsewhere, collect specific ideas for the graphic design.

If appropriate, commission original photographs.

If appropriate, research and purchase stock images.

Confirm precise specifications for colors, page dimensions, etc.

Confirm project scope, budget, and work plan.

Deliverable(s): Between one and three basic designs, followed by a home page and secondary-page template based on one finalized design.

Build

Coordinate the collection, writing, rewriting, editing, and proofreading of all copy.

Convert finalized designs into modular ASP/HTML page templates.

Code and implement all required scripting and programming.

Confirm project scope, budget, and work plan.

Deliverable(s): A working prototype of the new site.

Launch

Test all aspects of the prototype, and fix any deviations from the documented plans.

Activate the new site.

Submit site to the major search engines and directories.

Deliverable(s): The live site.