The Different Stages of Web Design and Why They all Matter
For many, web design is a daunting and confusing process. It can seem like it has so many steps that you may not know where to begin or how to go about the process. If you’re feeling frustrated with your lack of knowledge, fear not. Let us help demystify some common misconceptions about website design and what you need to do for your site launch to succeed! We’ve created this blog post to introduce the different stages of web design and why they all matter. It’s time to forgo the templates and jump into an actual web design workflow.
The discovery phase marks the starting point of web design. This phase is also known as the “research phase” or “pre-planning.” This phase aims to determine three things. What you are designing for, who your target audience is, and your project’s goals. Some questions that need answering during the discovery stage are:
- What is the web design goal?
- Who will be using the site?
- What content do we need for the site?
- What message do you want to be conveyed with the site?
- What will the target audience’s expectations be while they are visiting the site?
- Will there be an ad or social media landing page?
- Is there a budget for this project?
To find the answers to all the questions, you will likely need to schedule an initial meeting with your client or web design team. The right questions and understanding your client’s needs will help you know what you need to do as a web designer. It will also allow you to establish a good working relationship with your client, which is essential throughout the web design process.
It is essential to note this initial meeting is an integral part of the design process. Without getting this right, the rest of it could be all for nothing. That is because, in this stage, you are learning the purpose of the website. You will be able to sift through the information you’ve gathered and figure out what needs to go where for the site to be successful.
After you and your team have gathered sufficient information about your client and their target audience, it’s time to map the site structure. The flow chart is essentially an outline of the pages to be included in the website.
For example, your home page allows you to land on your contact page, about page, etc. If you go to the services page, you might then be able to go to specific services.
Flow charts are essential for web design because they help you understand how users will interact with the website. They also allow you to create a clear picture of how each page flows from one to another. In addition, flow charts can help you find inconsistencies in your research findings and discover the questions that were not answered during discovery. The most important part here is to be sure the site is user-friendly. Once this part is complete, you will have a better idea of what needs to be done next during web design.
At this point, you will begin to draft your wireframes. The first thing you must do is establish a strong foundation, and wireframes are the best way to achieve this. Wireframes are essentially the blueprints for your site, and they’ll hold the structure of what you built into it. This impacts the overall user experience on your site. You might want to create both visual and non-visual wireframes depending on how much information is needed for certain website sections. For example, if there is a detailed page on your site that requires lots of text and additional images, you should create a visual wireframe to make it easier for the satisfaction of web design.
The wireframes will allow you and other team members (be it developers or project managers) to see how everything fits together. You’ll be able to figure out the position of all the elements on your site without having to worry about aesthetics just yet.
Hear From Industry Experts
Read the latest tips, research, best practices, and insights from our community of expert B2B service providers.
Copywriting and SEO
Once you have finalized your wireframe, it’s time for the next step of the process, writing content for the site. This includes everything from coming up with the header to writing the actual text for each page. It’s important to note that content cannot be created in a vacuum. Its purpose is to serve the needs of visitors and search engines, so it must be written with those two audiences in mind.
Copywriting is essential because your content shapes the user’s online experience. On a basic level, it helps to establish an emotional connection between visitors and your website. In other words, as users read the copy you’ve written for them, they begin to form opinions of your site based on what is being presented to them. If you have done the right research for your potential clients, the copy should intrigue them to convert into a customer. And, for most websites, this is the entire goal.
SEO (search engine optimization) is also an integral part of web design. It’s what will help you increase traffic to the site and get a higher ranking in search engines. Essentially, it helps search engine spiders find and rank your site for certain keywords. This stage cannot be underestimated in its importance. If no one can find your page, then what good is the rest?
Website Design Mockup
The Design Mockup, or Design Phase, is when the fun really begins. When it comes to the web development process, mockups are the visual elements on the front end of your page. It is how you intend the final product to look. Mockups also play a crucial role in web development because they provide visual context, especially when working with developers who might not have the same design sense. This means that mockups aren’t just crucial for designers. The web development process is an essential part of conveying ideas and concepts to developers working on the project.
At this stage, you are essentially creating design documents that web developers will use to turn your dream into a full website. You must have a clear picture of precisely what you want your front end to be because your mockups can be highly detailed. This should include things like typography or fonts, graphic design, animations, images, and more. In addition, they need to capture the overall layout and structure of what you are trying to convey. Otherwise, there’s no way for web developers to work from them accurately.
When possible, the design team should use web design tools that can provide CSS and HTML data. When such a tool is used, it will help reduce development time and allow the development team to create each web page nearly identical to the original design. This even goes for WordPress websites.
Additionally, the design team should be fluent in visual design tools such as photoshop. Tools such as Photoshop will help the team quickly make visually appealing websites in their web design project.
And do not forget the typography for the site. In many cases, this can make or break a site. If you don’t believe me, go to a website that uses comic-sans, and let me know what you think.
Once you are happy with the final design, then we begin the development phase. In this stage, the website design process will begin with actual web development. The difference is that in this phase, there will be a developer who takes the mockups and wireframes you’ve created to make them a reality. In other words, this isn’t just coding because when you work with the web design process in mind. It can’t be about implementing whatever features you want willy-nilly. It must be about web design and sticking to your vision.
During this phase of the web development process, you should consider if there needs to be a content management system. For many websites, it might be necessary. A content management system will allow the client to update their front end and make changes accordingly without disrupting the design elements already in place. The web development process should also consider SEO by ensuring that all content is easily found by users while increasing your website ranking in search engines.
Quality Assurance Phase
Once the website is complete, it’s time to test everything out and ensure everything works as expected. While it might seem like this phase isn’t that important, it’s one of the most crucial phases. The last thing you want is for your site to be full of bugs that can ruin your web design experience.
When you test your site, you’ll want to check for aspects like load time, button functionality, form functionality, and responsiveness. You need to ensure that everything is working correctly to prevent unforeseen glitches or breakages on some browsers or devices.
Do not rush this phase. If you want the client to see or have a high-quality website, then this phase needs to be played out if necessary.
Once everything has been tested, and you are happy with the results, it’s time to launch your website officially. Now, this isn’t to say that you won’t be updating your site after this point. It just means that the initial version is complete and available for visitors.
As a best practice, I recommend that you do some marketing or outreach before launching so that you can get people to your site and spread the word. So, take a deep breath, dive in, and launch that website!
I hope this article helps with explaining how important these stages are when you are designing a website. It’s not just about what it looks like on the outside. It’s about how you get there and how it works behind the scenes. And if you don’t take these stages into account, your site is doomed to fail or be mediocre at best.
Happy Designing, everyone!