Before you begin any Web site, you must first have a good understanding of the project as a whole, as well as all the different steps or phases that you will move through during the Web-development process.
Most Web site projects have a logical flow of development, a type of evolution with distinct phases that, when followed, can streamline the entire design process. Here’s the general order in which most Web site projects evolve:
Define the goals and purpose of the site, construct a site identity, determine what content should go on the site, diagnose dynamic site requirements, if any, and figure out ways to attract visitors to the site after it gets published on the Web.
Draft and submit a proposal to the client for the project that outlines the scope of the work in written form so that both the designer and client have a clear understanding of the expectations and outcome of the project, as well as financial agreements, time frame, and deliverables. Upon approval, the proposal gets converted into an official contract that both parties sign, and a deposit is paid to the designer to begin work.
Characterize a target audience; construct an identity for the ideal site visitor; gather information about the target audience’s computer usage; determine the benefits to visitors; make decisions about layout, color, organization, and content; and finally mock up a design and present it to the client for approval.
Test the design on a testing server in the most popular browsers and browser versions on Mac, PC, and Linux platforms in the most popular operating systems (Windows XP, Vista, Mac OS X, and so on) at a variety of monitor resolutions; validate the code; check for spelling errors; fix coding errors; and otherwise ensure that each visitor can navigate through the site with no technical problems.
Secure a domain and hosting plan, upload the site’s files to a host server, retest the site, and be ready to maintain the site postlaunch.
Postlaunch Site Maintenance
Ensure that the site’s content stays relevant and up to date by adding new and editing existing content, as well as making improvements and other enhancements to the site.