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Creative Design Pros - Designers Forum

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Joshua

What are the planning steps for a new website?

Joshua Adams is a Wordpress expert with over 10 years of web design and development experience.

I recently posted an article over at SpaceCoastDaily.Com about the planning steps for a new website presence. Most people don't realize that there's alot of planning that goes into a website before you ever start developing... that is if you want the website to produce any sort of positive results.

What has your experiences been with building websites or having a website built for you? How did you plan for it and how did that help the final product? I'd be glad to throw my input in there as well, but I'm actually interested in the opinions of the members here.

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  • May 28, 2012
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  • Jenny M.

    Jenny

    Jenny M.

    Web Designer with UX/UI experience

    Wow, Joshua, I thought you'd never ask! I am totally convinced that the best way to start a new Website or revamp an existing one is to ask "Who are you talking to?" There are billions of people online every day; if your Website is ever to be anything other than a money-sucking hole in cyberspace, you need to clearly define who your target audience is and how you will attract their favorable attention.

    I like the idea of persona-building as a first step. I would start by asking the sales reps and the customer service people about who the customers are, what they want, what they complain about, why they buy your company's products or services, and what makes them leave for your competitors. Sales reps know what objections they get when they're trying to win new business, and what benefits sell the product or service to new people. Customer service people hear about what goes wrong (or right) with those who have bought what you sell and have been using it for awhile. Based on the hands-on knowledge of these two groups you can get a pretty good picture of who your customers are.

    I won't go into much more detail about this as you could write a book about the subject, and some have. But I can tell you that at our company, the current site, which is based on the organization's structure and conventional marketing models, has not been a howling success. It's not bad, but we're already talking about the next update, which will come much closer to the user-centered model. We haven't done the really intensive persona building where you create profiles with photos of the hypothetical users, but we've had systematic discussions about who uses each product and why. This has resulted in insights into how to build the content architecture so it speaks to the needs and preferences of each type of customer we already have. We are assuming new customers would be similar to existing ones - this may not be true for all companies but we're pretty sure it will work for us.

    Now we're doing wireframing of new pages based on user/customer/prospect needs. Wireframes enable you to set up content architecture without being distracted by the "eye candy" factors like graphics and colors. Those are the icing on the cake; first you have to bake the cake.

    So if I were in charge of creating or redoing a corporate Website, this is the process I'd follow:

    Research into customer feedback
    Persona building
    wireframing based on personas
    User testing of wireframes
    Prototypes of site and pages
    User testing of prototypes
    Final revisions
    rollout
    Review of site performance and user feedback
    Ongoing revisions and updates

    Thanks for giving me a chance to chime in on this subject, it is dear to my heart!

  • Joshua A.

    Joshua

    Joshua A.

    Joshua Adams is a Wordpress expert with over 10 years of web design and development experience.

    Fantastic, Jenny! I'm so glad you chimed in and with such a fantastic response. Much of that is very close to how we do things at Creative Impact, but I do believe I've learned more from you and gained some great insight for my article. I'll be sure to mention you in the article and send you a link to it when it goes up.

    Anyone else have more input? Are there things Jenny missed or maybe things you would do differently?

  • Cortney H.

    Cortney

    Cortney H.

    Founder at My Era Apparel

    Hello,

    There is definitely a lot of planning that goes into web design. I designed my website for my clothing business last month and have gotten great feedback from my viewers. They asked who designed it and I am proud to say that I did, however only after a month I am looking into redesign. Updating is important.

    Jenny approach is the best approach in such that satisfying the customer is the primary goal.

    The steps that I take are as follows:
    1. The master site
    -Has to be an attention-getter or else who is going to want to continue browsing?

    2.Customer friendly
    -Navigation is key. You want to be sure that any heading and tab will be one click away from giving the customer what they are looking for.
    -Easy to read. Color options say a lot. Just the same that you would not use bright colors on a Powerpoint, you should be cautious when choosing fonts and color schemes.
    -Avoid text overload. Information is important, but too much detail is a turn-off. You have to reach different kind of viewers. There are people that like details but ultimately, staring at the computer screen trying to read hundreds of line can wear on anyone's eyes. Likewise, avoid picture overload depending on the purpose of your website.

    Those are the main points I consider. not exactly everything but they are a common foundation.

  • Joshua A.

    Joshua

    Joshua A.

    Joshua Adams is a Wordpress expert with over 10 years of web design and development experience.

    Thanks Cortney, for your input.
    Eric... really?

  • Joann G.

    Joann

    Joann G.

    Project Manager and Web Developer | Presentation/Powerpoint Specialist

    For me, the most important part is knowing what your target market is and what you should build to satisfy them. Like what Cortney said, the homepage must be attention grabber which will intentionally make your visitor browse the other pages. Design must be relevant to your target market and neither too flashy nor too simple. Mostly, it should be regularly updated.

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