Newfangled works with independent agencies to create lead development web platforms for their clients.

Newfangled works with independent agencies to create lead development web platforms for their clients.

The Design and Development Phases



Design Isn't Easy or Fast


Like prototyping, we've written about designing for the web before (Web Design Tips for the Print Designer, Part 1 and Part 2). Without going into much detail on how design works, I do want to focus in on a couple of key points.

Design is a subjective process, which means it is difficult to know at the outset how long it will take to be completed. Depending upon how close the first layouts come to your client's expectations, subsequent rounds of revisions could go on as long as, if not longer than, the prototyping phase. When we do the visual design for a web development project, we try to follow a "narrowing funnel" approach by making the big decisions first, then proceeding to refine details until the design is resolved. This helps to keep the design phase in budget, as starting over from scratch several weeks in could be cost prohibitive.

Like prototyping, this process requires a lot of involvement from our clients. However, we find that the more information we can get our designers at the start, the more effective and efficient our design process is, not to mention the better the final design itself is.

Making Good Use of the Development Phase


Once the prototype has been approved, our developers can go to work on building the actual website. This means a bit of a break for our clients in terms of day to day involvement with us, which means it's a great time to start gathering and creating content in anticipation for content entry.

Last month, I wrote about how important it is to dedicate time and resources to website content creation. This true for websites in development just as it is for ones that are already live. Because we have already gone through the prototyping phase, our clients should have a very good idea as to the kinds and volume of content that needs to be created. However, chances are that the time needed to do this work has been vastly underestimated. While using a content management system, like our NewfangledCMS, makes content entry easier, it does little to simplify content creation. It takes good old-fashioned hard work, plenty of strategic thought, and probably more than one person to create content. Take my word for it- this always takes longer than anyone thinks.







Comments

Jeri Hastava | August 29, 2008 12:00 PM
Thank you for another thought provoking article. I find myself wondering how you estimate a project if as noted above, "…it's at this point that we can most accurately establish a budget and schedule for a project." It makes perfect sense to me that strategic planning comes first, and it's in this phase that the real scope of the project reveals itself, but I've yet to encounter a client who didn't want a quote BEFORE any work, including planning, was begun???

Regards,
Jeri
Christopher Butler | August 29, 2008 12:57 PM
Jeri,

Thanks for reading!

We always give a firm quote for the strategic consulting- a flat fee. Once the strategic phase is complete, we will give a firm quote for the project if there is enough defined to do so (assuming we know all the technical requirements to scope out the actual development). If not, we tend to do a firm quote for a prototyping phase, estimate the remainder of the project and then firm up that quote once prototyping is complete.

Best,
Chris
Alice Cooper | September 3, 2008 1:38 AM
To keep a website current and in the rankings these days is becoming a real professionals job, I am sure outsourcing for webmasters SEO will really take off.
Christopher Butler | September 4, 2008 7:32 AM
Alice,

You are right about that! We recommend that our client allocate significant internal resources, not just toward managing web content but also specifically for analytics and SEO maintenance. We also frequently recommend our friends at High Rankings for outside expert SEO consultation.

Thanks for reading,

Chris
Willem Bannock | May 14, 2009 8:09 AM
In a former incarnation it was my job to perform QA on all the software we built. It was especially important for the Help Desk as they had less exposure to irate clients. Funny that I don't do much of it now that we are creating sites for the web. Should get back to it really. Anyway, thanks for the kick in the pants.
Alice Cooper | May 22, 2009 6:03 AM
Hi Chris, thanks for the feed back, will have to check out your suggestion of 'high rankings'.
David Steinkamp | September 9, 2010 1:50 PM
Hey Chris, I just read your interesting article and started thinking about the pros and cons of outsourcing the SEO issue. The client has more time to concentrate to deliver great content to the web and can profit from a seo agency or something because they are even more specialized. But if you hire someone for making the marketing part you have additional cost which have to be earned with the project and you give away a very sensitive field of your webproject. Not an easy decision, but a good cost/use analysis could tell us the most logical way.

Bye the way, really nice and interesting page, keep working on this one.

Regards, David

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