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.

Website Prototyping



In case you haven't noticed, we talk about prototyping a lot. We do this because we believe it is the most important production phase of a well-planned web development project. We feel so strongly about it that, in addition to making it the subject of many past newsletters ( Web Development Fallacies, Part 1 and Part 2, Grayscreen/Whitescreen Process Applied, Why We Prototype, and How We Prototype), we've also written a book, Client vs. Developer Wars, about how we discovered our unique prototyping process. Back in 2007, Eric highlighted the importance of prototyping over even our CMS when he wrote that "without grayscreen prototyping we would have gone out of business well before our CMS ever had the chance to mature."

We obviously have no shortage of information on why and how we prototype throughout our site, so I won't repeat it all here. What's more important to our clients is that prototyping requires a lot of involvement from them. For some projects, this might even mean daily reviews, frequent detailed discussions, and answering many questions. This rigorous process can take anywhere from a couple of of weeks to several months, depending upon the scale of the project. By the time the prototype is close to being approved, it's likely that everyone will be wiped out, but it's important that we don't rush it. Prototype approval is our first major benchmark; once it's been reached, it's very difficult to go back. Regardless of the length of this phase, we make sure that it is productive and efficient, producing a comprehensive, clear and detailed specification for our developers to use during the actual development phase.



Comments

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
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'.
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.
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
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 | 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
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

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