The Six Stages Involved In Website Design

There are plenty of articles that dive into what makes a great company website, but many forget the core fundamentals of the process and instead focus on the technical aspects. There’s more to a great website than its coding, platform and graphics. How it functions will determine its success rate, and that requires forethought and planning.

Read along to learn about the six stages of website design, and why each one is so vitally important in creating the proper user experience for your customers.


#1) Research

Many companies claim they want a website, but they haven’t a single idea about how it’s supposed to function, or what its main purpose will be. If you find yourself in this boat, don’t fret! It’s easy to assume that simply having an online presence is enough in our digital age. The truth is, your website needs to stand apart, and that means you’re going to have to get involved.

First, you must define the goals of your website, and what you wish to see it accomplish. While having an online presence will give customers a means to learn more about you, it should also work as a soft sales tool. Are you attempting to drive traffic, sales, or both? What would you like to see the website do for your company over the course of 6-12 months, and beyond? A competitive analysis can work wonders here, by giving you a little more context from which to move forward on.


#2) Outline Of Scope

The key to crafting a good website user experience is to put yourself in the shoes of multiple customer types. They’re not all visiting for the same reason, and that can have a dramatic effect on your overall design. The right website will cater to many different kinds of visitors, so it’s important to think ahead, and ascertain what they’ll do when they reach your site.

Break down your target customer base and section them off into sub-groups that you can cater to. If you’re selling products, you may put a lot of your focus on buying customers, but what about pushing a competitive edge in relation to your peers? Creating incentive to browse your site, learn about your corporate culture, and even job opportunities can help serve a diverse array of visitors who may have different reasons for showing up.


#3) Information Architecture

It’s never wise to enter the design phase of a website build without properly creating a site map. This hierarchical structure can help you branch off from your homepage and determine what sub-pages you can link to.

The key here is to maintain consistency and ease of use across your entire site. Too many pages can be overwhelming, while too little can stifle the impressiveness of the site, overall.

By creating a site map, you can quickly compartmentalize appropriate information into a nicely rounded set of pages that are easy to browse, informative to the viewer, and tidy.


#4) Wireframes

Creating wireframe mockups of a site can quickly give you an idea of its layout and functionality. It helps to identify image and text placement, but don’t neglect the website header, either. This top-most section usually includes static links that visitors will use for main navigation to important sections of your site.

Overburdening your site with too many elements can cause chaos and drive visitors away, so it’s important to keep things neat, clean and well laid out. If your first wireframe sketch seems too busy, refine it with a secondary draft so you can reach a better level of balance. Not everyone is a designer, so if you need help, it pays to consult a digital marketing agency that understands the core tenants of good website design, and can custom tailor them to your company. That doesn’t mean your wireframes are worthless, however. Bring them in and share them with your digital marketing agency so they can understand your vision, and help shape it.


#5) Visual Mockups

This is where things start to get interesting! Visual mockups can be created by a graphic artist in a program like Photoshop, or a web mockup tool like Adobe XD. It’s good to have a seasoned expert lead the charge here, as they understand important criteria such as screen resolutions, colors and other technical requirements.

This mockup phase will help narrow down the final website design to the point where you’ll be ready to get started. Keep in mind that the design will most certainly change during the building process, but that will depend heavily on the accuracy of your mockup. Regardless, it’s vital to have a solid vision laid out before attempting to move forward with the building phase.


#6) Development

Unless you’re a coding pro, you might want to sit this one out and have the experts take over! A great website coder will build out your site in real time using important coding languages like HTML5, CSS and Javascript (among others). They will have already identified your vision and determined what is needed for particular elements on the website.

The end goal is to get as close as possible to your vision, and make the entire thing run like a well oiled machine. By adhering to these 6 steps, not only will you have a greater understanding of how websites work, but why they work that way. It might seem intimidating, but your input is vital in crafting a website that speaks directly to your visitors, from the heart and soul of the company.

We’re well versed in company website design, so if you’ve enjoyed this article and you’re interested in developing a site of your own, please contact us! We’ll be glad to help!

3 Reasons You Should Invest in a Professional Website

In the virtual world, professionalism is expected. For companies who rely on their online presence in any regard, having a clean, sleek, and contemporary website is as important as it has ever been. With all the tools available on the market, it is simply foolish to not display your brand positively.

Why Your Business Deserves Professional Website Design

Whether your business is small, medium, or large, it’s one of the most important things to you. You’ve most certainly spent your blood, sweat, and tears building out the operations and business model. In layman’s terms, your website is an attestation of your offering from a virtual perspective. In the modern era, customers will most likely interact in any regard with your website first, and it is their first introduction to your company. You wouldn’t want to scare a prospective client off from a brick and mortar location with an eye soar of a building, and the same thing goes for your website, as in theory, it is your virtual storefront.

When a client visits your website, they subconsciously decide within a few seconds if they will navigate and interact with the website, or if they will bounce. Your goal with your website is to ensure a user or a prospective client has an enjoyable user experience and can simply navigate your site for their ultimate goal, whether it be to purchase a product, inquire about a service, fill out a form, or to find contact information.

The design and functionality of your website plays a key role in ensuring your website visitors can complete the things they came to your site to do in the first place. Beyond this, a professional and thorough website also plays a key role in Search Engine Optimization (where your site ranks on a search engine results page), pay per click advertising, and overall lead generation. Below, we have compiled a list of three high-level reasons that you should invest a professional and functional website.

1. It makes your company look more professional as a whole

As stated above, your website is the ‘storefront’ of your business from a virtual perspective. You want your website visitors to eventually become leads or customers. A professional and contemporary website is the best way to do this. Beyond design, your website must be filled with relevant and thorough information, adequate call-to-actions, and more, depending on what your ultimate goal as a business is.

2. It’s more simple than you may think

In the past, it used to be the general consensus that website design was extremely difficult, costly, and garnered a low return on investment. In the present day, that ‘consensus’ could not be further from the truth. Website design is more simple than you may think, and for a business that does not have in-house means of design and development, there are lots of agencies on the market that can build a professional website without emptying out your pockets.

3. It will pay for itself

In regards to your return on investment, a professional website can have more lucrative implications than other marketing endeavors. The way your new website will pay for itself differs from business to business. As an example, an e-commerce business who re-designs their website would have their increased ROI represented by an increase in sales, whereas a service business may represent their increased ROI with an increase in leads, or form submissions. To help estimate a potential ROI, check out this ROI website calculator, courtesy of Smashing Magazine.

In the modern era, you simply cannot afford to have an outdated and non-functional website that turns customers off. Ensuring your brand can be viewed as professional from a virtual perspective is of the utmost importance in the digital era. For more information on website design, including receiving a quote, click here.