We continue our blog series on website checklists with a post on the design phase of our process.
In the past year, Far Reach has added a marketing and creative team, which is involved in all of our website projects. Our Creative Director manages the design process for every site we develop.
As we outlined in our last post
, we first create wireframes of all the design templates we’ll use throughout a website. This typically includes a homepage wireframe, and anywhere from 1-6 wireframes to use for secondary pages, depending on the size of the site.
Often, multiple secondary pages can feature the same design template, reducing the overall time we need to devote to the design process. This also helps create consistency throughout the site.
Using wireframes helps us be more efficient—we can work out the main layout and content issues before our designer invests a lot of time in the process, eliminating much of the back and forth revisions that can eat up a project budget very quickly.
Once we have client approval on the wireframes, we move into the full design phase.
Our Creative Director has a strong background in User Interface design, so we don’t have a detailed checklist of everything a well-designed site must incorporate.
We do, however, have a checklist that ensures the site design serves our clients’ needs, and that the designer’s vision for the site is carried through into the development and testing phases.
Here are the items included on that checklist:
- Incorporate the client’s branding into the designs. This may be the client’s current branding or newly designed branding, based on the client’s preference.
- Gather sample sites from the client featuring design elements they find appealing.
- Determine the content that needs to be featured on the home page-- What are the most important tasks people need to complete on the site?
- Determine whether there is content that needs to be easily accessible from every page within the site.
- When possible, ensure the design best utilizes Sitefinity’s (our content management system of choice) built-in features to keep development more efficient, e.g:
- Image Sliders
- Ensure the navigation is user-friendly and consistent throughout the site
- Incorporate site search into the design, when needed
- Create a styles sheet for the developer:
- If the site needs to be mobile friendly (and we would argue that most, if not all, should), will it use responsive design or another approach?
Once the final designs are approved, the site moves into the development phase. We’ll cover the developer’s checklist in our next post.
In the meantime, we invite you to take a look at a few of the sites we’ve launched recently so you can see the final outcome of this design process:
Wapsie Valley Community Schools website
Our own Far Reach website