- WEBSITE PROCESS -   Website Design Process

1 Define Objectives

It's important to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve with your website. The first step for us is to listen to what you want and need, and then to work closely with you to outline what elements your website should have. We can give you advise on what solutions will work best for you, and what website features will be beneficial for your business.

To start with, we need to gain a thorough understanding of what your business is, how you are currently operating in your business, and what direction you want to take in the future. Knowing who your target audience is, and what your marketing strategies currently are, allows us to develop your website as the centrepiece to your business and promotional activities. By researching your competitors and benchmarking the strengths and weaknesses of their websites, we are able to develop a strategy to make your website a forerunner in your industry.

2 Create Website Specifications

The website specifications are written into a document which describes your planned website in detail. We work closely with you to make sure that each element of the website is according to your wishes and needs.

The specifications can include:
  • description of the navigation
  • a site structure diagram
  • the pages within the site and what each page contains (how much text and how many images)
  • the functional elements of the website
  • definition of the SlipManager CMS structure
  • visual requirements
  • additional requirements
  • related services (eg. additional photographs required for some pages)
  • possible future additions
It's important that you are satisfied with the website represented in the website specifications, as this document forms part of the Website Design Agreement. Of course, changes can be made after this stage, but may incur additional fees.

If there are time or budget constrains, we can designate some areas of the website to be deferred until later. However, it is best to build the website specifications bearing in mind all possible additions and upgrades.

Using the Website Specifications, Slipstream Media can give you a FREE, upfront quote.

A Simple Site Structure Diagram:
Site Structure Diagram

4 Conceptual Design

The graphic design, webpage layout and interactivity is conceived at this stage. We place a great deal of importance on the style of your website, as this is the first impression many visitors have of your business. It does help if you have some content ready at this point, as it is good to design the layout to communicate your content in the best way possible.

Sometimes, it is helpful to start with some wireframe layouts, which are basic visual guides to the placement of the fundamental elements on website pages. Variations on the wireframe allow for flexibility in page layout while still giving design consistency throughout the site.

Wireframe Layout Examples:

Wireframe Examples

The Conceptual Design includes the visuals for the navigation and animations, webpage format, font styles and image use. Designs incorporate any existing branding used by your business, are unique and innovative, and create a memorable visitor experience.

Our approach focuses on creative and intuitive navigation, fast loading pages, striking design themes, and cohesive use of colour.

Design layouts are provided to the client for approval.

5 Development and Programming

Once the designs are approved, your domain name is registered, hosting for your website is set up, and email addresses for your website are created.

We then proceed to build the website. The 'flat' website design is laid out into webpages using HTML, CSS, Javascript, PHP, and Flash for animations. If required, the database is created and SlipManager CMS is installed. Interactive elements such as feedback forms, shopping carts, credit card processing, messageboards, mailing list forms, booking forms, etc. are also built.

The content is then inserted into the webpages. If the SlipManager CMS is used, often test data and images are entered. Any content and images provided by the client should be made available to Slipstream Media at the beginning of this stage, however if SlipManager CMS is used, these can be added in later.

Meta Tags and website descriptions used by search engines to rank your website are also developed at this stage.

6 Testing

The website is then thoroughly tested, to ensure that all functions and links work, emails are activated, download times are fast, files are optimised appropriately, content is displayed properly and database communication and SlipManager CMS functions are working correctly. We also test for usability, to make sure all processes are intuitive for your visitors.

7 Completion and Marketing

Once testing has been completed, you are asked to verify that the website meets the specifications agreed upon in stage 2. Minor changes can be made at this point if necessary. Once you have approved the website, We will redelegate the domain, which means that your website will be visible on the internet at your URL (eg. www.yoursite.com).

We will also submit your website to some of the major search engines to start you off on the path of internet marketing. We recommend that you also read the section on Marketing. Printed promotional material such as webcards can be produced for you for an additional fee. We can also prepare press releases to announce the launch of your website for an additional fee.

8 Maintenance

After using your site for a while, you may find that you want to make some changes. You might need some content updated, or have some great new pictures to use. Perhaps your customers are asking for some extra features, or you are ready to expand your services. You will get the most out of your website by regularly reviewing and fine-tuning it. Keeping your site content fresh and current encourages visitors to come back to your site again and again.

Including SlipManager CMS in your website can minimize maintenance costs, as you can easily update the content of your site yourself.