Phases of Website Design and Development

Designing a website is a process and a collaboration. A critical component of the high tech world of designing websites is the human element. People working together and effectively communicating are the true foundation of a great website. Sure, having awesome website designers like the folks at Doogle is a plus, but it all starts with you.

When you work with Doogle Design, you become part of the team--a part of the process. We keep our clients posted on the progress of their website. We schedule meetings over the phone and communicate through email throughout the phases of development. When you work with Doogle you stay connected.

As far as we are concerned there are five phases of website development:

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step 1Graphic Design:

The graphic design phase is the first exciting step down the road of website development. After receiving a deposit to begin work,and a signed contract--we will send you an email to let you know that your project has been started. However, the graphic design phases really begins the first time we speak to each other. At that point in time seeds are planted in our minds and our ideas are already starting to grow.

You will be given a website checklist to fill out. Items include names for menu items and content and/or product information you want to have included on your site. In addition, you will be asked to supply material such as company logo , personal photos, etc.You will also be providing a list of websites that you like as a thematic reference point. Any preferences in colors, fonts, styles are gathered at this point as well.

step 2Website Development:

This is when we get to work with the 'heavy lifting' of website design. The hosting is configured, CMS is installed, software is installed and configured, a theme is created for your site. At this time we give it our best guess based on all the data we have collected through the graphic design phase. We create the menu system, make any required forms, install fonts and begin adding all the data we have collected from our client up to this point. Colors, styles and all other preferences are adhered to.

Personal touches are also done at this point. Custom tweaks to the stylesheets, a favicon is generated based on your logo or site design, social media is integrated, and any other major elements of the design contract are put into place.

You are given access to watch the progress. It's kind of like turning the light on in the oven when cookies are baking. Just like cookies baking, we ask that you be patient until they are done before really giving your input, because there will be plenty of time for that at the next phase of development.


step 3Testing:

The third phase of development is perhaps the most critical. First and foremost during the testing phase we are checking our best guess against your expectations. Our best guesses are educated best guesses based off of your input, but that doesn't mean they are going to hit the mark in all areas. Often times though, we find that we exceed what our clients are expecting.

Of course, at this point we are making tweaks, fine-tuning, and adjusting the design of the site based on a second round of input from you--our client. We do make our own suggestions and advise to best web practices when we are called to do so, but our goal is to take your vision and implement it in the best way possible.

Another important part of the testing phase is cross browser compatibility checking. Before we can send you on your merry way, we must see if the performs on each of the major browsing platforms in the same fashion. We are also busy during this phase implementing SEO meta data. We evaluate Page Body Text to make sure there are no lingering spelling or grammar errors. We round things off by checking all the links, forms and interactive elements of the website. This part of the process is all about being meticulous.

The last thing we check at this point is the end user experience. We want the site to be optimized for both search engines and those humans who will visit your once it is launched.

step 4Launch:

All systems go! At the launch phase, we typically ask for a second or final payment for the website--depending on our payment schedule we have previously determined in the design contract. Depending on how development has been handled up to this point, at launch we transfer the developed content onto your domain by way of changing your domain's nameservers. Either we handle this for you, or we can walk you through this process over the phone. At the point where the nameservers are setup correctly, it is just a matter of time before your site is live!

Like a parent, protective and vigilant--we survey your site once it live for the world to see. We double check everything that we triple checked through the testing phase. Sometimes, however rare it maybe, we pick up on something we may have missed at testing--or our clients will. This initial week or two will be dedicated to making sure the site is 100% where it should be when we began development.

Since we develop our site using the Joomla! CMS, it is at this point that we train our clients on how to manage the content on their sites. This is crucial. We offer our clients the option to allow us to manage content on their sites, but it is way more cost effective to simply teach the ways of Joomla. Like Jedi, we instruct our padawan learners on how to make adjustments to their pages, add content, add new pages and even add menu items. It all depends on how much our clients want to learn--well, and what level service contract they have.

The last part of launch is to pass on the keys to the kingdom so to speak. We supply PDFs of how to use the site, the site's software and all the necessary passwords. If you are hosted through Doogle, we regularly back up your website, but if you are not, we will supply you with a back up of the data at this point.

step 5Minor Adjustments:

All systems go! Now that your site is launched--you won't be floating at zero gravity without any direction. Much to the contrary--we stay with you, ensuring that you are enjoying cyber-space stress free.

We consider minor adjustments a fact of life. We continue to support our sites that we build one month after launch free of charge. This means that any little tweaks, changes or uncaught defects can and will be sorted out at this point. To further define 'minor', it would include changing or adding text, adding or changing images, small style changes to the site (think colors and sizes).

After the first month is over, you should be at this point entering into your service contract with Doogle Design. This way you can always have us at your beck and call.