Our Custom Approach to Website Design and Development.
- David Puffenberger
- General, Web/Graphic Design
Here's the process Advent Media, Inc. uses to create "Websites that Work".
In spite of what they say on TV ads, Websites don’t just “happen.” Here’s the process we follow to achieve “no surprises, no excuses” results on the Web:
We meet to discuss your expectation of the project:
- Who are your target users?
- What is your overall basic message for them?
- What functions does the Website need to perform?
- What data collection from your Web users do you need?
- What kind of budget expectations do you have?
- How is your existing Website (if any) not meeting expectations?
We need to know from you the details of what you need to communicate:
- A more specific outline of the information to be presented
- Companion brochures or printed material
- Video content that needs to be incorporated
- Model Websites that have style or features you would like to see in yours.
- Graphic standards and branding regulations you may have
Next it’s our turn to respond to your requests:
- The Treatment is a proposal on how the new Website will function, in broad generalities. This can be modified based on further discussion.
- The Scope of Work will be defined from the Treatment, which may be detailed or more general. It will define what needs to be done to bring the Treatment to life.
- The Budget is based on the Scope of work. It is negotiable, but changes to budget will necessarily change the Scope of Work and/or Treatment.
When we agree on the Treatment and Scope of Work, we sign a contract and request payment, typically 50% of the budget, or we can work on a monthly retainer basis.
Pre-Production (Design) Stage
Now the fun begins. Pre-production is the most important part:
- Fully researching the content to be sure we understand how to communicate from the viewer’s perspective.
- Navigation: analyzing the content to create a menu structure that is logical and easy for users to comprehend.
- Page Layout Design: The look and feel are developed (as graphic layouts) and presented for approval. Changes are welcome at this stage.
- Copywriting: The site’s text content is refined. Shorter is better. Long dissertations are best reserved for blog posts or other articles.
In the Design stage, the strategies for "Responsive" operation are considered for mobile users. We have to consider the user experience on tablets and phones in both orientations, landscape and portrait (horizontal and vertical). How will the content "wrap" to form a narrow column, what sections might be omitted on mobile, and how will the navigation work are all decisioins that need to be designed and approved on paper before proceeding with production.
The site begins to take shape
- Coding begins. The page layout design is interpreted into the advanced code that allows browsers to display the graphic interface. While this sounds simple, it is not, and by doing this “custom” (as opposed to a template program), the code is clean, providing fast load times and quick response.
- A development site is launched on our server with a private URL. Clients are able to see the progress of the site when we ask for approvals.
- Photography, which you can provide or we can shoot, is processed into Web-ready formats and inserted into the design.
- Video content (see our Video Production capabilities) can be produced specifically for the Website and is hosted on your choice of video content delivery servers, such as YouTube. These assets are then linked into the Websites.
- Data collection – whether a simple contact form or a complicated Web app – is implemented according to the plan.
- eCommerce – if a storefront is required it is installed, configured, and connected to your credit card processor.
- General content. Pages are “populated” with the content clients approve.
Testing & "Spit Shine"
This is the exciting part where it all comes together.
- Testing: before going live, we put the site through its paces, testing internally on all platforms, Mac, PC, iOS, Android, and all browsers, IE, Edge, Chrome, Firefox, Safari on desktop computers as well as mobile devices.
- Proofing: making sure all the spelling, grammar and punctuation
are is correct.
- Beta Testing: After our testing we encourage clients to send the temporary link to friends to check for obvious omissions, typos and general functionality.
- At the end of testing, final payment is requested.
Training & Content Manager Manual
Day-to-day content changes are easy to make using our system, but administrators and content managers need to know how to make those changes. We provide
- Manual: A comprehensive step-by-step how-to guide is custom created for your site
- Training: We spend several hours with your content manager(s) in a session so they can practice in a "sandbox" page, not visible to the public
- Other Options: If the site involves complex user interaction for remote users, we can create extended manuals, video tutorials, or put on live in-service training seminars
- Web delivery is a matter of flipping a few switches on the server to make the site live on your domain.
- You will be able to maintain your site easily. With our sites’ interface, it’s easier to log in and make simple text changes than it is to send us an email.
- With your hosting/maintenance agreement, we provide assistance for the major adjustments or break-fixes that you need to make.
So that is how Web content is created at Advent Media, Inc. The process can take from 4 weeks to a year, depending on the complexity of the subject matter and timeliness of approvals.
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