It’s that time again.
Every couple of years, Housechick.com gets a revamp, or in this case, a complete redesign, in order to keep it on the cutting edge. If you look at it now, it’s, well, blah. A little better than the “look at me” first version, but overall, not impressive.
I was discussing it with Benn the other day and he suggested that I blog about it here, which I took to mean “create an epic blog series of your journey from idea to website.”
I’ll warn you now that I tend to go a little overboard with my projects. It’s the engineer in me, I can’t help it. I’m not going to post the Gantt chart, but rest assured that it’s been created and we’ve got timelines and deliverables and requirements and all the good things that keep me organized.
We’ll be outsourcing some portions of the design, and Hubby will be developing most of the back end, so that we can reuse the components for other ideas. Which means conversations at home go like this:
“Kelley, what are you doing?”
“Um, that’s not on the project plan.”
Here’s the overall process:
- Discovery. This is where we will define the objectives for the website, develop a strategy, and uncover who the client is and what they want. This is developing the who of the website.
- Framing. This is where we will define the flow of the site. We’ll define potential entry and exit points, decision points, and the paths a visitor might take through the site: where those paths lead, and if those paths will achieve our objectives. This is the what of the site.
- Prototyping. This is how we will achieve the what of the site. Included here is a graphic design, development of page copy, overall style, structure, and navigation. Here’s where we look closely at usability, ease of navigation, the look and feel of the site.
- Coding and Content. This is where Hubby comes in with his development of the back end – the integration of the interface with the data – and I get to create the actual content of the site – presentations, reports, and whatnot.
- Testing. Once the site is live, there’ll be some initial testing and tweaking, to make sure our landing pages are optimized and converting the way we want them to. This is really an ongoing process, where we evaluate elements of the design or content or navigation to make sure everything is working as best and as smoothly as possible.
I’m sure it sounds like overkill (if you’ve even read this far), but I think the overall scheme is applicable even if you’re not as huge a geek as me. There’s no use getting excited over technologies and cool features if they don’t answer a need or provide value for your site visitors. Once we know how to be useful, how to provide value, how to keep someone coming back to the site, then we can make decisions: WordPress or Drupal? Blue or Green? Ajax or Flash? Top navigation or side?
Next time – Discovery begins. The Client, Strategy, and Objectives.