Before starting a web design project, it's important to put in the time and effort to assure your project goes smoothly.
As you can imagine, when it comes to building a website – particularly from scratch – there are lots of things that go into its design and development. In addition to the design, there's content, the back end code, the admin side, and the functionality. There are lots of pieces and parts that are involved with building a website.
It's a process that takes time and effort from the developer, from the designer, and from the client or customer. And you, having engaged a web design or development firm, have an important part in its construction. Many people get excited wanting to hit the ground running once they’ve conceptualized an idea, or decided they are going to go through with a website. What we're going to dive into is the importance behind putting in the time, the energy, the work before any design or development begins, and the type of effects it may have on web development.
The Vision Behind a Web Design Project
Any web design project begins with your vision for what you’re looking to build. The type of design you want, functionality you want, and what you’re looking to communicate. Without a clear vision, or a somewhat strong idea of what you're looking for, it’s almost impossible for designers to know what to design. They can only design based on the information you give them, and the type of guidance or vision you provide.
It's OK if the vision evolves over time
As the project is being developed, as the interface is being designed, and as the functionality is being conceptualized, the project begins to evolve. This is something that happens a lot, and is completely normal. What we’re talking about, is the initial vision. The initial vision provides the framework and foundation for any website's creation. Ultimately you have to relay what you're looking to create, the type of design you’re looking for, and the type of use you’re looking for. Without having that, it’s difficult to find the type of developer or designer that can produce the result you want, and build the type of project you envision. Having that vision, or a rough idea of a vision of what you’re looking to create, is an incredibly important element to any project’s foundation, and ultimate success.
Functionality is an incredibly important part of any web design project, because it ultimately gives the designers and developers an idea of how long it’s going to take them to create your site, and how much it’s going to cost.
The functionality behind a site translates into what you’re looking for the website to do. This means, what are you looking for the site to do on it’s own: what can be automated. Ultimately the functionality behind a website, is where the code is going to be. It’s where the developers will invest their time and energy writing custom code, to ensure that the functionality is working correctly. Without a real understanding of the type of functionality you're looking for, it’s difficult for designers and developers to provide real estimates or timeframes for your project.
A website’s content is ultimately one of the more time-consuming tasks for your side of the equation. The content for your site provides a framework for the type of design, illustrations, and modules that are created within a site.
This information can be changed along the way, but a detailed idea of the content you’re looking for is important. If you have particular graphics you’re looking to incorporate, a particular design for a page, or an idea of what you’re going to include within each page, will reduce a site's development time tremendously. Without having the content for a site, or at least a rough idea of what the content is, you’re going to slow down the time it takes to complete tremendously.
This is where it’s on you and your team to put in the time, effort, and work to figure out what you’re looking to include, and the type of design or illustrations you’re looking for. As we mentioned earlier, web designers and developers can only do so much without direction, or without the information they need to do their jobs. If you put in the time beforehand, the development and design process can be completed on an expedited basis.
The design behind a site is an important aspect of any web design project. A site's design is ultimately what determines the type of opinion your audience is going to form about your company. Without having an idea of the type of design you want, it makes it even more difficult for the designers and developers to do their job. It will also make it difficult to find a designer that has built a similar site in the past.
Having a few website designs you like, or that you’re looking to use as inspiration, can go a long way toward helping the designers. With that reference, they'll better understand what they'll be creating, and it will expedite the process. Putting in the time to find a few sites to help guide your developers, to give them a feel for what you want, and to figure out if they can create what you want, is in everyone's best interest, and can get the website's construction moving quickly.
A web design project is a process that often takes a lot of information, time, and work.
It's almost like putting together a puzzle, with pieces and information provided by you, the client, as well as from the designers. Within the puzzle, there are a variety of different pieces. The vision for the site is ultimately the building block, or one of the foundational puzzle pieces the designers need in order to start.
The functionality is what determines the amount of time needed to develop what you’re looking for in the website.
The content is going to determine the website's design, illustrations, photography, information, data, and how each page is constructed. Without it, it’s very difficult to get your web design project off on the right foot. Your website's design is, ultimately, what your prospects and customers are going to see to determine their perspective of your company. All of these are incredibly important pieces to the puzzle of building a website. It doesn’t matter whether you’re creating a site for financial analysts, a media company, or a sports company: putting in the time, effort, and work before you begin the process of building a site can expedite the entire process, along with the time to complete it’s construction.
Special thanks to Howie Bick for this guest post
This guest post was written by Howie Bick, the founder of The Analyst Handbook, a collection of 16 guides created to help current and aspiring Analysts advance their careers. Prior to founding The Analyst Handbook, Howie was a financial analyst.