Web Development

6 Web Development steps to design an excellent website

Some of them very simple, and others are candescent or full of motion. However, we do not even think that there are excellent web development steps behind

SS
Shahin Shakarli

22 min read

 

web-development-process

Every day we see many beautiful websites. We search for services and information on the internet, and as a result, these sites help us. Some of them very simple, and others are candescent or full of motion. However, we do not even think that there are excellent web development steps behind these sites. Web designers and web developers work on websites as a team. Although these occupations seem cool, their duty, especially the web development steps is difficult. There are lots of argues, misunderstandings among web designers and web developers. Frequently, we hear thoughts such as why I need to learn all these kinds of stuff if I am not a developer. Yes, you are not a developer, but if you have a website or app, so you have to be aware of web development. You incorporate with web development agencies, and for sure, knowledge of web development will be helpful. Therefore, we are going to present six web development steps for your site in this article. Let's begin.

 

Learn customers’ needs

 

“We win more business, not because of pitching but because clients say, 'We like the work you're doing.” ~ David Droga

web-development-steps

First and foremost, do not forget that you will create a website for the customers. Some of our developer friends make a mistake not asking questions to clients. You must understand their needs, their aims. We want to emphasize that you have a right to explore your customer. Learn their history, missions, visions or even see their production process. It shows your professionalism, and without any doubts, your clients will love your behavior. Some clients have a technical background, and it makes it easy to overcome the whole process. But in cases, when the customer has absolutely no clue about the development process you should ask questions to learn the needs. Please, take into account that working with web development agencies may be a little confusing for customers. They want to cooperate with apparent, communication friendly and quick agencies.

 

Research and Analysis

 

“Research is formalized curiosity. It is poking and prying with a purpose.”  ~ Zora Neale Hurston

web-development-research-analysis

Web development requires strict analyze and research. You should combine data about the operation of the website, find the problems which show up during the development process. Furthermore, your main job is to provide the website's qualitative regulation.

First of all, making a check-list is always would be a good choice for web development solutions. Your check-list must consist of a minimum of these three cases:

Rhetorical issue: The web must provide the regular goal, the value of process and coinciding its objectives for a targeted audience. Additionally, the web must contain satisfaction of specialized revenue models.

Technical issue: Make sure that the presentation of the web is useful and coherent with its terms. You have to investigate the relevance of syntax and HTML practices, too.

Semantical issue: The other complicated points are domain information and user interface. You have to check its content completeness and relevance. Observe the user interface if its useful or not.

Research and analyses may take more time, but be patient. We want to point out that it is a crucial detail of the web development process.

 

How to get the main analysis methods

 

1) First things first investigate the usability analysis. What does it mean? We should determine the typical, characteristic user segments using our web.

2) Then, check and make sure that the datum is relevant and submit it. The information groups must be accurate.

3) Thirdly, control the process of technical execution. There are many verification tools to fulfill the duty.

4) In conclusion, investigate the web again if there any general errors. You can get the determinations with the "Do you use" technique like:

Do you use big graphics?

We do not recommend the usage of big graphics regularly. It triggers the loss of money for users.

Do you use graphics for words?

The element HTML Font presents us with many choices about the text. So don't use graphics for words.

Do you use a different logo for every webpage?

We recommend you to use the same logo for different pages. Why? Because various logos especially, more than six logos cause new downloading process from every webpage.

Do you use an old metaphor?

This method exhausts the users, so ignore it. Instead of the old metaphor choose the associative linking which lets the users select any information when they need.

Do you use buzzwords?

Yes, some phrases are inevitable. However, never annoy your users with common, disgusting words. If your service or product is unique, then your website content must be unique too.

Do you use the button for location or a sitemap?

It is essential if the website serves for FMCG (Fast Moving Customs Group), restaurants or supermarket.

 

Use analyses websites and tools for the web development process. They will help you to choose a webpage layout methods. Additionally, other factors during web development activities are interface design and humanoid interferes. Analyses websites will assist you in determining these factors and other usability problems.

Moreover, do not forget that your analyses must not be ended with the research stage. You should apply studies in all sections of the web development steps, including web design, web content or HTML implementation. Your analyses have to evaluate usability and web quality degree.

 

Planning

 

“Planning is bringing the future into the present so that you can do something about it now.” ~ Alan Lakein

web-development-plan

All activities and businesses need and must have a plan. In our field, there are lots of problems with planning. Because many various teams are working on web development steps at the same time, and many thoughts, actions collide. Everybody wants to follow his or her deadlines - the designer intends to finalize UI/UX design without thinking the developer's work. Web developer tries to simplify the codes skipping design brief, or the project manager aims to deliver the whole project without facing these problems.

The primary goal of all websites is to serve its users. Some of them are informative, and others try to sell their service or products. All sites see the users as a potential or current client. That's why traffic is essential for websites. That's why the marketers evaluate them for their user interaction. So, the first step of planning in the web development steps is to remember your actions (sales, information, social platform, etc.) Why did we mention it? Because, there are many cases that members of web development (developers, designers) team forget it because of their own tasks. If your web site's purpose is sales, then all team must focus on these - how to develop the site for better purchasing results. Or if the goal of the site is information, then what to do to enhance the audience and make interface interesting.

Furthermore, build the website adaptive to changes. Today, the sites follow the steps of their businesses and businesspeople understand it. For example, if your business grows, you should upgrade and extend your website. So, enter in this detail and remember that upgrades are an inevitable part of the current development process.

As we mentioned above planning is an essential part for most businesses and companies. But, there is always an extra problem with the plan when it comes to the web development steps. Let's admit that it is usually due to plenty of operational demands. Alternatively, as a business owner some people can't estimate his or her team's experience, time and strength very well.  On the other hand, in some situations, we forget that planning for web development is vital as planning for different sides related to our business.

 

A website - an IT (Information Technology) stuff or a Marketing tool?

 

Creating and having a site seems like a technical effort, but in reality, it is not. Because in today's world a website is a marketing tool. It must serve to marketing departments of the organization. Yes, during the web development steps you need strict support of IT team because of many reasons (for instance, the speed of the site, cybersafety, links, unique codings, SEO, etc.)

However, the content, website structure, the design must be suggested and managed by the marketing department. If the IT team are responsible for managing the website, it stands to reason that the company couldn't comprehend the advantages of online marketing. The responsibility and work of IT team must be limited with technical research, support as well as solutions.

On the other hand, the companies which are in the IT industry may give authority to the website to the IT team. Because of the area force you to be aware of specialized knowledge. But even in this case try to choose a coworker who is communicative and can think from the marketing side. It is significant to find the right person and let him or her work. From a professional approach, a website possesses many administrative and technical steps during the planning process, and the groups (both marketing and IT) which will work on it must communicate with each other frequently.

There is a popular method within the planning stage of the web development steps, and it is used by web development groups especially in large projects. The parts of the plan go through the whole planning stage. Every single stage affects the next one. There are pros and cons to this method.

Firstly, it is a very detailed activity and full of a specification. The working team calculates each step on the website (for one thing, text size, page header's line length, displaying of image categories, etc). Thank these specific and detailed steps the validation percentage will be high and it is an advantage. However, it also has a shortcoming side. If everything is specified, then the process demands lots of time, and sometimes it mustn't be an aspect of focus. Let's clarify the opinion, assume that we are developing a website for a financial company - X Bank.

For sure, our primary mission will be creating safe customer accounts, calculating the interest rates or transferring money. X Bank wants us to provide these features on its website. In this case, it will be better if we focus on correct coding instead of specialization. Because as we create something about getting and losing money, we have no chance to mistakes.

 

Briefly about agile development method

 

Web developers use another useful method called agile development. Although this method has an extension to software development, we can benefit from it in the web development process too. For further information about agile development, we recommend you to visit the official website. Then you can decide if it is beneficial for your web development steps. Characteristics of Agile development - First of all we must mention that this method is more useful on complex web projects. Please take into account that the agile development method is not cheap and takes much time to compare with other approaches. Additionally, make sure that your web development team can (and want) to work with the agile development method. Some developers accept and work efficiently with this method, but others vice verse.

 

Payment for planning

Generally, companies intend to find an assessment for their website about the main conception of their activities. They build a mild site map or such kind of things. On the other hand, huge companies submit a Request for Proposal (RFP) item. As web development professionals we want to make an exact propose. Unfortunately, these two types can't provide us to make proposals properly. Some customers want only an approximate number, and it is possible to answer it. However, we can state an exact value with the assistance of additional data.

 

Needs assessment

What is the needs assessment? All business activities should have a road map that shows initial position, targeted direction, and final location. It is a full notion, and we will clarify it below. Please, take into account that Request for Proposal is not a relevant method for flexible digital efforts. You can't gain benefit from Request for Proposal in such endeavors. However, the technique is incredible in static creative projects. Especially, web designers don't like Request for Proposal method for its difficulty.

 

Furthermore, at the point when an organization has just picked a designer, Request for Proposals might be issued merely to make a cursory effort, claiming to look for competitive offers, giving the appearance that rules were pursued. This way detours the basic needs assessment, constraining web designers to create numbers and timetables without enough data to do as such. So, don't spend time on it. When the customer sends Request for Proposal to web designer team during web development, they don't want to reply a Request for Proposal.

Each business can profit from the need assessment. You may spend 10 hours on a need assessment, but be sure it will save you approximately 20 hours of the web development process. Finding the actual needs of a business part of the way through a web project is a checkpoint, broadened improvement time, cost invades and missed due dates. As you'll peruse underneath, an inability to perceive and pay for appropriate arranging makes huge issues. Exact planning is excellent support for the web development steps. Also, the first stage of the plan is determining the needs which we will work till the end of the project. That's why we have to prepare the needs assessment, and it is an essential part of web development.

 

If the planning doesn’t stay on track...

  • Companies make the web developer or designer think about possibilities, and these possibilities are not guaranteed as to how specific content will show up on the website. Presentation method of contents has an impact on the creation of webpages. As a whole, this step changes all web development process.

  • The measure of seesaw connection about inconsequential issues can be duplicated on many occasions. Truly, an explanation of cross-purposes takes much time. However, you can get it correctly for the first time much more easily.

  • To consider the backtracking is also critical because backtracking triggers a waste of time and loss of target. Some web developers fulfill the same task more than one time in various methods, and it is called "do-overs."

 

The next part of the web development steps - Design

“Good design is like a refrigerator—when it works, no one notices, but when it doesn’t, it sure stinks.” ~ Irene Au

web-design-and-development

Some experts even say that web design is the main part of the success in web development. Indeed, users admit that the sites with excellent design attract them.

Web design is a complicated process - in fact, it must serve to adjust the excellent model for the website. Or we can add the interface view, professional visual presentation of services on a screen as a responsibility of web designers. However, web designer regularly required to work with tasks about coding, content management, wireframes.

Today, we should accept that a web designer is not a job just for creating an awesome view of the site. It is a part of marketing and sales strategy. The design must captivate the users (potential customers), promote the brand and services (or products). But, how can a design overcome it? Quietly, with its weapons - graphics, interesting contents, texts, motions, and interactions. So, it means that web designer should create all the details of design holding with common web development strategy.

However, a quick question appears - What can a web designer do to realize a combination of different design elements for the determined goal? An experienced web designer will probably answer like that: Wholistic web design process including functions and styles can overcome it. He or she will also add that this stage of the web development process has seven steps:

 

1st step of the web design process - Goal Identification

It is an opening step, and in this part, we discuss our goals with the customer, the requirements that the website must have, etc. We must identify all purposes of web design and expectations of the client. It is perfect to have prepared questions for the customer, such as:

  • Whom is the website belongs?

  • What is the main expectation? What do they want to see on the website?

  • What is the chief work? Will we design it for sale, to entertain or for information?

  • Does the site need to pass on a brand's core message unmistakably, or does it serve for a more extensive brand technique with its own extraordinary core focus?

  • Have the site owners viewed competitors websites? What do they think about the sites? In what extent our work should differ from theirs?

You can add other questions, depending on the situation. Please, take into account these questions because, if you don't understand this part all the stages may fail and the project will result unsuccessfully. So, ask the customer to answer all the questions apparently, without ignoring them. It will help you to write out the primary defined goals, or a brief summary of the project expectation.

With these notes, we can determine our design directions easily. By the way, you can create an overview of the whole web development steps. It will be helpful without any question. Please, underline that understanding the target audience of business (website) is critical because our design will address this audience. Moreover, in this step, we will research about competitors, brand details, brief of the website and audience personas.

 

2nd step of the web design process - Scope definition

 

After identifying your goals, you can find the scope of the website design process. It means that you will carry out requirements that webpages and its features need. Also, you will create the timeline for the site.

We frequently hear that web designers complain about scope creep. Scope creep is a hard point of the web design process and also web development. Your client considers a target in advance, but then this target enhances steadily, even some rules change afterward. Additionally, you don't only design but also building a website, creating a timeline, mobile application for the website, messages, notification items, etc.

In standard cases, it is not a tragic problem for web designers. However, when the extended targets don't equal the financial agreement, then the whole web development steps start to fail. To avoid such risks, we strongly recommend you to use the Gantt chart. The Gantt (named after the inventor, Henry Gantt) chart demonstrates the reliance connections between current timetable status and exercises.

During the web design process, you can use Gantt chart for building a realistic timeline (including landmarks), defining obtainable deadlines and set boundaries. Furthermore, the Gantt chart is a neutral link for opposite sides (for web designers and clients) and assists to follow the status and evaluate the process. In the scope definition part, you will need a general contract between you and the customer and a timeline visualization (for instance, Gantt chart which we mentioned above).

 

3rd step of the web design process - Sitemap and wireframe creation

 

Well, now we have a scope definition, and it means that we can begin to build a sitemap. The second step - scope definition helped us to determine the content and the features.

We can call the sitemap as a basis for each well-designed site. A well-established sitemap gives the web designer a flexible concept about information data of the website. Also, the sitemaps show the connections among different web pages and content elements.

As a metaphor, we could say that web development of a site without a sitemap is like constructing a skyscraper without a blueprint. It is an unsuccessful and dangerous project.

Building a sitemap allows us to create a wireframe. What is a wireframe? It is a concept that presents a structure collecting visual design of the website with content elements. Additionally, the wireframe contributes to classify possible defects or gaps with the sitemap.

Sometimes they say that the wireframe has final design components, but it is not true. However, it gives us thought about how our website will presently seem. Several times we were asked about which tool is suitable for creating the wireframes? Actually, nowadays tools like Slickplan, Webflow or Balsamiq are prominent. Although you can use just a pencil and paper, it doesn't make any difference. Eventually, you will probably need for building sitemap and wireframe tools such as Axure, Balsamiq, Mindnode, Moqups, Sketch, Slickplan, Webflow, Writemaps or only a paper and pen who likes to work in traditional methods.

sitemap-for-simple-website

 

4th step of the web design process - Content creation

 

Each part of the web development steps is intricate and depending on one another. It makes all process interesting and challenging. After building sitemap and wireframe, we have a notion of the whole view of the website. It means that we can begin to create contents for each webpage. But in this period, make sure that SEO - search engine optimization provides keep pages focused on a unique point. It will be necessary for your next steps, too.

When the structure of the site is in point, it means that we are ready to begin the essential element of the website, in a word the written content.

We need the content on this point for two important reasons:

First reason - Each content brings about action and engagement. We mean, contents engage users and manage them step into action important to carry out targets of the website. The two aspects influence it: 1) Written content; 2) Presentation - typographic approach and structural details. Please, never forget that boring, lackluster, overlong contents can't catch users' attention. Instead of they like a brief, active and exciting content. The visitors meet with our content and click to other webpages. Our webpages will probably have many contents and they realize segmentation of content legitimately by separating it into short sections enhanced by visuals can enable it to keep light.

 

Second reason - Search Engine Optimization

Our contents will also increase the visibility of the website for Google (or other search engines). And what is SEO? Search Engine Optimization - it is a system of building and extending content to rank at high in search results.

Perceiving the keywords without a mistake is vital for the target of any site. There are many free and paid keyword tools on the internet. For instance, most people choose the Google Keyword Planner. Keyword tools indicate statistics which will help us to build the right SEO. They possess data such as search volume of keywords for the potential audience. The search volume helps us to set in on what concrete users search on the internet. Also, we can benefit from Google Trends to find what people are searching on the internet. Moreover, we can filter the result by location, search groups or other segments.

A proper web design process must focus on its work on SEO. We should set the keywords that we need to rank in the title tag - the closer to the starting, much better. Additionally, we must put the keywords in the Headline 1 (H1) tag, body content and meta description.

Take into account that Google or other search engines place cognitive, informative, complete, and keyword-rich content quickly. And it assists the website to be reachable and easy to find.

Usually, we see that customers (the owner of the website) suggest many texts. However, we have to determine from clients direction what phrases and keywords they must add in the content.

You can benefit some programs in the content creation process. For instance, Dropbox Paper, Google Docs, Gather Content, Quip are useful online content creation tools.

We frequently use for our Search Engine Optimization solutions these tools - Google Keyword Planner, Screaming Frog’s SEO Spider, LSI Keyword, Google Trends, etc. There are other different search engine optimization tools, but we have shared with you the most common.

 

5th step of the web design process - Visual elements

 

Possessing relevant contents and the website structure contribute us to launch a method on the visual brand. Actually, we have seen a customer that determined his expectation about the brand, and also have worked with other ones who don't have any idea about the design styles. And the second group deliver all responsibilities to us.

Ultimately, we can create a design style for the website. Be ready for the client's comment in advance. Available branding elements, logos, templates, and color corrections will form the visual elements. Additionally, it is a real career chance for web designers, and they can be designated during this web development step.

It is evident that images are an essential part of web design and this goings-on is enhancing. For example, the websites look more amazing with high pixelled images. Also, high-quality photos can deliver a message. These images are reliable and user-friendly as well.

What benefits do visual content contribute to a website? Firstly, we should state that the visual content can get engagement, boost clicks and revenue, and make the page feel more eye-catching. Then, visual content emphasizes the message in the text and choose the necessary components for users (they will get information without reading all article.)

In order to have high-quality images, you can incorporate with a professional photographer or purchase a qualitative photo camera. We must underline, considering images details is important. It means that images size can slow down your website. To get rid of such situations, we recommend you to use tools for compressing photos without losing its quality. For example, Optimizilla is a well-known tool among web designers.

The visual design is an approach to convey and speak to the visitors of the website. If you apply all guide correctly, you will get site progress. Also, the misuse of visual elements may bring the end of the website. A web designer can use popular graphics programs such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, Sketch while working on visual elements. Furthermore, mood boards, element collages, brand elements, visual style guides will be helpful in this process.

 

6th step of the web design process - Testing

 

Up to this time we have got the webpages and found out how they present to the users. Next stage is to test the quality of applies. We should examine every possible problem such as primary broken links, user experience cases or speed of the website (input and output.) We can use different devices (mobile, desktop) to connect manual browsing of the website and auto site crawlers.  

After possessing the website contents and visuals, we are ready for the first exercise. We must carefully investigate each web page to ensure that all links are available or our website is activated on all browsers as well as devices. The problem may be originated by simple coding errors and day by day fixing it becomes hard. So we strongly recommend you to be patient and fix the errors immediately. For instance, the testing tools assist you in carrying out auditing tasks and detect errors within hundreds of links.

Have one final look at the webpage meta descriptions and titles as well. Indeed, even the request of the words in the meta title can influence the execution of the webpage on Google. SEO Spider, W3C Link Checker, etc. are useful tools for testing your site.

 

7th step of the web design process - Launch the website!

 

Okay, we now in the last - 7th step of the web design process. It means that we now can plan and carry out our website launch. This stage must encompass the preparation of connection and timing strategies. It will determine when to start and how we inform the people.

All web designers are looking forward to this time of the web design process. You have investigated everything. The website works correctly and the customer liked it. So it is time to launch the website.

Take into account and explain to the client that everything cannot be awesome out of the blue. Web development steps and its part of web design is an ongoing work. So it will demand regular changes or necessary updates.

Web design is a hard responsibility. Our duty is to communicate functions and forms without any mistake. Appropriate colors, fonts, design elements are our weapons, and if we don't use them properly, we will fail definitely. Additionally, we must create a design that the users find it splendor. The point is that works on the website actually never finishes. As a matter of fact, none of web development experts can finalize the activity with the site. Because a newness, concepts, user testings on changing contents, monitor analytics, purifying the messages, etc. all these tasks will follow us.

 

Deployment in the web development steps

 

"Collaboration is a key part of the success of any organization, executed through a clearly defined vision and mission and based on transparency and constant communication." ~ Dinesh Paliwal

web-development-deployment

 

Congratulations, we have almost finished the web development steps. But, wait! We must ensure that we don't ignore the deployment of a site. As a matter of fact, many web developers and designers miss this step during the web development process.

There are many situations, and we will manage customers who are getting the site out of the blue and actually, nothing for us to honestly think separated from the facilitating answer for setting them up on. Also, there will be some jobs that we will work on new customers who already possess professional websites and other wants from different clients.

An experienced web development team must learn how to fix brisk issues and how to behave with unsatisfied clients. Technology, artificial intelligence, data, coding, etc. are not a manual mechanism and it is normal to face unlooked for problems even after termination of the web development process.

There are some interesting points when we are finishing a site, and they all rely upon what sort of deployment we will be ending.

Now we will present three main cases of a site deployment in the web development steps.

  • The first case: A customer who doesn't have a site.

  • The second case: Hosting is ready, and we are going to deploy the website on the client's server.

  • The third case: Although hosting is ready, but our task is to deliver it to another server.

For sure, the first case is the easiest and preferred situation. We will take the task from zero points. The second and third cases are complicated compared with the first, and they include more serious deployment process. After determination of which case we will work with, we will be able to plan and prepare for implementation of the deployment process (converting the former site to the new one).

So if we are working with the first case, we will log in with the available domain name and get web hosting. It is easy and quick deployment.

Deployment of the website on the client's server and deliver it to another server (the second and the third cases) will demand some data collection. We have to get domain management credentials of the client's web hosting so that we can control the DNS records. Usually, the customers have absolutely no clue about domain management credentials, so it will be better to do it ourselves because asking clients will probably be useless.

And how will we collect the data? In order to detect some knowledge about the current domain name, we can use some tools such as whois.domaintools.com.

domain-tools

When we put the domain name, the tool will show us the whois information. By the way, whois - is a list of data with reference to all internet items, for example, domain name. The whois information of Google is presented below:

whois-record


 

We must save some contact email addresses (for instance, technical or administrative executives.) Because will contact with them in order to ask them questions about the web project. So the following step for us is to go the Registration tab. Here, we see ICANN Registrar information (we pointed it with red lines), and we will write it. Additionally, we will note the Name Servers presented. The ICANN Registrar is an organization which enlisted the domain name. Other companies that registered to the domain name are GoDaddy, Namecheap.com and Network Solutions.

After having contacts with the administration or a technical executive of the domain we can ask for authorization to manage the domain name for ourselves. On the other hand, we can ask them to update the DNS records for us. It is possible when the website is able to be deployed.

If we can't learn the contact details of the domain, at that point, we should ask for our customer to find them for us.