Each project that we work on has its own unique challenges. As we break our 100th project we look back and reflect on the one item that rings true for all of them. This item is essentially the most important aspect of any website. Every project begins with a blank slate. Whether we use a flow charting program or a pencil and paper we always start with nothing.
Most of the companies that we work with are well established, have worked with creative designers and marketing firms to outline the businesses fonts and colors the business uses. Along with that information we are given a set of parameters of how the fonts, sizes of the fonts, logo, location of the logo, and colors should be used.
When we have a project with a brand new startup it is a truly exciting experience as we not only work directly with the business entity but the designer helping build the brand. This also allows us to ask direct questions to both the designer and the business owner to make not only meet the businesses needs but help make the experience blend in more closely with the vision of the designer.
Almost every project we start with we have pictures of the company’s products, staff pictures and for those with a physical presence a picture of their facility.
In the instances the company doesn’t have pictures or the pictures are out-of-date and no longer reflect the vision of the company waiting for the photographer to gather the information, take the pictures, and Photoshop the pictures to bring out the best possible colors can take weeks or months to complete.
Routinely someone will say they either need a website as they currently do not have one or they want a redesign based on a branding change or the site isn’t doing what they want. We always ask a set of standard questions of what they want the site to achieve, who is their target audience, who are their primary competitors both locally as well as nationally and what areas of the site currently are working for you (if they have a site). In many cases these questions take many other questions and learning about the company culture to answer this information correctly.
All too often people believe adding a website will solve all their problems (e.g. the build it and they will come thought process). We can definitely build a product based on the information from a customer and be done. We don’t like to do that as we find out all too often that this does a serious disservice to a customer as they end up being unhappy with the overall results. They initially love their site but do not receive what they wanted. This is where defining the objectives comes into play as we can listen to what they want to achieve, look at the reality of the item being able to be achieved, and have a baseline to gauge the success of a project.
Once an objective is discovered for a site the next step is interpreting everything that we’ve talked about and putting pen to paper. The outlining process can take many iterations to achieve a true mind-meld with the customer of what they want and what the technology today can do to meet their business needs. Once this happens we know we’ll have not only a great product for the customer, a project that everyone can gauge the success and help the business grow in the way they want to grow online.
The content is the hardest for any project. We always hope that we can have the content first as when we develop our pages we know what the initial information is. This helps speed the entire development process for the site by our knowing how much we have to display, we can define what is and isn’t shown on each device (desktop, tablet and mobile), and how the overall design will look based on the actual content rather than mocked up content.
If you are not happy with your website, don’t know if you’re happy with your website or do not have a website we would love to hear from you on how we might be able to help you. You can contact us on through our contact form or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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