For those interested, below is what our process looks like. It is fairly flexible in terms of what it can be applied to, it's uncomplicated, and more importantly it's effective.
Research and Planning
Every project we undertake starts with research and planning. This might sound redundant to some, but we believe that this stage accounts for over 50% of the entire project. The project will always be “built” in our minds (and on paper) before it will ever see the light of day.
Here are several reasons as to why we think future-proofing is so crucial:
- Well-planned projects always work better. It's a fact.
- More planning means less money will have to be spent down the road.
- There's nothing worse than doing double the work required. Simply put, it's a waste of time – time that can never be regained. We value our time.
We write about our research in our blog.
Most of the design is planned out in the above stage, so when we start designing, we already have a clear goal in mind and know exactly what the final project will look like – minus the small details, which we leave for the last (see Quality Assurance & Testing below).
A word on multiple design mockups:
A lot of people expect us to come up with multiple designs for them to choose from, so we thought we'd take this opportunity to make it clear right now to avoid any further confusion. Unless we are hired to do an A/B test, you will never see us doing this.
The reason for this is very simple: each one of these designs will perform completely different and selecting simply based on “looks” would be the wrong way to approach this. Worst case scenario is that you will end up selecting the least performing design of the bunch without even knowing it.
In general, we always design with progress in mind and each one of our designs is flexible enough to accommodate most of the future changes and improvements. If you are not planning on improving your website through testing, we're probably not a good fit for each other as we're all about evolution.
Over the years we've optimized our process to be extremely efficient as many of our clients required us to meet tighter than usual deadlines. One way of achieving this is by working on both the design and the development simultaneously.
We use of Drupal for all of our development needs. Without getting into specifics, Drupal is the most flexible open source “content management system” in the world.
It can be stripped down to bare bones for the simplest of tasks, or optimized to handle mega-portals and e-commerce stores that see hundreds of thousands of monthly visitors.
Contrary to popular belief, it should not be compared to the likes of Joomla, WordPress and TextPattern as it's more of a framework, rather than a dedicated content management system (CMS).
Quality Assurance & Testing
We believe that this is the stage that really sets us apart from many web design companies out there.
Sometimes we can spend days on adding small details to a project that would otherwise seem 100% complete to most people. Many of these details might not even be evident at a first glance, but once noticed, make the biggest difference.
Maintaining a balance between content and these extra details is also very important and something that many designers miss. Adding too much detail will only end up distracting the user from what's important – the content itself.
In order to ensure the highest quality of your website, we've introduced several monthly maintenance packages. They vary from basic 5-point checks, to more intensive 20+ pointers. Some of the most common tasks include:
- Installation of latest module updates
- Installation of latest security patches
- Monitoring of 3rd party changes
- Daily website backups
- Cross-browser compatibility checks
- Broken link/missing data reports
- Checkout process monitoring (e-commerce)
Please contact us for more information regarding these maintenance packages.
Analysis & Optimization
This is the most rewarding of all stages as we get to see how the project is performing.
We use various tools to measure the effectiveness of key areas of your website so we can further improve upon them.
Our process always ends up coming back to this stage as we're firm believes of progression. If you're not planning on improving your website, there are many companies out there that will gladly take your one-time payment and forget about you.