Designing a website is similar to building a building. Its infrastructure is in fact composed of several foundations, without which the building is incomplete, crude, almost unusable. In this article we wanted to describe some of the crucial aspects that must be taken into account when going online with a new project. We will describe the design phases, the people in charge of their “scheduling” and implementation, the role of the client who commission the site … all aspects that harmonize and make a unique website, capable of giving value to the client’s business.
The process of creating a site can be divided into seven main phases. They are all equally important and skipping one can be fatal to the site and its future performance.
1) The strategic project, the role of the Account Manager and the client
Regardless of the reasons behind the project, it is necessary to be clear about the objectives from the beginning, as these will help to set up and manage the entire project strategy , without which web investment will be in vain and will not lead to results.
In this very first phase, the role of the Account and the relationship with the client is realized with the “brief” phase. In this part, the customer is guided by the account and “tells” the company, the market, the prospects for development and where it wants to arrive. The Account Manager has the task of collecting the specifications, discussing them, understanding them, in order to make the project immediately concrete and “personalized” .
We will proceed, therefore, based on the complexity of the website development, to name the figures responsible for its creation. This is where the Project Management phase begins.
2) Project preparation & Project Management
Site planning management becomes operational thanks to the figure of the Project Manager. Within the Team, it is the PM who will be responsible for coordinating the various figures in charge of developing the website : these are the Information Architect, the Web Marketing Specialist, the Web Designer and the Web Developer.
During the planning phase, any activity must be identified and included in the project plan so that everyone is aware of the global overview.
3) Preparation of navigation architecture and wireframes
Once the preliminary meeting that starts the work (called “kick-off meeting”) is over, the foundations of the website start to be built.
The project plans are two in this case: on the one hand there is the figure of the Information Architect who “draws” the basic structure of the site , the modules on which it will be built, or decides the navigation mast. On the other hand, there is the figure of UX Designer, who concretizes the tree by providing its “visual” counterpart, the wireframe and the “graphic prototype”.
The navigation menus of the modules are always structured by a logical path, in which one wonders how the user can interact with the site: the User Experience and Web Design contribute to this goal. The user’s navigation path must be translated into a “conversion” (that is to say, into a “result” for the client, be it a purchase if the developing site is an e-commerce or a contact if it is a site designed for Lead Generation).
Generally it is at this stage that the PM interfaces with the SEO Specialist. Especially if you are planning a new release of a previous site for the same client, the results obtained from the old site must be preserved. In fact, the SEO Specialist has these tasks:
- if the site is designed from scratch (ie there is no previous version), an analysis of the positioning on keywords relevant to the customer’s sector can be performed, and subsequently implemented at the level of navigation and online “scovabilità” of the site in its new version.
- if the site is a second re-edition of a previous web project, it is generally structured an audit of the contents of the old site to evaluate which of them will be the object of possible “migration”; you will therefore avoid any radical changes in the design of the pages so as not to “lose” positioning on pages that carry “convertible” traffic.