Every web site designer or company has his or her own unique procedures of web design and development. Therefore, exact processes will vary among designers. Research studies show as little as a four step process up to as many as twelve steps for design and development. However, there are six basic steps necessary for designing and developing an effective web site: gather information; plan; design; develop; test and deliver; and maintain (Bowlby, 2014).
Step 1: Research and information
The first step is the most important of the entire process. There must a thorough understanding of the company or individuals' needs in a web site. Many things must be a consideration for the web site such as:
- What is the primary objective of the web site?
- What are the goals for building the site?
- Is there a specific audience that will help to reach the goals and objectives?
- What type of information will the target audience be seeking?
Whether a web designer designs the web site or you do it yourself, these questions will require in-depth answers before continuing to second step. The first step will likely consume considerably more than any of the following five.
Step 2: Planning
Creating a site map is next and it requires using all of the information of step one. According to WhatIs.com, the definition of a site map is a list of main subject matter and sub-topics, which serve as a guide to the content of the website. (Rouse, 2005) Determining the implementation of technologies and components of which CMS, (content management system) will occur during this planning stage.
Step 3: Design
Establishment of the look and feel of the web site is the process of step three: the design phase. The target audience is a consideration at this time. Incorporating items to strengthen the identity of the business or individual of the site such as company logos, and colors are a part of the design phase as well (Bowlby, 2014).
Step 4: Development
The Developmental, some refer to as Code, phase is step four. The actual creation of the functioning web site is the process of step four. Development of the home page, content pages and navigational structure occurs in this step. Implementation of essential items of CMS, like WordPress, interactive exchange forms, and ecommerce carts become functional at this time (McConnell, 2010).
Technological areas of front end web site development requires validity of writing HTML and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) code which complies to the current website standards, acquiring maximum functionality, and vast audience accessibility are determinable in step four as well.
Step 5: Testing and delivery
The validity of codes, testing viewing differences between browsers, and functionality of forms and other scripts are details, which require testing. All testing must be complete prior to delivery of the website. Once the site is complete, delivery or launching to the public is the next process. File Transfer Protocol, (FTP), is the means or program used for uploading the website files to the server and launching or "going live" with the new website (McConnell, 2010).
A final and important phase of step five involves optimizing the site for search engines, SEO, (Search Engine Optimization). This is a vital process because the new web site is up and our audience must be able to find it (Bowlby, 2014).
Step 6: Maintenance
In order to bring repeat traffic, or visitors, to the new website, offering new content or products is a necessity. This process requires constant and regular supervision. Hence, step six is maintenance.
These six steps of web site design and development are the guidelines for creating a successful business or individual website.
Bowlby, S. M. (2014, March 11). 6 Phases of the Web Site Design and Development Process. Retrieved April 3, 2017, from iDesign Studios: http://www.idesignstudios.com/blog/web-design/phases-web-design-development-process/#.WOFD1|WcHVc
McConnell, C. (2010, August 2). A 6 Step General Process for Producing a Website. Retrieved April 3, 2017, from Six Revisions: http://sixrevisions.com/web-development/a-6-step-general-process-for-producing-a-website?
Rouse, M. (2005, September). definition site mape. Retrieved April 3, 2017, from WhatIs.com: http://searchmicroservices.techtarget.com/definition/site-map