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My Process for Website Design Projects

My Process image of girl with question marks over headIt is just natural to be curious about how something is going to work, especially when you are making a fairly substantial investment into it. I created this section so that you can better understand the general process of where we are going, how we will get there, and what your part in our journey together will be. Please note that this first section is a general overview of my process. At the bottom of this page will be a link to the small business web services page which will contain more information on each of the service I offer.

  • STEP 1 – Initial Client Interview & Project Discussions

my process | business_introduction_at_tableAll of the projects I take on start with an initial client interview. This is where you and I (or your team) talk about the scope of your project, potential concerns, and discuss what you feel your most urgent needs are (where is your pain). I usually do all first interviews by phone to see if we are possibly a good fit for each other and that your project falls inside my areas of expertise. If I feel that I can serve your needs, and you feel comfortable as well, we will move on to the next step. Otherwise, I will make a referral to someone who I feel can better serve your specific requirements.

  • STEP 2 – Proposal (Quote) & Contracts

My Process | photo of man working at a deskBefore we begin this step, I will ask you to fill out a new client form on line so that I can get a better picture or your company, the proposed project and what is involved. Also, If you are building a new or redesigned website, and have a written RFP (request for proposal), now is the time to let me know. I will ask you to send it to me to review before we conduct this part of the process. If you are not sure what an RFP is, you can download and print the Request for Proposal framework (with detailed descriptions) that I created to use with my clients. However, I do not require a formal RFP to generate a proposal.

As part of my process, we will dig a bit deeper into your goals, features & requirements needed until I feel I have a good picture of which service(s) will most benefit your project. If you have a formal RFP, I will respond according to your vendor response requirements. If you do not have an RFP, I will generate a rough quote based on our discussions. I will sometimes break projects down into ‘phases’, but I do not break out individual items. For some work, I do charge an hourly rate, but most of my pricing is project-based.

If you accept the proposal I sent you, I will generate a contract based on the details found in the proposal. If it is determined during the project discovery phase that additional features and work is needed, we will negotiate those items as an addendum to the contract. It is important that you read the entire contract and let me know if you have any questions or require any changes before signing it. The contract is binding and is there to protect both our interests. Once the contract is signed, I will require a non-refundable deposit in the amount detailed in the contract itself before any of the work begins.

  • STEP 3 – Discovery Process

My process | photo of man with magnifying glassThis will be the part of the project where you will likely have to invest the most time with me. In a series of face-to-face meetings (in person or through video conferencing) we begin to nail down the “why” and “how” details of the project; in other-words, what our “plan of attack” going to be. We will make sure we understand WHY we are doing something before we decide HOW we are going to do it.

This part of the project involves such critical elements as market research, competitor research, and keyword research. This process will also include expanding on the details listed in the contract or RFP and the best way to approach accomplishing each of these tasks. We will dig in and discuss your options and which methods we think will be most effective. This is not the design or planning phase. That comes next.

  • STEP 4 – Design, Content, Structure & Branding

My Process | image of design tools laying on a deskThis is point where we begin to draw up the plans and create content (copywriting, images & graphics) based on the decisions we made in the discovery phase. We will use what we know to build and reinforce your brand; delivering a consistent look and feel for the product(s) we are working on.

This is also the point at which the steps begin to be different, depending on the product offering. For example, if we are working on a website design, we will use the information we have gathered to begin planning which pages we will need, where the content will be located, site structure, navigation, colors & feel, etc. If we are working on an explainer video project, we will begin choosing which animated characters to use, choose the music to use, write the script, and match the colors to your brand. See the individual product offering links below if you would like more specifics on the steps for the product offering you chose.

  • STEP 5 – The Geek Phase | Development & Implementation

My Process | picture of a geek with glassesThis is where all the magic happens. I will spend countless hours writing code, creating scripts & copywriting, tweaking images & graphics in Photoshop, inputting keywords & metadata all to implement the plan that we have put in place … oh ya, and drinking TONS of coffee too!

Don’t worry, I won’t disappear during this step. I will check-in with you on a regular basis and will be available to take phone calls and answer any questions you may have. I will most likely ask for your feedback whenever I reach a reviewable portion of the project. I love interacting with you during this step because this is where you really get to see your hard work and time take shape into a product you can be proud of.

  • STEP 6 – Modifications & Review

My process | graphic of checklist on clipboardThis is the part of the process where we will sit down and review what we have done. We will review the product from top to bottom and make notes if any modifications are needed. All changes/modifications must fall within the scope of the contract. If additional features (not in the contract) are requested, we will make an addendum to the contract and negotiate the charges for the additional work.

When the requested changes are completed, we will review one more time. I usually allow for at least (2) two reviews before extra charges are incurred. The reason I only allow for two review passes (as a general rule) is so that you share in the responsibility of making sure everything is to correct and to your liking. It is like signing off on a print job before you submit it. You are acknowledging that everything is correct and functions according to the specifications we agreed on (content, images, flow, etc.). If we are working on several phases of a project, than I will just have you sign off on the phase we are working on. If you would like to see specifics about the service we are working on, see the client web marketing services section and look for the appropriate link.

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