Website Development Process
As web developers, we aim to make the process of creating a website as smooth as possible. To do that, we need to make sure that we are well organized, prepared, and on the same wavelength with our clients. Understanding how the process works can give you a better idea of what to expect, which in turn can put your mind at ease as the project moves forward. To that end, we invite you to familiarize yourself with our website development process.
At Intelligence Storm, we follow a six-stage development process. Adhering to these six stages enables us to design your site efficiently without sacrificing our meticulous attention to detail.
Stage 1: Analysis and Planning
As the old saying goes, it’s better to measure ten times and cut once than to measure once and cut ten times. Executing a careful planning stage at the start of the design process is crucial. Careful planning can also keep costs low -- by planning carefully at the outset, we can minimize the cost of having to make significant changes later on.
- Requirements analysis and discovering your market: The very first step in designing a website is to examine your goals for the site, the audience you intend to reach, and the market you serve. You may have already thought about this, and that’s great. Our designers will discuss your ideas with you and offer suggestions based on our 14 years of experience in planning web site functionality and usability.
- Defining goals and tasks: We will create a document that outlines the timeline for the project, terms for payment, closure clauses, termination clauses and copyright and ownership clauses.
- Developing project specifications: This is one of the most important steps in the initial stage of the development process. To develop the project specification, we aggregate information that we collected during the discovery phase of the process. We take your briefs, our notes from our initial conversations, charts and other sources of information and use it to create specs for your project. Completing the project specification allows us to give you a final estimate for the cost of the project. It is important to thoroughly review this document before you sign it; thoroughly understanding the contract before signing it is essential for keeping the project on track.
- Contracts: We draw up a contract that protects all parties involve in the project. It describes what our responsibilities and roles are, and spells out your rights and obligations as a client. The project specification is usually added on to the contract.
- Access to servers: The information we gather includes login information for control panels and usernames and passwords for FTP hosts. All of the websites we develop are developed on our own development server.
Stage 2: Design
In the design stage, we will create the flow, function and appearance of your site. This stage involves a great deal of communication between you and our designers, as we send you wireframes and mockups of your site and your respond with your comments. At this stage, our goal is to obtain your approval of the design of your site.
- Wireframing and usability development: A well-crafted website starts with a bare-bones structure called a wireframe. We use wireframes to sketch out the site layout. At this stage, we will also develop the user interface and user experience for the site.
- Mockup development: Once the wireframes are complete, we will create a Photoshop mockup to show you what the site will look like.
- Review and approvals: At this stage, we will ask you for your input. Your prompt feedback not only helps us ensure that we’re creating the site you imagined, but also helps us keep the project moving swiftly along.
Stage 3: HTML5 Coding
After you have approved the design, we begin the process of taking the basic structure of the site and building code on top of it. In this phase, we take the design concept and turn it into something that will function on the web.
- Slicing and coding website pages: Writing the HTML and CSS code for the design is the first step in converting a concept into a website. At this stage we will also convert the Photoshop mock-up that you have approved into CSS/HTML code.
- Interactive elements: Sliders, parallax scrolling, pop-ups, fade in and fade out effects are elements that can make your site more engaging for end users. We add interactive elements after creating the HTML code.
- Testing and cross-browser check: Cross-browser testing ensures that your site functions and looks the way its supposed to on all browsers.
- Responsive HTML testing: If your site has responsive HTML, we test it on different mobile devices with different screen resolutions to ensure that the site appears and work the way it should on smartphone and tablet touch screens and computer screens. Review and approvals: Again, we will ask for your feedback to ensure that the site looks and functions the way you want it to. Once we have your approval, we will move on to the next stage.
Stage 4: Development
Programming and adding content to the site happen during the fourth stage of the development process. This is the phase that turns our mockups and codes into a functioning, fully programmed web site.
- CMS & Framework: After installing the database server and creating the database, we will deploy an the content management system (like Wordpress, Drupal or Magento) or framework (like Kohana, Yii or Symfony) that we used to build the site onto the server.
- HTML templates integration: We take the HTML/CSS code that we created in stage 3 and integrate it into the content management system. This step is sometimes referred to as the theme development process. If we used a Framework and not a content management system to create your site, we will skip this step and go right to the development step.
- Development: This is the phase where we do the bulk of our programming work. If we used an open source CMS for your site, we will develop additional modules in this phase to meet the requirements we laid out in the Project Spec. If we used a Framework to build the site, we will do all of the programming for the site in this phase.
- Adding content: We will load the content that you have created for your site. This includes any text, images and videos that you want the site to display. For e-commerce sites, we fill stores with online products.
- Functionality testing: At this point, we will perform tests to ensure that links, menus, contact forms and other elements are functioning correctly. A thorough review of the site is a prudent step to take at this stage.
Stage 5: Launch
For you, the launch phase means seeing your site live for the first time and experiencing the excitement that comes along with it. For us, it means extensive, meticulous work to ensure that the site not only works properly but is as close to perfect as possible.
- Initial Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Without SEO, your site will be very difficult for users to find. At this stage, we add meta-titles, meta-descriptions and meta-keywords, all of which make your site more visible to search engines. Additional, we provide the option to generate SEO sitemaps and alt tags for images.
- Testing and polishing: Because you should never settle for anything less than perfection, we carefully examine the site to find things that we can improve. We also perform more functionality tests.
- Making the website live: Once the site is built and perfected, we will make it live online for the whole world to see.
- Final testing and cross-browser check: After the site goes live, we perform a final round of diagnostic testing and cross-browser checking. That way, we can be sure that the site is working optimally when we hand it off to you.
Stage 6: Post-Launch Support
Our partnership with you does not end once the site is live. We will remain a part of your team to ensure that you have the tools and knowledge you need to not only maintain your site but to maximize its potential.
- Providing source ﬁles and web site documentation: We will give you information on the languages we used to create the site, the framework and the sitemap. This documentation will be necessary if you bring an in-house developer on board or work with other developers at some point in the future.
- Teaching and live support: We provide instructions, explanations and online support in case you have questions or run into problems after we hand the site off to you. The documents that we hand off to you after the completion of the project can serve as a user manual for you and your staff.
Now that you understand how our process works, you can begin to think about how you can get the most out of the web development experience. Our developers are prepared to guide you through all six stages of the website development process, and help you hit the ground running after your site launches.
How You Can Keep Your Project Moving
At Intelligence Storm, we work hard to keep projects on track. However, there are several steps you can take to help us keep things moving at an efficient clip.
- Give us a brief yet thorough description of the project before we get started. You don’t have to write us a novel. In fact, a single paragraph will suffice. Just be sure that the description is clear, detailed, and encompasses every aspect of your vision.
- Make sure you have a clear understanding of what you want to see once the project is finished. If you have a clear vision of what you want to see, it’s easier for us to see it too -- and to construct it.
- Before signing the Project Spec, be sure to read through it carefully. Ask questions if anything is unclear or doesn’t make sense to you. Make comments if you would like to see something changed. Make sure you are completely comfortable with it before you sign it.
- Reply to our questions promptly during the development process. The sooner we hear from you , the sooner we can resolve any issues that arise. Your prompt responses help keep the project firmly on the rails.
- Be involved. Take the time to test your site’s functionality. Ask us questions. Give us feedback. The more involved you are throughout the process, the better the outcome will be.
Why Choose Intelligence Storm to Develop Your Site?
For 14 years, we have helped clients all over the world create and launch successful websites. Our commitment to perfection means you will never see anything less than our very best work. Finally, we offer our services at an extremely competitive rate.