This section is to provide a better understanding of the web design process and development phases Vegas Graphics utilizes with nearly all custom built web sites. Whether Vegas Graphics builds your site or you choose another company, the information below will help you better understand the steps involved in web site development.
Phase #1 The Initial Consultation
This is the initial phone or in-office consultation regarding your web project needs. If applicable, being able to offer the following information serves as an outline to better serve your project requirements.
- What kind of business or service you’re providing.
- Do you have an existing web site? If so, list the pros & cons, if any.
- Do you have existing text to contribute to this project?
- Do you have existing images, visual branding, or other imagery that is important to your purpose?
- Have you made any pre-purchases or have existing services such as an in-house IT dept., web hosting, email plans, web site builders, etc?
- Have you purchased a domain name and do you have access to this account?
- Are their other service/product/technology providers being utilized for this web project?
Offering as much information related to your web site during the initial consultation will help the web designer provide you an accurate quote and create a strong foundation to be used during the development phases of your site.
Phase #2 Web site Structure
Now it's time for us to develop a flow chart that will serve as the master key to building your web site. A flow chart provides a link structure that will help the designer accommodate the general design, navigational interface, and overall layout of your web site. Below is a diagram that depicts a typical flow chart.
Web Design Flow Chart
Keep in mind this is just one example. Depending on the size of your internet project and technologies being used, these flow charts can get more complex and detailed however provides us with a clear map during the creation of your web presence.
Phase #3 Visual Design Phase
This is usually the customer’s favorite phase. During this process we draft a static electronic design that will depict your web sites design and layout. The design will be made viewable via a private URL for your review. Since this graphic image(s) of your web site will be the actual look, it is wise to carefully review and provide any input or changes at this time. It is also recommended to include any key members of your organization for collaborative feedback.
Phase #4 Web site Technology
Great, following the phases above we've established a static design for your web site. We now know how the general design of your web site will look and have a good understanding of where the hierarchy of links will be placed within the layout. Now comes the exciting task of making these design elements dynamic and interactively appealing A.K.A. "the look and feel". When your custom web design template(s) is approved, our team begins to focus on creative functionality of the design. Below are some of the technologies our web developers begin to incorporate:
- Roll Over Buttons
- Animated Buttons
- Animated Banners
- Animated Logos
- Flash Intros
- Flash Headers
- Sound Effects
- Internet Video Streams
- Streaming Galleries
- Interactive Web Presentations
- Dynamic Online Demos
- Java Applications
The web site technology is based on the type of web site you've chosen. You may have decided to use strictly static design for your web site, in which we would of course skip this phase of development.
Phase #5 Web site Development
In this phase we cover the business logic and back-end functionality your web design project requires. As mentioned above, having a structured diagram, flow chart, or written specs helps the developer program your web site. Below are some of the scenarios you may need dynamic language for.
Your site requires:
- Membership Login
- Newsletter and emailing capabilities
- Database retrieval/editing/removal
- Content management solutions
- Internet to intranet connections
- Connection to web services
- Upload functionality
- Dynamic retrieval and storage of media file formats
- Customizing users experience
- Compatibly with Windows App's.
- Calculating formulas
While their are various logical functionality’s that can be applied to your web site, the different languages such as PHP, ASP, ASP.NET, Perl, Java, and ColdFusion may be chosen to meet your specific needs and existing server requirements. This information should be communicated during the initial consultation of your web site project.
Phase #6 Testing
Everything looks good; but we are not done yet! Now that we've completed all the phases, it is now time to put everything to the test. Your web sites code must be checked for cross browser and platform compatibility, broken links, technology functionality, and programming vulnerabilities. After all these steps are completed, we are then ready to prepare the launch date.
Phase #7 Launch
This is where all the hard work, time, and careful planning go into effect. Planning a web site launch date to coincide with advertising campaigns, grand openings, media releases, and other significant dates is crucial. You should mention any deadlines for the site during your initial web site consultation to insure the timeline can be met. You will also want to prepare a maintenance & backup plan to ensure your needs will be accommodated after the web site launch.
If all this information seems overwhelming, don't be. Most of the web site phases above are handled by your developer however having a strong concept of what you need before beginning the project allows better communication and smooth work flow for all involved.