Great website design is so much more than a platform for information and visual appeal. Your website should be as functional as it is enticing, helping your audience engage with and understand your product, company, and branding. A well-designed website can be more than the sum of its parts, but to get there, you need to set (and meet) some clearly defined goals. Adding structure to your process can make that easier, so here is our proven approach to designing and building a website.
How to Apply Discovery to Building a Website
Beginning a new website design starts with research and goal setting, a phase we call discovery. Our team will work with you to understand the needs of your clients, customers, or consumers, applying this information to designing and building a website that will ultimately meet their needs. The discovery phase consists of two major components:
- Competitor Analysis: Who are your top competitors? What do they do that you like? What do they do differently? What makes you stan
- Consumer Research: Creating Buyer Personas and doing Empathy Mapping to build an overview of what your ideal customer looks like - their pain points, wants, and needs as well as information on their job, company size, and communication preferences.
With this foundation of research, we can now begin to develop the appearance and experience of visiting your site. How will people navigate through your site? What colors will we use? You want your website to be open, inviting, and representative of the experience a customer will have with your brand. We’ll collaborate to establish an overall design that is emotionally appealing to visitors.
With your goals defined, ideal customer identified, and visual aesthetic designed, we’re ready to move into the next phase.
Now it’s time to put all of our ideas and research into action. You may be tempted to move immediately to the most fun parts of creating your website - choosing images, creating custom graphics, selecting a fun font - but it’s important to build your site intentionally and one step at a time. First, we’ll build the structure and create the roadmap to your eventual website: a sitemap and wireframe. Once developed, these tools become the skeleton of your website, creating a set support system before incorporating visual design elements and written content.
Next comes the development of the design prototype - creating layout and design, page by page - and content creation - product pages, blog posts, video content, e-books, infographics, and more. Because the design will impact where the content can be placed, and important pieces of content might warrant a design change to make sure they’re appropriately highlighted, content and design should happen in tandem to create an enjoyable, on-brand and action-inducing user experience.
At this point, we’ll have a rough version of your new website. Before moving forward, it’s important to build in time for review. We’ll set a time to bring together all important stakeholders, and incorporate their feedback into the design. After all edits have been addressed, and content and design have been refined to their best possible versions, it’s time to bring your website to life in development.
Once your site is developed, you’ll be able to see all the animations, effects, and detailed site functionalities with the responsive design you’ve been dreaming of throughout this process. It’s once again important to review, revise, and test all of the elements of your website, but once that’s done we’ll be ready to launch.
Launch and Marketing
This process doesn’t end at website launch. In fact, the final step in the process is in some ways the most important to actually see results from your new site. This phase is active and should go on for as long as your site is live.
Your website could be the best, most beautiful site on the internet, but it won’t matter if there’s no one visiting it. Maintaining your website, keeping content relevant and up-to-date, and then marketing the site, will help to drive more results. Keep your website fresh and exciting to keep visitors coming back.
“From SEO and branding to conversion rates and more, your site’s web design plays a major role in how your brand is perceived by consumers everywhere.” - Drew Hendricks, Forbes
The process of designing a new website (or updating an existing one) can be complicated and time-consuming. If you don’t feel like an expert in any or all of these steps, that’s ok! Because we have a team of designers, developers, and strategists that would love to work with you to create a website that accurately represents your brand, engages prospects and customers, and supports your business’s goals. Let’s chat.
Originally published on 6/04/2019 - updated on 08/17/2020