Fist I will describe the steps I take for the design process , then I’ll try to explain it and give more details about it.
- First contact
- Determine the project size, direction and scope.
- Site map and wire-framing in XD or Figma sometimes I use Edraw Mind Map
- Content gather and categorize and if it is necessary(in the most cases) generate it
- Create the prototype with Figma, way back I used a lot Fireworks 8 from Macromedia,
- Create the site, create the pages and link them together and adding all the design elements
- Testing phase, look for bugs, and things that have to be tweaked.
- Launch the site on line.
- Deliver it to the client
- Post production phase
I’m the type of designer that chooses his clients, at least I try to. Because I had bad experience in the past with some projects that turn out toxic. I will talk about that issue in another moment, for now I’ll stick to the design process.
1. Lets see, when I get a new client either from a passive method like in the case he fund me or I find him by myself, I make contact with him or her, so in the first order I talk with him on the phone and ask what is his budget that he has in mind, with a little bit of sense of touch, don’t be rude or scare him for being to direct.
I never make a contact by email or chat only when I’m promoting myself or trying to get new clients by email campaigns. So after asking what is exactly what he wants, generally they what a web presence to promote their business or give some kind of service. I don’t make apps by myself for the fact that here in Spain the web design an development work is undervalued and they think of us (the clients with no programing or design skills) that we press a Photoshop button or write ten lines of code and it is done, so I stick to the web design and nothing more because they are scrooge, a lot.
After more or less get to some agreement about what he wants I tell him the price if it is the case of a tailor made site, if the site is a standard one, like those presented in my offer I stick to it, for example a 5 page category made with HTML and CSS site I charge 300€ if the client provides me the graphic and text if I have to generate it I charge him an extra per page(later we will talk about fees)
So I present him a basic contract in which I state the condition of our commercial relation and the method of work flow, payment and other things. That done, we jump straight to it.
2. They all want to be the first in Google! so I tell them that it is impossible and there are other methods of promoting themselves either on line or some marketing camping. After they tell me the story of how they want to achieve extra hi income with the website, I interrogate them (not like the CIA, but very close) to find out what they really want to accomplish. The thing is that I changed my mentality about the clients, in as much as my life philosophy (we will talk about nihilism) changed by the years, so back then I only see numbers and money, but in a marketing course I have taken the teacher managed to change my point of view. That been said I imagine the scope of the project an reach and embrace it. I must add that I do this on a tailor made web site, in a small project a pass to the action directly because is more simple. So with that figure out I go to the next step.
3. This one is easy I draw with pen and paper the site map then a rude wire-frame after that I put the elements I think their have to be included like text box, image holders, lists, forms etc.
4. I must admit that in all cases the new client only has a business card with a shabby logo on it or maybe some flyers. After that I ask for the text that he wants to appear on the website, and with his collaboration tweak it so that it fits and apply for the initial SEO. In the case that he doesn’t present nothing I charge them for the copyright generation and stock pictures(if he doesn’t have professional photos) or if he wants to go to a photographer, in some extreme cases I shoot the photos myself with my reflex camera, I purchase a tripod and some lights for this case. That done, to the next step we go.
5. This is I think the mos difficult part of the process, I have to inspire myself, but the process of creativity I will tell you more in another occasion for now let say I have it, so I generate by default 3 different static layouts with all the elements and the color scheme in place and present them to the client. We pick one and the work on it to fine tune it and the go to the next step. I usually use Figma for the fact that I can directly present the prototype online at the same time the client sees it ant talk on the phone with him and ask about his opinion about how it came out. After that I implement the navigation between the pages and the navigation menu and make it work. When he gives me the OK I pass to the next step.
6. The creation is a little bit chaotic in my case, because I’m an anarchist and some times even hedonist and always do what I like and what I want, this is a big problem, that it is why I give to the client a two weeks period from the first contact till I deliver the site. I start out with the prototype made in Figma and transport it to a PNG which in some cases I print it and in others I just leave it on my second monitor. If the client wants a static site I code it in Visual Studio Code or Atom, I love both of them, If he wants a CMS I jump in to Elementor and get it done. I want describe the creation of the website because it is very simple and linear I just have to stick to the steps I usually define before the task.
7. The testing phase is a little bit tedious if the site is large, but with good practice and flowing the right steps it is fairly simple, some times I use my friends to look around the site a see if there is something wrong, like bad dimensions photos or other elements that need to be arranged.
8. This step is a little bit complicated, because the client has to have his hosting account running and the domain name working, I don’t lunch the site if he doesn’t provide me his hosting account credentials, I don’t offer hosting services from bad experience in the past, like when they want to end the relation with you. I measure the sites loading speed and see if it is all OK and then upload the hole site, with the assets and the scripts.
9. In this step I give the client his credentials back, and if he doesn’t have tech knowledge, create his email accounts. If it is a CMS I install the plug-ins need like the ones for anarchistic, anti-spam, security ones and so one
10. Now I try to hook the client so I may charge him a regular fee for maintenance and site content actualization, backups, newsletters and so on.
Thank you and have a nice day.