How a Website is Like a House

March 3, 2011

There are as many methods for website design and development as there are website designers and developers.

If you have had the responsibility for building your company’s website, or were part of a team or committee responsible for producing a website, chances are at various stages it seemed overwhelming. Unfortunately this is not unusual.

A website development project that seems to drift on forever and bog down at certain stages was probably started by jumping directly into design or coding without clear goals and objectives. Often, a website project is viewed as a technological hurdle and the goals of the business and the site’s users become secondary, or are missed altogether. Engaging the user is key to attracting and keeping site visitors, and business and user goals should drive the technology platform, not the other way around.

Build it and they will come

Much like planning and building a house, careful thought must go into the strategy and planning for a website to be successful. Good planning results in a blueprint that clearly informs and directs the website project team while establishing clear expectations of the final product. For home builders the blueprint becomes the central tool for understanding the structure of the house from the exterior material down to what happens when you flip a switch. For developers, the blueprint, or information architecture (IA) in their vernacular, shows how a user will navigate the website, perform interactive functions, like filling out a form or buying a product, and how content will be delivered.

This initial planning phase is part of a larger process that leverages carefully thought out objectives and strategies to begin producing a website that will achieve the goals of your business and your site visitors. Whether your website is being built on Drupal, HubSpot, Joomla, or coded from scratch, a proven website development process is needed to avoid the many pitfalls that can arise. The development process serves as the guide for planning, budgets, scheduling, task assignments, expenses, and tracking and reporting over the course of the project. Today web design and development have permeated all creative and advertising agencies and their level of capabilities dictates the extent of their process, but the fundamental need still applies.

Fine tune your process

At Digett we have established multiple process guidelines that reflect our capabilities ranging from brand identity development and marketing strategy, to websites, SEO, and mobile websites. Following these proven processes allow us to manage expectations, schedules, and budgets throughout the course of a project. We are constantly learning and adding capabilities so our processes are refined continually.

There are many helpful resources on the Internet that provide detailed information and guidance for establishing best-practice processes for all facets of web design and development. Understanding resources required to develop a website or online application, capabilities, roles, and timelines can seem overwhelming if you have never worked within an environment that practices a proven process, but the resulting benefits in time, costs, and communication are worth the additional effort.

Helpful Planning Resource: Web Style Guide - 3rd Edition

Image: geckostamp