WordCamp Columbus started off strong on a recent Saturday with the one of the early presenters speaking on the pre-development of a website. This quote from her slideshow could not be more spot on.
Designing for the user experience is always beneficial and there are many ways to go about it. This session outlined a process that consists of 4 phases.
1. Discovery – Talk with your client to help identify their goals and their users’ goals. The outcome of this phase should be a pretty solid initial needs analysis.
2. Information Architecture – This is the phase where you identify what the most important elements of pages and create the basic structure or development framework for your website outlined in a sitemap.
3. Ideation – defined by Dictionary.com as the process of forming ideas, this is when you take the time to develop your wireframe, get feedback from your client and refine your ideas based off that feedback. If time allows, a rapid prototype is also helpful in this stage.
4. Visual Design – The final phase in the pre build process is where you design the style board and combine both the wireframe and style board to compose the final website mockup for your client.
If this process is used during the pre-build phase it will help make the development process much smoother for both you and your clients. The hope is that your clients will also come to value your work more as you take the time to truly understand their goals and needs instead of just slapping a website together.
This Wordcamp was full of other great information like a list of 7 plugins everyone should be using.
7. Contact Forms 7 (accompanied by Contact Forms DB to store the data)
Also, a handy list of content that’s great for your website.
– Blog Posts
– Check lists
– How-to Guides
– Case studies
– Behind the scenes
If you haven’t been to WordCamp before, I strongly encourage you to go, even if you are just trying to learn the ins and outs of your WordPress website. The sessions ranged from beginner to developer levels so you can find one that your comfortable with. My co-worker Peter attended the Chicago WordCamp and he could not speak enough about how nice and helpful everyone was. WordCamp Columbus was no different. The environment was prime for learning and everyone was willing to lend a supporting hand if needed.