When you’re working on a new website, it’s important to maintain a collaborative relationship with the designer because your feedback will invariably effect the final product. But if you’re completely lost don’t fret! Learn how to give awesome constructive criticism by knowing a little bit about the stages your website will go through.
The Kick-off Meeting:
When we find a client (you) who has agreed to get started on a web design project, the first thing we do is send them a kick-off document. This document contains all kinds of important information that the designer will then use to set up your development site. Aside from the administrative tasks of setting up your website, we want you to look at lots of other websites for inspiration. Look at your competitors, but also sites in completely unrelated industries. Consider what their site is doing successfully but also think about what you’d like your site to improve upon. This is an important part of the process to see how your personal tastes and your competitors’ websites look and feel. Also, think about how your brand comes into play through color choices, style and the feeling that you want your visitors to get when they visit your site.
- Do provide other examples of your brand materials when possible (a brand guide, flyers or other materials you think would help influence the style of the site for the positive)
- Do make sure you discuss important non-negotiables at this point (Do you need to have the color purple? Do you want your visitor to see a compelling image when they first arrive to your site?) This is the time to bring up your most important website criteria.
Web Design – Mock-Up Phase:
After a kick-off meeting, the designer goes back to the drawing board, using all the information they know about your brand, your example websites and your competitions’ websites. From there, we come up with a visual game plan for the homepage and one interior page (often times it’s an “about us page”). Unlike a basic HTML site, we use Wordpress themes which we customize as the foundation of the web design. All design elements are finalized before the start of the website, but the content within the page can easily be changed later.
- Do make sure you give feedback about the direction of the mock-up. Do you really hate the shade of green that was chosen? Feel free to give any kind of gut reactions to style at this point.
- Do comment on the look and feel of the images used throughout your mock-up.
Web Design – Development Phase
After the mock-up has been approved now it’s time for the designer to build out the real version of your site based on the mock-up. We take a lot of elements from the Mock-up’s Photoshop file and integrate them using the theme’s options and through custom CSS. Even though the mock-up is a great guide to how to build the site, there still may be some areas that seem “off” to you. Feel free to point out what areas could use improvement or further elaborate on how we could better execute the vision.
- Do make sure that the small details are being refined – Are all your pages with their correct content added?
- Do comment on the areas of the website that could be polished a bit more.
- Do express any concerns you have early on rather than later in the process.
When will it look good on your phone?
Everyone should have a mobile friendly website. When we build a site we use themes that have mobile responsive functionality but that doesn’t always mean that it looks perfect throughout the development process. First we try to nail down the design of the desktop site and then we will test the site on other devices. When we are close to finalizing your site feel free to view it on a tablet or your phone and check our work, but before then know that it may need some work.