Web Development Process
Web Development Process is a set of steps needed in delivering the ideal website that meets the client’s requirements. Though there are many website choices available, such steps should still be taken so as to make the website process seamless. These steps also facilitate trouble shooting when glitches arise on the web site. In any case, these steps, or processes, help us establish a foundation that acts as a blue print or template for laying out the work required in structuring and setting up any website (Farris, 2014). With that in mind, we are going to delve into these series of processes and how they relate to the bigger picture.
Step 1: Project Definition
This is the initial step for developing a website. In this step, the functionality of the website and objectives to be achieved by setting it up are considered. Key elements of the website are considered while also taking into consideration the audience for the website, as well as the existing competitors. The products and services that are going to be marketed, so to speak, are also considered.
A visual presentation of the structures and naming conventions used on the site should also be set up. Some prompts that can be used in this step are:
- What are the key messages that attract and motivate our audiences to engage with us?
- What is our key brand message that should help differentiate us from our peers?
- What components of the site should have the greatest impact?
In addition, a brief, yet effective survey can be conducted to garner input from the expected audiences. The main idea here is to figure out pertinent information that will align the web development process to the goals of the company. For instance, when building an eMarketing website, the billing elements in the code of the site should be considered.
Step 2: Project Scope – Web Development Process
This step outlines the specifics of the website, including relevant interactivity that should be included. In essence, website content should be determined, as well as its layout on the web page. The links to pages within the sites should also be considered in this step. For instance, for an eMarketing site, this step would include an outline for the “BUY” page detailing what items can be bought. An interconnected link for entering billing information should also be outlined since it would be a component on this web page.
In conjunction with all those outlines, now a valid time frame can be set up. Hence, having finished the first part of this step, the second part should be to determine how long each component should take to complete.
Step 3: Site Architecture – Web Development Process
When it comes to architecture in constructing sky scrapers or cottages, we think of the components of the building. For instance, steel can be used for frames, wood for ceilings, and brick for walls. There is more to it than that, but the main idea is that we consider a similar model for web site development. It might require details that can be quite comprehensive depending on the purpose of the website. In essence, more comprehensive the objective, the more intricate the architecture. Mainly because the business goals should be in conjunction with the site objectives (Koh, 2016). There are numerous details pertaining to factors to be considered, but we will briefly mention the ones that serve a general purpose. These include:
- Organization and labeling of content in an effective way, enhancing usability. For instance, a number of pages and the hierarchy of the pages, with regards to the content (Rutgers University, 2017).
- Mobile friendly. If the website is to be mobile friendly, this should be specified in this section (Search Engine Land, 2017).
- HTTPS use should be specified since this will determine the type of servers to be used for the website (Search Engine Land, 2017).
The site architecture is one comprehensive way of determining how fast you want the website to operate, or even how secure you want the website to be. Being that these factors affect the results of search engines, site architecture can be the contribute significantly to the competitive nature, or lack thereof, of any business or any website (Search Engine Land, 2017). Hence, the more comprehensive it details and addresses issues pertaining to the website, the easier it will be to arrive at the desired objectives of the web development process.
Step 4: Wire Framing – Web Development Process
Having determined the site architecture to work with, we can now set up a Wire Frame. The wireframe is a basic drawing detailing the places and sections of information on a web page. The wireframe will help provide a detailed layout of the content appearing on each page (Rutgers University, 2017). Also, it helps in the definition of the hierarchy of the content on the page. Wire framing can be drawn in conjunction with setting up the website architecture, so step 3 and 4 can be done in a single phase. Mainly because wire framing is like drawing the blue prints that define a building’s architecture in construction. This can be one of the most exciting phases since it incorporates a lot of creative elements, as opposed to knowing how. Regardless, the objectives should still be considered in this phase. Thus, the creativity should be directed towards that end.
Step 5: Visual Design – Web Development Process
With the blueprint having been established, we can now delve deeper into the creation process. If step 3 and 4 was sketching, to use painting parlance, this step would be basic coloring. This step is focused on the visual style to be used. The overall visual style will most likely be determined by the people in the organization and the web designers. A more intricate design can be detailed to suit branding,
or even send subliminal messages to audiences.
Furthermore, the organization’s brand plays an important role in this part of the process, as designers will want to visually convey key brand perceptual ideas within the design. Examples of perceptual ideas to be considered, as they pertain to brands are:
- Color palette: Essential for differentiating items, creating depth, emphasizing and organizing information.
- Texture: This affects perception, and can be used to attract or deter attention.
- Typography: This refers to the fonts chosen, their size, alignment, color, and spacing.
- Form: This applies to three-dimensional objects and describes their volume and mass (Usability, 2017).
With these essential component phases having been determined and structured, we now have a rubric of what to work with in the 6th Step of Site Development.
Step 6: Site Development – Web Development Process
In a big company, it might require that the executives agree to the details ascertained in the Steps 1 through 5. If that happens to be the case, there might be another step required before we move to implementing Steps 1-5. That step normally verifies whether the objectives of the company are going to be met by developing the web site as outlined in the first 5 steps.
On the other hand, once executives approve, then work on the core of the website can initiate. This is the actual development, where HTML, CSS and Java Script, PHP may be used to develop the web pages. Competency in the skills outlined is essential so as not to waste time figuring out how to set up content to the site.Usually, existing frameworks and Content Management Systems are utilized such as WordPress.
In addition, anything that might be new is also incorporated into the website, and old ideas can also be refined if they seem somewhat obsolete. Videos, slideshows, podcasts and another media that will appear on the site are also gathered and all laid out using CSS. Interactive content like games, chat rooms, chat bots and widgets can also be set up in this phase. Other applications can also be fine-tuned to work with the website in this phase. Considering the title of this step, we can see why the bulk of the job is to be carried out here. All steps in the web development process normally lead to this step.
The developers work on the web site, detailing it to the specifications set forth by the organization. The majority of this step is the execution of what has been specified from Steps 1 through 5. Once this part has been accomplished, the Web site can be tested, thus, we move to the next step.
Step 7: Site Testing – Web Development Process
After the site is developed, there should be testing to see whether its elements are up to par with regards to the intended mark ups (including hyperlinks), layouts, functionalities, and interactivities. This is to ascertain that the required functions of the website are working fine, and are without errors. It is usually done by placing the content on a production server, where only the internal audiences or organizations can view it. Testing is very critical as it sets up an opportunity to address any final issues that might arise before the site goes live.
This step can be divided into several other subtopics, depending on which web site functionality is being tested. For instance, when it comes to attracting people to click on certain links on the website, the site can be optimized in this direction. Concentrating the testing on seeing what attracts the user’s attention then applying that to the links that should be eye catching. Also, looking into whether each link directs to the intended website or location should be verified during this phase. In addition, the functionality of a site is paramount to the objectives of the company. Hence, by testing, any misspellings or broken links that might affect a service are corrected and rectified. Once this is accomplished, a final review can be done. In this portion, multiple mainstream browsers and devices are considered to see whether any of them can display the website without glitches. Any glitches should then be resolved so as to cater to the majority, if not all, of the intended audiences.
Step 8: Launch – Web Development Process
Once a website is tested without errors, reviewed and approved by the project stakeholders, it should be ready to launch. The main aim is to have a lot of web traffic to your site after launching the site. The best way to do this is by sharing the web site using social media. Twitter and Facebook can be great platforms to advertise the website or publicize it. The more ways that the website can be shared online, the better
When the launch is done, it does not mean that the project is over. More factors come about after launching the site, and those factors should be considered. Some of them include user feedback from users adapting to the new site or even company growth requiring more functionality be integrated into the website. A great way to do this is to use a case study. Most case studies can be conducted so as to focus on one particular part of the website.In the short term though, what one can expect is to make immediate changes regarding broken links, or making security adjustments due to advancing technology.
Step 9: Site Maintenance – Web Development Process
Websites are somewhat like living, breathing entities and need constant care and maintenance. Updating content, making changes to
the backend and fixing broken links are all in a day’s work. These phases are critical to the Web development process. But the thread
that runs through the process is the strategy: the desire to achieve a goal, to move the organization forward, to prosper in a competitive
environment. This is something that can be adjusted depending on the business, the way it is growing and feedback from consumers. Other
factors include advances in technology, or even standards set forth for HTML. Regardless, this is the final step in general for web
development. So if it happens, that you have a great idea of all the steps leading to this one, then you are all set to develop a website.
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