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Web Design | April 14, 2018

Website planning and design process – an overview.

by James Williamson

“Very much like building a house it is important to have designs signed off and approved before the build commences. The same concept applies to the website planning and design process.”

kasio99 - website planning and design process
unsplash-logoHal Gatewood

A lot goes into making a website especially during the website planning and design process. Before beginning to build or code a website it’s important to think about what objectives you want to achieve from your website. For instance do you want potential customers to view your products online and generate leads or do you want to provide an easy way for existing customers to self service online through an online store or appointment booking system? Read on for a high level view of what is involved with planning and designing a website.

How will you structure your website’s information architecture (IA)?

It’s important to think about how you would like to structure the pages and navigation of your website. When doing this put yourself in the customer’s shoes and structure it in a way that it is useful to customers at different stages of their decision making process. For instance a potential customer visiting your website for the first time may like to learn about your product or service through carefully structured product pages. A returning potential customer may be looking for a fast easy way to contact your business through getting your phone number from the homepage or through a secure contact form on your contact page.

Planning your websites information architecture
unsplash-logorawpixel.com

Putting the customer first is very important though you also want to structure your website in a way that makes it easy for search engines to crawl and easily determine what your website is about. This is a very important consideration for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).

Writing content for your website.

Before writing the content for your website it is a good idea to do some keyword research. This will give you a good idea of what users would typically search for when trying to find your product or service online. It is also a good idea to ask colleagues, friends and family what they would search for if they had to look for your website. You should write your content with these keywords in mind though don’t let it dictate your content. Write content that is easy to understand and sounds genuine when reading back to yourself. Trying to stuff too many keywords into your content can damage your ranking.

Lady in a cafe using her laptop
unsplash-logoBrooke Cagle
Unless reading something that is of particular interest or is part of a high involvement purchase decision you will find that most users will skim the content on your website. It is important to make sure that content is brief and to the point, using bullet points where possible is a good idea. A consistent tone of voice that appeals to your average user is also a great idea.

Creating mock-ups as part of the website planning and design process.

Very much like building a house it is important to have designs signed off and approved before the build commences. The same concept applies to website designs. Website mock-ups and visual designs are a great way to get a feel for your website’s layout and easily make changes through feedback iterations. This process needs to take place prior to the commencement of the website build. Changes to your website template are much more difficult to make when building the website rather than changing elements around in your design program of choice.

A rough mock-up using pen and paper
A high definition visual design

When designing your website think about your brand and your product or service. If done well your websites designs will play a big part in complementing your brand and assisting customers to make the choice whether to conduct business with you or not. A great tip is to have a look at other websites and make note of things that you like and modify these ideas to fit into your website design.

In summary

As you can see there is plenty of work that goes into the website planning and design process. The hard work that goes into this stage is the foundation of a great website that delivers value to your potential customers. If you would like to kick off the planning and design of your website feel free to contact me today.

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