WHAT ARE THE STAGES OF WEB DESIGN?
Tan Ee Shuen Michelle | 23 June 2021
Does aesthetics come to your mind first when you think of web design? That is just a gist of what web design really is. Contrary to popular belief, web design is much more than just aesthetics.
The best websites offer not just slick visuals, but also help users understand the product or service, company and branding. This is done through ensuring every element of a website is well thought out and is aligned with the company’s strategy.
Having a well-designed website is important for your business, from e-commerce to physical services.
So, how can you go about doing this? For us, following these 5 stages of web design in order will help customers get the best experience on a website.
Here’s a quick outline of the stages of web design:
- Planning: Identifying goals, target audience and scope
- Creating Sitemap & Wireframe: Provide foundation for a website, giving a clear idea of website’s information architecture
- Content Creation: Drives engagement and boosts SEO
- Incorporating Visual Elements: Creating the visual style
- Testing & Launch: Final checks and continuous updating based on analytics after launch
Now that you have an idea of what the stages are, let’s dive deeper into them.
Goals & Target Audience
Firstly, define your or your client’s goals and target audience.
Some questions you should consider include:
- Who is this website for?
- What should they expect or do there?
- What is the website’s primary purpose? Is it for e-commerce?
- What are the competitor websites and how should this website differentiate from or be inspired by them?
It is important to get this stage done right. The answers to these questions decide the direction the website will be moving towards. You have to understand your website’s target audience and competitors.
Sometimes, you or your client may start with one goal, but end up expanding or changing them during the process. If liaising with a client, this is when a contract should come in.
It is necessary to match increased expectations with increased budget and timeline.
2. CREATING THE SITEMAP & WIREFRAME
A sitemap gives web designers a clear idea of the website’s architecture and shows the relationships between the different pages and elements. Below is an example of a simple sitemap, made using GlooMaps.
Get some inspiration of what you want your website design to look like, and sketch a wireframe. A wireframe is a skeleton of the eventual user interface, and is useful for testing design ideas.
Unlike how a sitemap gives you an overview of the pages and subpages, a wireframe is a visual guide of the pages, much like a blueprint. Like the below example, you can use a wireframe to arrange the elements on individual pages.
You can explore online tools such as Mockplus, GlooMaps and Balsamiq, or use your traditional pen and paper to create your sitemap and wireframe.
3. CONTENT CREATION
Next, content is necessary to fill up your website’s pages.
Content serves two key functions, driving engagement and SEO. Driving readers’ engagement is important to attract them to take the relevant actions towards your business’ goals.
Let’s use an example of a clothing e-commerce website. Publishing a blog post about fashion tips to keep up with the trends could attract readers to purchase the clothes mentioned in the post.
SEO, short for Search Engine Optimisation, helps boost your website’s visibility on search engines like Google. Generating high quality content is important for SEO. Using the right keywords and choosing the right topics are some things you have to focus on.
Some of these tools can help you or your client with content creation and maximising your content’s effectiveness. For example, Answer the Public can be used to identify the most popular searches that include the keywords you input. This in turn helps you choose relevant topics to write about.
4. INCORPORATING VISUAL ELEMENTS
Finally, it’s time for the most interesting part of designing a website, the visual style. Use the brand colours and feel for the elements. There will be logos, images and other branding elements to add.
Images are becoming more significant in web design. They help to communicate messages and make websites look more professional. Make sure to compress your images so that your website’s responsiveness will not be affected.
Some tools that are commonly used for visual elements are Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator as well as Canva. We also recommend making mood boards for easy reference.
5. TESTING & LAUNCH
After the content and visual styling, the long-awaited stages of testing and launching are up next.
Before launch, here are the things you have to do:
- Fixing bugs: Check that all interactive elements, such as links and contact forms, are working properly. Revise if necessary and test them again until they work properly.
- Check your content and elements: Verify if all the written and visual elements are transferred correctly, onto the right pages.
- Check your SEO settings: Make sure that everything has been done to boost SEO. This includes meta tags and descriptions.
- Check mobile responsiveness: Most people browse the Internet using mobile devices these days. A website that doesn’t load well on mobile devices is unlikely to perform well in the long run.
Last but not least, after everything has been tested, it’s time to launch the website.
However, after launching, this is not the end. The beauty of web design is that it’s never finished. Your website will still require constant maintenance and testing. This is because you’ll have to add new content and features, and monitor analytics.
Analytics is extremely important in gaining insights about your audience and their behaviour. This in turn allows you to make improvements based on these insights.
To sum up, web design comprises 5 steps – planning, creating a sitemap and wireframe, content creation, adding visual elements and testing and launching. By following this suggested stages of web design, you will be able to reel in your desired traffic for your business.