After years of practice I have honed my process to one which seems to work well. This is because it ensures clear communications with the client and reduces the risk of going down the wrong roads by involving them in the process.
This process does vary from project to project but this is certainly a good starting point.
How I used to do it:
- Meet client and gather requirements.
- Research, design then build the prototype of the project and show it to them, praying they would be happy with it.
- If lucky, the client would be happy and we live happily ever after.
- Sometimes there would be a long period of alterations which could take the project far beyond the quoted time.
How I do it now:
- Initial contact with client via phonecall or email.
- Meeting in person with the client. Ask many questions about what they do, how they think and what they want out of this project. Establish business aims, keywords, target audiences and get a feel for the project. Explain the project cycle process. Establish a good understanding of the client and their requirements. And their personality!
- Write up a business agreement, which contains a brief and key outcomes of the project. Client must sign the agreement and return to start the project.
- Begin researching: competitor’s styles, target audience interests and motives, brainstorming… Present this research to client.
- Create a moodboard containing possible colours, photos / illustration styles, typography and written language… check if client is happy with this direction.
- Once moodboard is agreed with client, start creating wireframes of as many key areas of the site as possible… show client these for approval.
- Mockups of some key pages before actually building the site’s core structure and CSS.
- Testing phase…
- Ammendments, content details added such as photos and text…
- Test again… and launch live project.
- Follow up with client at various stages after launch to check progress and make changes as necessary.