Although a lot of written content have been dedicated to project management and workflow on such fields as software development, the opposite can be said about web design.
Considering each design project is distinctively unique and can be a prelude to a more comprehensive web program, all share a common trait in that there are fundamental steps that will apply to every project, as far as the web design project workflow is concerned.
Ask the Client About Their Design Needs
Before venturing forth to start a project, it is necessary that all the important data is in place.
Typically this is done by consulting with the client and discussing the objectives and milestones that need to be reached by the design project.
This is the first step, and by accomplishing it the web designer will have an easier time devising the layout that will cater to the requirements of the client.
The designer can also come up with a list of generic questions for clients, and can be modified slightly depending on the particulars of the current customer.
By using this technique, information about the target audience, website look and feel, and its intended impact on site visitors are easily gathered for reference.
Building The Model And Website Wireframe
Having established what is needed for the design to match the website needs, a simplified model can be produced to typify the basic appearance of the intended design.
This prototype can then be submitted to the customer for sampling, to see if the designer got all the instructions correctly and on par with specifications.
The prototype can be crudely done by paper and pencil, since all it needs to do is communicate the idea that the artist knows what the client wants, but this doesn’t mean that a computerized model would not work as well.
As long as the general aspects of the design like structure and user interface items are covered, the prototype would have achieved its goal.
Once the project gets past the prototype stage, it is time to build a visual mockup of the website using a graphics application.
Usually, several mockups are initially designed for the client’s scrutiny.
The designer will then work on applying refinements to whichever amongst the alternative mockups is selected and approved by the client.
By now the project will move on to the creative phase, where coloration, styling and imaging aspects are applied.
Although at this point the critical areas are already agreed upon and should not need drastic alterations, client feedback on minor design items should still be welcome and easy enough to implement.
Coding The Website
Completing the previous phase will bring the project into its final stage, which is building the actual website based on the finalized design.
This process is done by converting the image set in the final design into content that can be rendered through a browser program, with all the working user interface elements in place.
Web programming languages such as XHTML and CSS, Flash or CMS can be employed.
The project is deemed near completion by now and deviations from the general design should be avoided.
This will ensure that the project will be finished on schedule.
To further reduce the possibility that the need for a major design revamp will crop up, the careful designer should make check if the client is fully satisfied with the final design before moving on to the programming stage.
However, it should be noted also that certain limitations with regard to the browsers themselves may affect the final output, and there are instances when a different approach to programming the website is needed to maintain the integrity of the design.
This workflow outline on how to go about doing a web design project will ensure that the intended website is built to spec and completed on time.
It will minimize, if not prevent, the need to redo the design or make corrections to align with client demands.
A good working idea of how the project is supposed to progress would ensure a superb product, one that will serve its purpose well and impress web visitors.
Most importantly, careful execution of the workflow will result in a satisfied customer from design inception to website launch.