The telephone rings and from the moment we pick up the receiver and introduce ourselves, we are working for that person, our new client.
I have worked for many years within the agency ArayoWeb, and I have realised that our clients do not comprehend the lengthy process that we carry out from the first point of call, right up to making a website live. I believe that it would be very interesting for them to understand everything that goes on behind the scenes during this creative process. Reproducing online what I am thinking or what I’ve sketched on paper, is not as simple as just clicking a few keys.
1. The Investigation
As already stated, from the minute the potential client contacts us, our team sets about as if on auto-drive. Each department begins studying the anticipated project each from their own specific skill-set and expertise. This is the first stage, the investigation. We check what information about the company we can find online, study the competition, including what has been posted on social media about them and we start brainstorming ideas about how we can help this prospective client to grow their business online.
2. Client Consultation and The Brief
Before the next step, we will usually organise a consultation with the client to discuss in greater depth the services in which they may be interested. In the meeting we will find out their exact requirements, the motivation for initiating the project, including if possible showing some examples of other websites they like in terms of design and functionality, so we can get a very clear and concise idea of what the client would like. This stage is what we call the brief. We will also respond to any doubts or queries they may have, and make it clear what the plan of action and the project scheduling and timeline will be. The objective is not to leave any stone unturned. Our experience tells us that it is much better to clarify everything at the beginning of the project, so neither the client nor us receive any surprises along the way, which could affect the agreed budget and/or project deadline.
3. Project Viability
The next phase is to gauge the viability of the project. Although it doesn’t happen often, for new business ideas, sometimes we have to advise the client to adjust the core aim of the business slightly to focus on a specific target market and make sure there will be a demand for their product online. Also, perhaps the client’s maximum budget will not cover all their requirements, or not allow them to compete successfully with other businesses of the same sector. Our solution would normally be to adapt the project in such a way that we can successfully meet the client’s expectations while working within their budget and ensuring there is a substantial gap in market for their product or service.
4. Project Technologies, Scope and Budget
Once we have formalised the idea, we will start to analyse the technology we believe to be the most suitable for the project. We consider everything that will be required, we define the scope of the project, for example for an e-commerce website we will determine the CMS (content management system), the number of pages, the payment gateways, the specific modules that will need to be purchased and installed, the extent of personalisation to the front end design and functionality (if using a CMS theme or template) etc. We can then calculate the hours or work and we create the preliminary quotation. After many years of experience we know how to adjust the price according to the complexity of the project and if we believe we will meet any problems during its realisation. Very often incompatibilities occur between components or we have to modify the code of a particular module, so we need to ensure this time is accounted for in the project estimate.
5. The Pitch
The next step is the most crucial, the presentation of the project proposal and estimate to the client: the pitch. We try to make sure that the information is presented in the proposal as clearly as possible, so that the client understands everything encompassed within our service, with itemised pricing. We will always recommend on which marketing services are available to the client, to ensure the success of the project. In certain sectors, such as classified advertising websites for example, online marketing is practically a necessity to ensure the business generates a return, as the competition is usually very high for these types of websites.
All this work before we have even been contracted. Imagine everything else we will need to do if we are finally selected!
6. Client Approval and Concept Creation
After all said and done, they hire us. So what’s the next stage? Now we have to turn everything we’ve agreed into a reality, for which we set up a team meeting to discuss and share ideas, which leads to the creation of the design concept. In this meeting it is also decided who will head up the project and assign individual roles.
7. Content Gathering
While we commence the project organisation, we ask the client to start sending content for the website, including information—both text and images—on the company, products, services and facilities, also known as the content gathering stage. If the company doesn’t already have sufficient material for the website, it is usual to organise a photo-shoot, search and buy stock photography, or write new content. We will help organise everything as well as offer copywriting services for new content creation.
8. Template Design and UX
For most projects, ideally we first will create design mocks using graphic design software such as Photoshop to show the client, which gives us a good idea about what styling or ‘look and feel’ the client requires, and if we have managed to correctly capture the design brief. After obtaining the client’s feedback, we will make any necessary amends, establish the sitemap of the website and its structure. We will also determine exactly how the website will function. This is the moment when we consider all elements that will contribute towards and affect the user experience (UX), as that is whom will finally use the website. When all is clear we start the website build.
9. The Build
10. Proofing, Revision and Go Live!
Next comes the proofing and revision stage. The website will pass through a series of tests, including checking the compatibility of the design, structure and functionality on different browsers and devices. We also check links, proofread text, translations, test online forms etc. Once we have resolved all the issues that were found during the revision stage, we then present the website to the client, who will usually then send back various amends to the content and some tweaks to the design. Following this second revision is the website launch!!
11. Online Marketing
If the client requires it, we will also carry out online marketing for the website. This usually begins slightly before the website launch and can continue some time after depending on the client’s requirements and budget. Online marketing can include everything from search engine optimisation (SEO), social media management, online advertising such as Google Adwords pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, email marketing, landing page creation and much more.
Our recommendation is always to accompany the project launch with the implementation of an online marketing campaign to ensure the website is successful, and can compete with other businesses in the sector.
We hope that this posts clears any doubts you may have on how ArayoWeb carry out the website design and creation process.