Web Design Process

Chinkin Design offer a complete web desgin and development service from the initial research to the launch of the website, website maintenance and beyond. This page details those web design services and places them within the end-to-end web design and development process.

It is important that our web design clients are aware of the different steps of the website design and development process that will happen when we build their website, the web design choices they have at each stage of the development and which of our web design services they wish to utilise.

Web Design Planning

The first step of the web design process is to plan out all of the following steps and how and when each step will be completed. For a small, static website this is a simple process but it can require a few meetings and several hours work for larger website projects.

Website Consultation

Before we can begin to design and develop a website we need to understand our client’s business and the website they require. Our clients need to understand what different web design options they have and how much their new website will cost and we need to develop a common understanding of what the finished website will look like and what it will do.

Chinkin Design offer all prospective web design clients a free website consultation in order to achieve this. In this process, we will complete our Web Design Questionnaire, decide what web design work we will undertake (based on the below web design steps) and produce an estimate/agree a budget for the final cost of the website we will build.

Web Design Research

Some of our clients prefer to do all the research for their website themselves. However, Chinkin Design offer a complete website research service including:

  • Keyword Research - where we determine what key words and phrases are most appropriate to the business and website for Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
  • Competitor website research - to find out about the competition helping to identify opportunities for niches in the market and how to make our client’s website stand out.
  • Domain name research - to identify the most appropriate domain names for the website while considering how intuitive, memorable and easy to type it is.

Once chosen, we can register any domain names on behalf of our client for competitive prices. Alternatively, some clients prefer to register their own domain names.

Website Overview

In order to build a website we need to understand our client, their business and their customers in order to determine what kind of website and web design features are most appropriate for them. At this stage we establish:

  • The purpose of the website and what type of website is required - see our Types of Website Design page for more details about the different types of website we build.
  • What different pages the website will have - generally a website has one page for each different point of interest or service that the business offers.
  • What key points, features and functionality will appear on each page of the website.
  • What degree of SEO will be incorporated into the web design process.
  • Who will be responsible for maintaining and updating the website and whether a Content Management System (CMS) is required.

Website Content & Copywriting

Before we can design a website, we need to know what will be on each page in terms of text, images, media and any specific functionality or features. We ask that our client provide us with all the text and a choice of images to be used on each page. Certain types of web page might require a more flexible approach to the content and often we will create pages with sample content which will later be replaced.

For clients who don’t quite know what they want to say on their website or how to say it, Chinkin Design offer a website copywriting service where we compose some or all of the text to be used on the web pages. This text is then be reviewed and edited by the client to create the final website copy.

Depending on our client’s requirements we would perform a degree of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) on the text and compose well optimised page titles and descriptions. See our Web Design SEO page for more details.

Website Layout Design

This is the web-graphic design process where we determine the overall style and look-and-feel of the website and create designs of what the web pages will look like in Photoshop. Our web design service is bespoke and each website we design is unique.

Website Style

Depending on our client’s needs, budget and tastes, we come up with a style for the website. It is important that a new website maintains a consistent company image so we tend to use the same logo, fonts, colour schemes and branding on the website that the business uses for its signage and printed media.

Chinkin Design offer a complete company image, identity and branding design service including logo design, signage, letterheads, business cards, posters, leaflets, flyers - see our Graphic Design page for more details.

Website Imagery

As well as a strong logo and consistent style, images play an important role in the design of a website. Websites can be designed with as few or as many images as our client wishes. However, in our opinion the best website designs have strong images in both the background and the foreground of the web pages. We ask that our clients provide us with as many high quality images as they are able. Chinkin Design also offer a Web Photography service to ensure we have the best images to work with on the websites we design.

Website Template & Content Design

After choosing colours, fonts and imagery for the website we design the layout template for all the pages including the header, navigation, main content area and footer. A website can be designed to be clear, simple and professional with very little design time, or more time can be spent to create a more involved and stylish design.

Once the overall look and feel of the website have been designed and the layout of the fundamental web page features has been set, we then create a consistent structure for how all content will be displayed throughout the website including any bounding boxes, headings, text, links, images and other media.

Website Navigation Design

The global navigation of the website will be designed based upon the number of pages and their hierarchy and can vary a great deal in terms of style and complexity. Flash and jQuery can be used to create stylish, animated navigation, clean, logical drop-down lists might be the preferred choice; or a small site may have a simple horizontal or vertical list. We provide our clients with a range of website navigation options to choose from depending on their budget and tastes.

Website Home Page Design

We then combine all these design elements with the finalised home page content to create a mock-up image of how the home page will look which will demonstrate how the whole website will be formatted and laid out. At this stage the client may wish for certain parts of the design to be revised. Our favourite clients are those who are able to be very specific about the details of the design that they want to see and exactly what changes should be made. We like our clients to be actively involved in the design process and have as much positive input as they wish.

Unique/Special Web Page Design

Not all web pages will exactly fit into the same design template and often a client will want certain different pages to have their own, unique design e.g. with different themes or backgrounds depending on the theme of the content etc. A larger website may require several different templates for the different kinds of web page used on the site. In this case, any unique or special web pages are individually designed at this stage.

Website Development

Once the web-graphic design has been completed we can begin to develop the website. Depending upon the size and nature of the website this process varies immensely but will include some or all of the following:

Front End Web Development

At this stage we turn the mock-up web page designs and content into semantic HTML and CSS using a process called Progressive Enhancement. This first ensures that the website works in really old or basic browsers and then unobtrusively adds styles, images and jazzy bits so that the website looks awesome in modern browsers. Images are cropped, sliced and optimised for the web and each page of the site is built in the final way that will be displayed in a web browser.

Cutting Edge Web Design

Any animated or moving content is added and enhanced with javascript, jQuery and/or Flash where appropriate. A wide range of client-side functions and effects can be achieved and this is how a basic website can be enhanced with stylish features and cutting edge web design techniques.

Server Side Website Programming

Most websites we design have at least a small amount of server side scripting to handle tasks such as sending emails from a contact form. Generally the larger and more complex the website the more back-end programming will be required. Server side programming allows a website to perform a potentially vast array of tasks depending on its nature and purpose. We are happy to advise our clients what options are available and appropriate depending on their requirements and budget.

For larger, dynamic database driven websites we would design and setup a database and all database tables required for the website.

Website Content Management System

For a CMS website we would setup a secure interface for adding and updating website content. The design of this varies from basic forms for adding new news items or gallery images to complete WYSIWYG editing capability depending on the specific requirements of the client.

Websites are not built with a content management system by default and the client will not be able to update their own website without specifically adding a CMS or having some coding knowledge. Adding a CMS to a website can be lot of additional work on top of creating the main part of the site and it is often not economical for websites with a low budget or where frequent updates are not necessary.

Mobile and Accessible Website Versions

We design all our websites to function on mobile devices such as the iPhone and to be accessible to all visitors including those with visual difficulties or using text reading software. However, sometimes a client will want a specific different version of the site to be available to different users where the same content is delivered with a different style. This can be in the form of simple display options which offer larger text or higher contrast or maybe a layout which is specifically tailored for mobile phones and tablets.

Website Testing and Launch

Once the website has been developed we test the design and functionality of every web page in an array of different browsers including Firefox, Opera, Safari, Chrome Internet explorer 6, 7, 8 and 9 and Android browser to ensure that everything works as intended. We recognise that sometimes website users have no choice about what browser they use or whether javascript is enabled so we design our websites to be as accessible as possible to all users. Sometimes users with older browsers will have a reduced visual experience or reduced functionality but all information will be available.

Website Hosting and Live Testing

After testing the website locally we are ready to upload it to a live environment and for this we need a website hosting solution. Chinkin Design are pleased to offer high quality, low cost website hosting to all our web design clients – see our Website Hosting page for details. We are also happy to publish a website to any suitable hosting package.

We initially setup the website as a live test to ensure everything works on the live web server. We setup any associated database and email addresses and ensure that the client is completely happy with the finished website.

Website Launch

Once all live testing is complete and the client is happy we are ready to launch the website, make it available to the public and submit it to Google. We work with our client to launch their website to an agreed schedule and we can setup a timed launch with a countdown timer if required. We love website launch parties and are happy to support and attend a website launch event.

Post Launch

Getting the website live is only part of the story. The next job is to get people visiting the website and there are a number of ways to do this. For many websites, search engine traffic is the most important way of getting visitors and Chinkin Design’s SEO service can certainly help here. However, an important part of boosting SEO and website traffic is generating links to the website from other websites and through social media.

Social Networking Websites

Many small websites depend on a social media presence for most of their website traffic – especially where their SEO budget is limited or there is heavy competition for their keywords.

Many of our clients are very comfortable engaging with their businesses customers via social networking, but for those who need a helping hand Chinkin Design offer a social media setup service. We create a facebook page for our client’s business and add appropriate pictures and information including details of their website and then hand the reins over to the client for them to connect with their audience. We can do the same for twitter and setup a blog on any of the popular platforms like tumblr and wordpress.

Ongoing Website Maintenance

A website is never finished as it needs to be regularly updated with up-to-date information and new/interesting content. Regular updates are great for SEO and keep visitors interested in returning to a website.

If a website has been built with a CMS then the client needs to know how to use it. It is, therefore, important to factor in some time for us to train our client on using the CMS for their website and how to get the most out of it.

For websites without a CMS, Chinkin Design are happy to offer our Website Maintenance service. There are no ongoing fees for this service, our clients simply provide us with details of what changes and updates they require and we let them know how long it will take us. They only pay for our time to make the updates so for simply changing the text of a webpage or two the cost is minimal.