Designing a Website with Flashpoint

Our Process

The custom website design process is as unique as fingerprints are to individuals and it’s not a one size fits all. The overall design and project process as well as project timeline from start to finish varies quite a bit for clients. However, to provide broad insight into how FlashPoint manages the process, and helps to facilitate we have outlined a general guide below:

Pre-Planning I – Functionality Scope

One of the most critical steps in a developing a new website is determining what your firm’s expectation and needs are pertaining to functionality of your new website. Without obtaining this crucial information we cannot move on to additional pre-planning steps. FlashPoint will engage in detailed discussions with your firm that pertain to the functionality of your current site and what the desired functionality needs to be for the new site. Often, we find that this step is seriously underestimated and that can create issues further into the project. When we proactively address functionality requirements up front it sets the stage for a smoother process moving forward.

Pre-Planning II – Site Map

In tandem with the above functionality phase will be discussions with your firm that pertain to the structure of your current site and how the structure needs to change for the new site. This is the creation of a new site map and FlashPoint requires a client-approved site map to begin the design phase. Think of it this way… your site map is the skeleton of how your new site will be fleshed out. Without it we cannot create navigation and menu systems among other elements.

Pre-Planning III – Questionnaire

Prior to the design process and after the above pre-planning steps FlashPoint will need to get to know your firm and its design expectations a bit better. To facilitate this, a questionnaire is sent for you to fill out to help us gain a better understanding of the look and feel you are seeking for your firm’s new website. Part of the questionnaire includes identifying websites that you like and don’t like and why. Upon completion of the questionnaire, be prepared for a pre-planning call to discuss your answers with us. These are a few measures that will help immensely during the initial design phase.

Design Phase

Based on the information provided during the pre-planning phase, FlashPoint will present two different homepage layouts to respond to. After presentation, the will choose their preferred visual direction and FlashPoint will continue building the new site to that look and feel. Our process requires that the homepage and mobile (think iPhone) layouts be approved prior to designing any interior pages and templates of your new site. Upon approval of the homepage (desktop and mobile), we will proceed with the additional pages that are required based on your contract with us. Once the last page is client-approved we can move into the coding portion of the new website design.

Coding

Once FlashPoint has received client-approval on all pages required for the design, we hand off files to our coding department. Once in coding the project will go dormant for roughly six weeks while the coder develops the site design and required functionality. This encompasses the fundamental building of the website including: creating the navigation system and all page templates, developing contact forms and other such items such as elements required in sidebars. Coding is usually done on the client’s host platform using a password-protected link that is hidden from public view as well as search engines. In the simplest of terms, we are building your brand new, living and breathing website. After roughly six weeks, the design team will enter the development site to begin to making art direction tweaks as well as starting the formatting of client-supplied content. This can take two to three weeks or possibly more depending on the size of the new site.

Final Fine Tuning

Once the content is dropped in and the site is art director approved, we send our clients a link with login credentials so that they may begin reviewing the site for appropriate functionality and content. At this stage of the process we can make minor changes to the content, but changes to the overall design and functionality cannot be made without incurring additional charges. This process can take anywhere from two to three weeks depending on the number of changes and edits identified.

Website Launch

Once all changes are made, we require a final client approval in writing to launch the site live. The final launch process generally takes a day or two depending on several variables. Additionally, our launches are typically on a Friday evening after the firm has closed for the day. This allows both FlashPoint and the client the weekend to do a review of the live site to correct anything that may have gone wrong during launch. An example of a typical fix post launch is a broken link.

Closing Thoughts

While there are many more detailed variables not outlined above we feel that our approach to building websites is relatively comprehensive and promotes a smooth process. To learn more or to speak with us about a new website project, contact us today.

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