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Website Design Life Cycle

Ranjeet Singh | June 21, 2013 | Uncategorized | no responses

Website design cycle is similar to the software development cycle however it has different phases. The principle of the website design cycle is to provide designers and with a clear path and process when approaching a website design project.It helps designers adhere to certain frameworks, standards and proper procedures ensuring a high quality of work is always maintained. This article is going to explain each phase of a standard website design. All the phases can be customised by the project manager to suit to the scope of the project.

I am going to explain each phase of the website design life cycle based on the waterfall model which is most common in any system development process. We will also make the model relevant to the website design industry. Although we would not recommend using this cycle as a strict guide, however it is pretty much standard for the most website design projects.

Web design life cycle

1. Information and Requirements Analysis

This is the very first yet the most important phase of the website design life cycle. In this phase, the web team has to do proper analysis of the website specifications. The main aim of this analysis is to ensure that the website look and feel is relevant to the target audience who are going to use the website.
Performing the complete analysis of any website project can be time consuming. To gather the full information about the project could include meetings with the customer, email and document sharing, notes, online conversations, website models etc. Results should include a proper work plan, pricing involved, assigned team members, third party software requirements, supporting functional documents and approval on all of them.

2. Specifications

The basic structure, website navigation and all dynamic parts of the website should be outlined in the final specification document. The data collated in the final analysis report should be the introduction of the specifications. The final specification document should include the complete requirements, specifications for each team member and the customer.

3. Design and Development

From the final specifications, an approximate time frame can be calculated and should be discussed with the client. Once both parties are satisfied with these, a contract can be signed off. All the initial prototypes and frameworks should be submitted to the customer for approval before proceeding to the next phase of the cycle. At this stage content writing and website navigation should also be finalized by the customer and all the website templates, images and banners should be in store.

4. Content Writing

Website content copy, provided by the customer should be formatted by the web team according to the search engine standards and approved gain by the customer before moving to the next phase of the cycle.

5. Website Coding and Testing

Dynamic work commences. The developer starts work on all the dynamic website features like forms, programming, J query or Ajax slideshows and it is their responsibility to maintain the look and feel of the website as provided by the designers. All database driven functions and coding documentation is a part of this phase as well. Web site testing is a crucial part of this cycle as all programming issues should be fixed by this stage. Documentation outlining this testing should be prepared to be provided with the final deliverable.

6. SEO and other Promotions

As soon as the website is live, search engine optimisation process begins. Web site indexing to all major search engines, creation of sitemap.xml, robots.txt, keyword analysis, micro blogging, content sharing and Website Blogging should be part of this phase. This should be ongoing as google process takes longer to do the full analysis. Social media integration like Facebook, Twitter etc. should be part of promotions.

7. Maintenance and Upgrades

Maintenance and upgrades of the website are the last phase of the website design life cycle. Web site content should be upgraded from time to time. You must always keep an eye on the competitor websites so that you can update your own website accordingly. By using google analytics and webmaster tools, the customer should be able to check the health of the website and number visitors.Your web company should be called if they maintain you website as part of your contract. Those who look after their own websites can do most of website changes using supporting documents.

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