My Approach

Do you have a website design project in mind?

Do you want to know what you can expect?

Below is an outline of my standard website website design and development process.

The NC Web Diva Design Process

Initial, No-cost Consultation

In the beginning I will talk with all the business principals in order to find out: who you are, what market you serve, how you help potential customers in that market, how you’re different than other competitors, what your goals are for your website.

Discovery & Customer Research

Discovery is a 1-2 day process where I review your existing website for information based on your goals and needs. And audit your website software for hidden issues. This is also where I dig deep to uncover your customers’ insights (their wants & needs) that can help guide the design and development of your website.

User Design/Information Architecture

In this phase I analyze the insights uncovered during the discovery process to create a design plan that includes a list of requirements, a wireframe (a sketched layout) and a listing of the website’s core content pages. This is done internally.

Project Proposal

This is where I take all the facts, data and insights I have gathered during the above 3 stages and use them create a written proposal that outlines my findings, recommendations, and overall pricing for your specific project. If you agree to the project terms, then we can move forward to the other phases.

Front End Design (Test-Site)

The User Design stage determines how design elements from the wireframe sketch should be incorporated into your website.

This phase uses a “live” online test website as a mockup with draft content and copy. The Front End Design determines what your website should look like (fonts, color scheme, graphics/images, page layouts), how its site navigation should be laid out, and how it should function in real-time.

This is where the client has an opportunity to check the overall web design and work with me to improve the website copy and other design elements.

This is also the part where clients have problems.

————– slight rant starts here ———————-

First, they become bogged down in worries about their lack of pro quality photos, website font types, personal style concerns (“But that’s not ME!”) and personal color preferences (“I love lilac…why can’t it be the main color on my golfer’s website?”), etc.

This happens because we have been told that DESIGN = PRETTY.

This is not true.  Good design is not just about being “pretty” – it’s about being “purposeful”.

Does the site’s design provide better information than the other guys?

Does your website design help your potential customers?

Can your visitors find what they are looking for?

How pretty a website looks is usually NOT critical to it’s functionality or profitability.

This means, that while visual appearances are important … a good website design has just one purpose: help you get more leads and sales.

And while I can and will fix software glitches, blurry photos, bad graphics and other things that distract from the functionality of a website, remember …

“Anything programmed or published on your website can be modified, edited, reworked or deleted.”

Secondly, this stage is also where clients realize what they write will become public and they might freeze up and begin to feel like they are in 5th grade English class again. They frequently stress over where commas go, and dangling ‘whatever’s” and other grammar or style related issues.

You don’t have to be a Hemmingway or a member of an advertising agency to create clear web copy.

Just write out what you want your readers/potential customers to know AND to do on each page. A simple explanation or a step-by-step list of instructions of your product/service/process would be great!  Send the list to me and I can write it up and upload it!

Remember: DONE is always better than perfect.

————– end of rant ———————-

Back End Development

Back end development is the next to last stage where the designer/developer (me) creates and codes, and customizes your website’s software to make the entire site work the best. It requires a developer (not a designer) versed in WordPress management.

NOTE: most of this work may have already been done in the test-site stage, but certain custom applications such as the creation of online forms, ecommerce/shopping carts or quiz/survey software fit into this phase.

Website Testing and Final Deployment

Before launching any website, it’s important to test all of its functions and ensure that your users will have a great experience. It’s equally important to maintain your website, to ensure continued user satisfaction.

So this where before I move the website from the test-site platform, I will:

  • Proofread each page,
  • Check each page’s content formatting,
  • Check that each page has been optimized for search,
  • Check all the links on each page,
  • Confirm all the images are photos/images are loading correctly,
  • Check the website speed (see how fast it loads when a new visitor arrives),
  • Check how it looks and functions on a mobile device/cell phone,
  • Test it on different web browsers (like Google Chrome, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, etc.)
  • Verify that all online forms on the site are working correctly

Then I will move the site (migrate) it to the web hosting provider that you have arranged for. Then I will submit the website to Google’s search engine for review and indexing.