Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Essential Stages Of Planning

I haven't blogged for a few days because I am at college Monday-Wednesday and have been especially tired. Had some bad news yesterday so this is me knuckling down and studying. I wanted to include the stages of planning so I could implement it into my website http://www.cr8v-design.com/ and show future clients how I work and what care I take when designing for them. This is also similarto what we are taught in class @ college.
 I have also been working on my video which I plan to upload over the next couple of days, working with the audio has been a nightmare, I would recommend using an external microphone to would be film enthusiasts!

Planning is the most important stage in deciding how any media project will be built. It involves a lot of interaction with the Client using a fine tooth comb to go over every piece of information.

Requirement Specification

Will include the clients goals, who their target audience it, and any other detail that may be necessary to the website. Include as much relevant information as the client puts in.

Project definition

This document sums up the information gathered at a previous stage so both designer and client agrees on what every piece of information should be included. This document is not meant to be technical as this is meant for general understand between the two of you.

Wireframe


Or sitemap, this document guides the target user to easily interact with the interface and includes how the website will be laid out.

Contracts

Include payment terms, what the project includes, and deadlines. It is important that the client agrees to this and there is no technical jargon.

Server/URL

If the client doesn’t have an existing server or URL, it is essential that this is the next step that be looked through. If the client purchases these things they must provide passwords for the server as soon as possible. The designer should then look at the specification of the server and determine what can be put into the project to fit in with this.

Determine Resources Required

This could be photographs, JavaScript, contact form (php), database (sql), fonts. At this stage determine whether someone else needs to come in and help with the project, for example a graphic designer if the client doesn’t have a logo. These need to be added to the projects budget.

The Design

This stage moves all the information from the planning stage into reality. This is a visual representation of the outline of the project. When this stage is complete the website should look more or less as it will look when completed.
  • Layout – determine the layout as discussed with client, this can be done with a pencil and paper frame. Some designers prefer to use a drawing program at this stage.
  • Mock-up – design mock ups in Photoshop, can be useful later when you slice and code later.
Review and Approve

Review, tweak and approve each stage with the client and take on
board their feelings of the design. This is the best time to make changes before the project is set in stone.

Code

Use a program such as Notepad++ or Dreamweaver to code the website so it’s set out as per the basic design approved by the client. Any interactive media elements are added later as this stage is still visual.

Development

This means most of the programming, and images. Keep code well-structured and continually refer to the clients planning documents.

Templates

Code a template for each page so if for example the year changes this can be easily changed in the template and applied to every page.

Add Special Features

Forms, validation and any other element integral to the design.

Content

Add all the content to the pages – take extreme care that this is laid out well as this is often the major downfall websites make.

Testing

Test links, contact form and have members of your target audience navigate through the website. Some designers like to create a survey to have people fill in so they can gain feedback to give to the client which enables more changes.

The Launch

The public gains access to the website. Polish and final changes, test all interactive stages again. You may have had the website running on your own website but then find that it doesn’t on another.

Check your website on various spell checkers, broken links, website health checks, W3C Validation, website seo sites. Better to do this now than hear from a user that something’s gone awry.

Cross Browser Check

Test the website across at least 6 browsers, safari, chrome, i.e., opera, I-phone, android, Adobe Browserlab.

Post-Launch

Leave communication open between you and your client and keep the client informed. At this stage discuss maintenance charges whether it be every month or every quarter.

Final Hand Over

Make sure the client is happy with the project. Refer to the initial document and go over each item to ensure the brief has been ticked off.
Give the client access to all documents, give them soft copies of the framework should they work with someone else in the future.

Finally close the project. Maintain a relationship with the client, provide them with Google Analytics and their search engine queries for any changes they may wish to make.
Every website is different, every project is different, but this is a plan of action for when you get lost in the stages.


Brigid Visser
 
Professional, creative, media design from CR8:V-Design.
Facebook Twitter Blogger YouTube
Contact me: Skype brigid.visser