LEARNING CENTER

How Clikzy Creative Creates a Custom Website Design

Posted by Pete Juratovic on

When it comes to custom website design, many people play an important role behind the scenes. At Clikzy Creative, the designers, project manager, and web developers each have their significant place from the site’s design phase to its launch. Most importantly, the client is also given an active role in this process. Here is a glimpse of how Clikzy Creative creates a custom website.

The process starts with the Project Manager reviewing the web questionnaire that the client has previously filled out. The questionnaire helps identify the site type, whether it is a business profile or ecommerce site. A basic site map is noted down including the homepage, personalized content, about page, and contact page. In the web questionnaire, the client is asked for their top five favorite sites and the top five sites they dislike. This is used as inspiration in the design process to identify elements the client may or may not want on their webpage and pinpoint a general design direction.

The project manager then introduces him or herself to the client. This is just a quick email with an introduction and inquiry for the best time to set up a kick off call with the client. The kick off call is one of the most important elements in the web design process at Clikzy. The questionnaire is gone over once again but this time with the client’s input. The project manager notes down any comments or ideas the client may not have mentioned in the questionnaire. After the call, the project manager identifies the project timeline with the web developer. This is usually the time frame allotted for the design process and to get final client design approvals, plus three to four weeks for the web development phase.

The next step is the wireframe for the website’s homepage. The goal of the wireframe is to serve as a simple blueprint for the webpage design. A header with boxes representing the logo and navigation menu is laid down along with the body and footer of the site. If the client actively uses social media, like Facebook or Twitter, spaces for these social media icons are incorporated. When a homepage wireframe is finished, the design is sent off to the client via email.

After a wireframe is approved, a homepage mock up design is made by one of the Clikzy designers. The questionnaire, kick off call, and client specifications are all used for creating the homepage design. It is the designer’s responsibility to translate all of these elements into a successful homepage, while following any branding guidelines the client has provided. The design process starts off by placing content within the center 1000 pixels width of the homepage. The page is then expanded to 1500 pixels overall to accommodate all screen sizes. The final design is sent to clients for approval with a link from Notable. Notable is a great screen capture application that lets clients become a part of the design process. Clients can leave detailed comments directly on the images of the design mockups. This process of designing web pages, submitting to the client via Notable, and revising can repeat a few times until the client is completely satisfied with the overall site design, and gives their final approval.

Once the homepage design is approved, the project manager creates a detailed site map that outlines the type of content the client has specified needs to appear on each of the internal pages. Using this site map, the project manager outlines which pages on the website will require unique designs, and which pages will follow one of these unique layouts and do not need to be created in the design process – as these pages will be “dynamic” and built out during the development phase. This detailed site map is sent off to one of the designers to create all of the internal page designs in one full sweep. The homepage design serves as a basis for the internal pages. The header and footer must remain consistent, and the overall page designs should work cohesively with the homepage look. Special elements may be incorporated like forms, News pages, integrations with 3rd party softwares, or a sidebar navigation menu. Once the designs are completed, the same revision and approval process used during the homepage design begins again, until the client is happy with the results.

Upon final design approval, the project manager packages all of the final design files into a Development folder, along with all of the website content (that the client has provided) and notes on how each page should function. Development notes important, as they describe to the development team how the website and very specific elements on the site will function – slider behavior, hover effects, and any other special features. Content like text, videos, and images are clearly labeled so the developers know exactly what needs to go on which pages. Lastly an annotated sitemap of all of the website’s pages and corresponding their corresponding designs is provided. The web developer is informed that the project is ready for development, and then added to their schedule.

The client is given weekly updates of their site’s status. The Photoshop files are sliced and coded into HTML and CSS files. Then, the HTML and CSS files are implemented onto a CMS (Content Management System) platform such as WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla. An internal review and troubleshooting is completed on the demo site before being sent to the project manager.

Next, a site demo is given to the project manager to review. The project manager makes sure the demo corresponds with the development notes and original designs. As designers have a keener eye for detail, it’s always helpful to have them review the demo and catch any minor tweaks that development may have missed. A list of any revisions are given back to the developer.

Finally, the demo is sent to the client and they are encouraged to submit a comprehensive list of revisions for the developer. Once the demo is approved, the site is launched! In the next week or two, the client will receive video training to help them update and the site on their own.

This process may be lengthier for some than others, but it is always necessary when creating and launching a custom website design.