In this article, I highlight the complex and experienced process that web agencies go through to design bespoke responsive websites, and thus, will help you understand the
investment required and value of a bespoke website for a business that far exceeds the inferior templates that are so readily available online.
Website design is more than the ‘look and feel’
Designing the aesthetics or 'look and feel' of a website is further down the project process that people believe or expect.
There are many things to consider beforehand, and after to that matter. It is this reason that the design process typically
takes more than 4 weeks to complete and is part of a complex project process that can take more than two months to deliver
a completely bespoke website solution that delivers results.
1: In-depth website audit
2: Content and sitemap consultation
3: Design and technology consultation
4: Research and planning
5: UX concept design
6: UI concept design
7: Page design development
8: Front-end development and optimisation
9: Back-end programming and interfacing
10: Browser and device testing
11: Website deployment
Website Design is important, there’s no doubt about it as once a potential customer has found your
website via a search engine like Google or having clicked directly from Google Ads or arrived from
a strategic marketing campaign, you’ll need to retain that customer for as long as possible.
Ensuring they return as a regular user of your site, whilst converting them into a quality lead or sale.
Interface design and user experience are key in reaching and maintaining this goal, alongside
quality content. These fundamental design considerations are what separates a poor website from
a great website.
There's much more thought to a great website design than meets the eye and fundamentally when
searching for a web designer, developer or agency, you really should be paying close attention
to how they're going about delivering their solutions.
How will they work with you to understand your business, what are the technologies used, are
they bamboozling you with web jargon, what processes do they follow? Consider their website pricing structure, one-off website packages can often mean that the solution is not tailored,
or that the investment budget doesn’t include content writing, images or worse yet; performance
tracking and reporting.
Really? Yes, performance reporting is critical for you to understand the success and value of your
website investment. Without regular reports, how will you know where best to invest your digital
marketing budget? Or, whether to invest more in Google Ads, Marketing Campaigns and/or Search Engine Optimisation?
Reports and tracking are ingrained in our philosophy, part of our website design process includes
website reports right at the beginning of a project; if you already have a website that is, through
to regular monthly, quarterly and yearly reports for customers on a regular maintenance and SEO retainer
and who want to generate leads and improve sales for their business.
But this is just one part of the complete solution we offer. Website design is a complex process
and to understand this will benefit you hugely for when commissioning your next website project.
In order to give you an insight into how we at 5and3 design and develop bespoke websites, here is
the general process that we follow to deliver solutions for our customers:
Responsive web design process:
In-depth website audit
If you have an existing website, then we would recommend running a full ‘website audit or report’
so that we could analyse past performance in detail. This would give us data and information on
your users, online competitors, industry positioning and much more, information that intrigues us every time!
We’ll analyse this real data and make informed decisions on how to improve your website’s performance:
speed, user flow and link juice, to name a few, all with one goal: to generate leads, improve sales
and increase revenue for you.
Content and sitemap consultation
Don't worry, we aren’t interested in a map of your property!
We just need to understand your brand and audience, so that we can plan the site structure and
message with powerful content, user experience and design.
You may be thinking something along the lines of "I just want to sell my product" or "I just want
people to contact me" and they are both great starting points but the amount of content you will
need to make both of those a reality will be surprising.
Content is everything. It’s not just about quantity though, it’s about quality. The higher quality
your content and the more accessible/well organised your content is, then the better your website
will perform. We’ll help you structure and write your content for optimal user experience.
Working with you to develop a sitemap and website structure that maximizes usability and search
Design and technology consultation
Consulting with you, we’ll discuss design ideas, styles, effects and websites that have perhaps
caught your eye. We’ll discuss the technologies that we could use to produce that ‘wow’ factor
for your website. Of course, we can do pretty much anything that you want but remember, we have
the knowledge, proven successes and have encountered the pitfalls, we’re the experts and we know
how best to deliver a solution that will benefit your business.
Research and planning
The hard work begins.
We will plan the project, starting with your timescales for delivery and then working backwards
to structure and deliver on all points in the process. We’ll need to research the industry and
your online competitors, as well as analyse your website audit if you’re having a website redesigned.
Your online competitors are different to your ‘real world’ competitors, you may not know they exist,
but trust me, you will have competitors online who are taking your potential customers without you even knowing!
UX concept design
UX design is the art of designing a great user experience; responsive design, navigation,
call-to-actions, intent to more advanced things like warnings of data loss should users exit a page.
We’ll start to design and storyboard the website structure, content pages and elements that make
up those pages. Things such as internal and external linking, services and products positioning,
cross-selling and website goal objectives. Amazingly, these things don't happen by themselves are
critical for the success of your website.
What is UX?
UX stands for “user experience.” UX is used to describe the user's experience when they interact with your site.
UI concept design
This process takes a lot of time, taking a sketch, illustrator or photoshop wireframe and turning
it into a wonderfully and carefully crafted interface is what will align your responsive website with
your brand. The typeface, colour, button styles, icons, images, graphics, all carefully designed to ensure
that your online presence is better than your competitors.
What is UI?
UI stands for “user interface.” Most of what a visitor will see when they open your site is UI. Everything from your form to your navigation bar is a part of your UI.
Now that we've met UX and UI…
What is UEO?
Now that we've met UX and UI we can meet their baby UEO. UEO stands for "user experience optimisation." UEO is the improvement of the user interface (UI) in order to improve user experience (UX). As a by-product of this you will achieve higher rankings in search engines.
Page design development
So, we have a great user experience and interface design, now we need to develop the designs into
a complete set of template page designs. Starting with mobile first, because our primary focus is
to provide your customer with a great mobile experience, we’ll set about designing the main template
pages that will eventually make up your website from your supplied data and/or our written content.
This is your chance to add further comments to the design, where we’ll make changes, before submitting
final pages designs for signoff.
Front-end development and optimisation
Here’s where the ‘geeks’, the ‘nerds’, those who talk code and other languages come in! They’ll take the
final designs, content, font libraries, optimised images and svgs; turning them into functional website
You’ll soon begin to experience your website for the first time in its interactive ‘development form.’
Back-end programming and interfacing
As a regular website user you’ll never know this part exists, and why would you. This step process is fundamental
in the operations of a great website. All pieces of the jigsaw are joined together here: content management system,
payment provider(s) and third-party system(s) are interfaced to, and integrated with, the website behind the scenes,
the moving parts that you can’t see and for which is often what raises the most questions when it comes to cost.
Back-end programming, development and interfacing is a hard process and one that is sometimes, for developers,
hard to articulate to us mere mortals. Trust me though, without this process, you effectively don’t have a website!
Browser and device testing
Explorer, Safari, Chrome… 31.2 – 43.5 – 44.4, these are web browsers that you use to view websites and there’s
a few of them, with many versions out there. As well as iPhones, iPads, android, blackberry, windows and many
more devices out there, we have to test to ensure your website works on all of them. Many an hour goes into
the browser and device testing which is fundamental in optimising the performance of your website.
Amazing, we’ve made it, your website’s now ready to be launched! If you have dedicated web hosting with us then
happy days, it’s pretty straightforward for us to deploy and go live. If not, then we need to make some DNS changes
to your domain settings. Other than that, we’ll push the upload button and wait until your site is live on the world wide web :)
It’ll be fairly quick because we have super fast fibre here and once it’s live, we’ll do another quick final
round of testing, encouraging you to do the same, just to ensure nothing has been missed.
Boom – Let’s get together!
Start your website design project with our award-winning team today
Arrange your website consultation today
Once launched, your website isn’t finished, it’s just the beginning of an exciting journey…
Maintenance, SEO and website report
Ok, so your website has been live for some time: 4 months, 6 months or perhaps a year? We now need a report on
how it has performed in this time, brilliantly, we expect. There will, however, be room for improvement.
We’ll encourage you to obtain another website audit so that we, and you, can analyse its performance and gain
an understanding of its potential value.
An informed decision can then be made as to what needs maintaining and optimising to increase CRO. (Conversion Rate Optimisation). Think of your website as an
F1 car, to improve its performance requires analysis of its data and careful tinkering to gain and achieve maximum potential.
We can then work with you to devise a digital marketing strategy to maximise your online potential.
Search engine optimisation, Google Ads, Pay-per-click and content campaigns are all important tools that require
regular investment to generate quality traffic to your website, and we can deliver it all.
What is CRO?
CRO stands for “conversion rate optimisation.” This is essentially getting your visitor in the door, down the isles and to the till as quickly and painlessly as possible.
What is SEO?
SEO stands for “search engine optimisation.” As you've probably guessed SEO is the optimisation of your website to improve rankings in search engines.
Arrange your website consultation today
About the Author
Chris Heighton / Creative Director
I'm Creative Director and Brand Consultant at 5and3 based in East Grinstead West Sussex. My role is to create and implement our customers'
marketing strategies, conceptualise, create, develop and evolve inspirational brands; from logo design to full company brand identities and experiences, posters to brochures,
email campaign to fully responsive websites. As Creative Director and brand consultant, I ensure that our clients' image is on brand, leading our team creatively to deliver solutions that maximise results.
If you have any questions at all please feel free to message me on Twitter @chris5and3.