Why you should always have a map.

 

Why you should always have a map for a web project

Very recently I relearned an age old lesson.

Maps are important.

Growing up I was surrounded by maps of all kinds.

Great British Road Maps, the South of France, Hamburg and the Basque Region. Our family collected them all.

I would watch as my dad studied these great books with their brightly coloured squiggly lines. As a self-confessed ‘book worm’, my 9-year-old self-struggled with what enjoyment my dad got from these ‘odd’ books.

They had no words. So what could he possibly be learning?

It was a lesson I first learned during my DoE Gold on a rainy mountain in Kendal and painfully again when I spontaneously decided to do a recent urban orienteering sprint in Belfast City Centre.

Those ‘squiggly’ lines give direction. They give knowledge and understanding.

So when I lost my orientation during the Urban Sprint, I lost the ability to locate my check points with precision. I slowed down. Became inefficient.

Designing a responsive website requires that same knowledge and direction.

When a client approaches us with a new web project, we have a specific process that we begin to make sure nobody gets ‘lost’.

This is our map.

1. Project Goals

You wouldn’t start a journey without any idea of where you want to go.

Creating a successful web project is exactly the same.

At the beginning we work with our client to tease as much information out as possible. What are the site’s key goals, what does it need be able to do, when is it needed to be ready etc. With this information we can start to build an initial blueprint of the site map.

Our site map is a defined plan and clear goal structure with a set timeline providing direction. It lets you see all of the road marks, check points and points to a clear route. It makes your site precise.

2. Wireframes

Perhaps the most important tool in creating a successful web project. Your wireframes are the structural blocks that the site is built around.

Refining this step is crucial. We make sure that every action that the end user may take is considered. Tailoring the site specifically to help the site user navigate through your site to achieve pre-set goals. Great wireframes are the difference in a good website and one that affects your bottom line.

3. Visual Design Phase

When our clients have signed off on the wireframes we move onto the visual design phase.

The visual identity we have created for the company forms the basis for the site design. Shaping and defining the websites visual appearance. Our end goal is to create continuity and forge strong links between the brand’s on-line presence and their other communication channels.

The result is a totally unique and custom site. Pretty cool.

4. Development Phase

Following approval of the visual stage we will begin to develop and code each wireframe. Developing the content, and bringing the designs into reality.

5. Go Live Checklist

This is the final piece in the puzzle. That last checkpoint. You can’t do without it.

We have an extensive ‘Go Live’ checklist that we work through before allowing any site to go live. Testing it thoroughly to make sure that there are no further issues needing addressed.  During this phase we check all aspects of the site across four areas; content and style, security, standards and validation and search engine optimisation. Completely proofing content and style against our brand tool kits, confirming all levels of security to prevent hacking and optimising all aspects of the site to be friendly for SEO.

Once every point is checked then we can hit the green light and launch.

If you have a web project that you would like to discuss, then please get in contact via the details below.

pbd-jonny

Jonny Agnew

Jonny is an Account Executive, brand planner, content creator and insight researcher.

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