What should I expect during the web development process?
At Brick Factory, we try to adjust our process to work best for each individual client, but there are some critical steps that we employ in all the work we do.
Phase 1 - Discovery
Every project starts with the Discovery phase. The objective here is to get as clear of an understanding as possible of your project - we want to hear about the problems you are currently facing with your website and learn about the goals we will be working towards together. Spending this time up-front prevents missteps and wasted time in later phases.
The Discovery phase will begin with a kick-off meeting where we will review your big picture objectives for the website, analyze how the current site is being used, discuss design tastes, and flesh out technical requirements.
This phase typically produces an implementation plan for your new site that will include a site map, content inventory, timeline, and detailed technical specifications and recommendations.
Phase 2 - Design
Once we fully understand your vision, we will begin working on the design of the new site. During the Design phase, we will dig into the sites of competitors, peers, and partners to get a sense of the overall industry landscape. We will also refer to the aesthetic guidance you gave us during Discovery, which gives us an idea of the visual approach you are looking for in your site.
The Design phase can produce quite a few deliverables, depending on the nature and scope of the project. Typical deliverables include:
- User Personas: User personas are fictional characters that represent different types of users that will visit your website. We will create personas for every one of your key audience groups. The personas are used to define what these different types of users are looking for when they visit the site and, just as importantly, the information that you want each one of them to see. This analysis helps drive how the site is ultimately organized.
- Content Hierarchy: A content hierarchy is simply a list of key elements of a page in order of priority. These simple lists can be helpful in determining what content to include on key pages of your site, such as the homepage.
- Wireframes: Wireframes are simplified layouts that show how a page will be organized visually. These are typically done to help us nail down layout before we move on to more detailed design concepts. Wireframes are black and white - they are designed to help you think about the content that will appear on key site pages without being distracted by fonts, photos, and colors.
- Design Concepts and Mock-Ups: Once we have approved wireframes, we will put together actual design compositions showing what key pages on the site will look like. We recommend starting with a homepage and maybe a couple of main pages - designing every page not only takes up critical budget, it is also really difficult to know exactly what you want without seeing your site. Getting the homepage built out and perfected before locking down the rest of the site is the most cost-effective way to approach your build. Depending on the project, we may create designs for mobile only, desktop only, or both.
Phase 3 - Implementation
So now we have approved designs and are ready to build something! While this is called a phase, it is actually composed of many build cycles called “sprints”. Much like in the design phase, it is much more efficient to build small pieces and make sure you love them, instead of building a whole site and realizing later that it isn’t what you had in mind.
During Implementation, our front- and back-end developers work their magic to make your designs come to life. Using an Agile Development Process, our team will plan sprints that are typically around 2 weeks long. At the end of each sprint, we will have part of your site built and ready for your review. This allows you to get real, hands-on experience with your site right away. This is a critical step because it gives you a chance to make edits to the site before we have spent time (and your budget!) implementing initial designs across the entire build.
Phase 4 - Review
Site review naturally happens as part of our sprint cycle during the build, but we also have a period after the beta site is produced for a full review. This happens right before launch and is a chance for your team to give final feedback on the site, while our team is finishing up final browser and device testing. During both the Implementation and Review phases, the most important thing you can do to streamline our work is to provide your feedback in consolidated rounds. If the feedback trickles in, it is really tough for us to implement it efficiently, leading to wasted time and budget.
At the end of the Review phase, we will launch your site for the world to see, and we’ll fix any bugs that come up in the first 30 days for free!