Project Management and the Creative Process of Website Design
Creating a clear milestone chart and managing tasks involved is a crucial step for undertaking any project, including website design. When it comes to web design, however, there are various items to take into consideration that will impact the level of project management that should be provided by a website-design team.
The process of web design can be long and involves multiple steps. It also requires work from several different talents. Knowing that you have someone on your side managing the project from beginning to end and walking you through the entire creative process is crucial. Here are some steps involved in the project management that your website design team should provide.
- Number of roles involved
Resourcing is a huge factor that impacts the level of project management you’ll need. The bigger the team, the more detailed and hands-on a project manager will need to be. Several roles may be involved in the design of a website including system administrators, content creators, designers, developers, and additional roles depending on scope. The more roles that are involved in the project typically equates to a higher level of project management required in order for your website to be completed on time.
- Need for communication
The project manager assigned must not only take these roles into account but also ensure that communication is clear enough so that each role understands their tasks assigned, the client’s needs, and completes tasks according to the timetable discussed at the beginning of the project. Every project manager uses some sort of milestone chart or tool in order to properly manage their project, and if the team deviates from that chart then it could significantly impact the project completion date. It’s the project manager’s job to keep everyone on task.
- Managing the budget
In addition to various roles that need to be properly managed, other aspects such as budget, project risk, and project focus are areas that should be considered when managing a professional web-design project. A project budget is something that could easily slip the team’s mind, and it is the project manager’s job to stay on top of what is being spent by the team not only as a whole but by each role independently. Web-design tools can often be expensive, and one wrong move by one individual without taking the budget into account could leave a team with no budget at all. By keeping the team in constant communication, the project manager minimizes the risk of going outside of the budget and forces the team to think creatively when it comes to spending.
- Project risk
The project manager also needs to anticipate potential risks or consult experts to help assess risks—and have a risk strategy in place to help the team respond to urgent issues that arise. Basically the larger the project, the larger the risks. And the greater the need for a project manager who is fully versed it what could happen. Although risks may not always rear their ugly heads, it is still important to have a strategy in place should they arise. For example, one potential web-design risk is spam in the comments section of a website. While spam is small when compared to other possible risks, it can still create a problem for web designers. The solution? Simply turn off the comments feature on your website or blog. Sometimes the best way to avoid risk is to remove the potential risk entirely. While addressing the risk of spam may seem small, it is just one of several risks that your web-design project manager will consider when managing your project.
- Project focus
Another area that requires a hands-on project manager is the project focus. Just like any other project, web design includes various aspects and without some sort of control in the group, discussions can go off topic. An effective project manager understands which topics should be discussed, which should be tabled, and which should be eliminated altogether. Website design requires a large team and intricate details that must be considered. The project manager is the one who will keep your team headed in the right direction in order to keep your project on track.
When it comes to web design, a driven project manager is your best bet for building a strong, eye-catching website. They will manage all the various roles with effective communication keeping the team focused, while also keeping an eye on budget and risk. There are many moving pieces that go into your new website design, and the larger your project, the greater the need for an effective project manager to keep your project on time and on task.
What is involved in the web design process?
When you have a large project, like website design, that requires a project manager, it’s important to understand what the entire process might look like. You will have to be ready to be involved in many different aspects while also being willing to step aside and let the professionals do their best work for you. It can be a long process, but well worth it in the end.
Website design done well requires a lot more steps, planning, and thought than you might think. And while any professional web-design firm should be able to turn your business’s vision, needs, and wants into an amazing website, they will also require some work on your end to make sure the final product is a perfect fit.
Though you won’t have to know everything (or even much at all!) about web design before you begin to work with a web development firm, it is important for you to understand the steps that go into making a website in order to have the right expectations. Here are the steps to the creative process behind website design:
Step 1: The initial website design meeting
The first step in the website design process is gathering information. This usually takes the form of one or more meetings between you and your web design firm to make sure they have everything they need to get started on your website. In this step, web developers will depend on you to communicate your vision for the website, the goals you have for it and how you’ll use it, as well as the functionality you’ll need it to have. Although you should trust your chosen web-design firm with creative and web decisions, they’ll need your input and your content in order to make it perfect for your business.
Step 2: Sitemap and website design wireframes
Once your website designers have the content and information they need from you, they’ll start working on the basic layout of the website. Usually, during this step, designers will create a sitemap of the website flow that shows the hierarchy of the site and how users will get from page to page. They’ll also design a wireframe, which is essentially a mockup of the main pages of your website—without actually building the site. This makes the approval and edit process much easier. This process typically takes a few weeks.
Step 3: Edits and approval
At this point, you’ll share your input and edits on the overall structure of the website. This stage is where you’ll really begin to see the website coming together, before even touching web-design tools. This is when you’ll plan the pages, structure, and content of your site. Make sure to be very honest with your designers about what you want and how you’d like it to look because it will be much easier and faster to make changes at this stage than it will be after the website is built.
Step 4: Content creation and gathering resources
Once you’ve come to an agreement on the layout and structure of your website, it’s time to collect all the content you want on the site and send it over to your designers. This includes text, pictures, videos, SEO-marketing keywords, blog posts, logo files, and more. Your web-design firm will rely heavily on you and your team for this portion, so it often helps to work on gathering everything you’ll need to send over even before this stage starts.
Step 5: Creating your website
At this point, your web-design firm will have a direction for your website, a firm layout, and sitemap, and all of the content needed to create your perfect site. Now, they’ll be able to start coding the website and make it a reality. Expect this stage to take a few weeks, at least, while your designers create, code, and troubleshoot.
Step 6: Final edits and approval
After you receive a first draft of your website, it’s time for the final rounds of edits until you give final approval on your site. Since you will have already communicated quite a bit about every aspect of the site, it shouldn’t be too long before it’s ready to launch. But if you have edits or any changes, this is the time to let them know.
Step 7: Time to launch
Once you’ve given your final approval on the site, it’s time to launch! Your web developers will make sure everything is ready to go on the site, and then make it live on a server. Now it’s smooth sailing with your final, finished website.
Before you start the long web-design process, make sure your whole team understands the expectations they should have regarding each of these steps and the time it takes to make a website. It’s also important that everyone works well with the project manager because they will walk everyone through the entire process from start to finish. They will also help everyone to stay on track with deliverables from both sides, your team and the website design team. Make sure you’re ready to communicate with your web developers often and know that your involvement is crucial in the process. Your web developers will depend on your input as much as you depend on them to make your business a beautiful website.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss the process of web design, please contact us today. Our team is happy to help.