Part 1 of Building a Successful Website: Research & Planning

Sarah Porter
  • Senior Designer
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This is the first in a series of four infographics, each looking into the fundamental aspects of building a successful website; part 1 explores the importance of research and planning ahead of the design stage. Having already touched on the value of a mood board in the early stages of the design process, this infographic delves a bit deeper into the foundations of a web design project.

Here at gm-design, we find that determining and documenting the scope at the start of a project eliminates any confusion and helps to ensure things run smoothly. Firstly, agreeing on the deadline means that your agency can set a realistic schedule that allows adequate time for each stage of the process; from research and planning, through to the design, build and final testing.

The process of formulating a sitemap involves collating all the disparate elements into an intuitive format, which will ultimately create a logical and easy-to-navigate website for the user. The agreed sitemap can be distributed to all relevant parties and referred to throughout the project; which can be particularly helpful when coordinating multiple teams to complete different tasks. This ‘blueprint’ is developed further as it comes to the wireframing stage, and layers of complexity continue to be gradually added as you move into the design stage (covered in the next part of this series).

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Speaking with the client to understand their objectives and target audience is as vital in a web build as in any other design project. Knowing what features are required and what kind of content will be included will inform the design direction and may rule out, or inspire, certain approaches. For instance, if a feature that might negatively impact page load times is top of the wish list, then different approaches to achieving this goal, without slowing the site down, should be considered at this stage.

The goals, deliverables, features, functions, deadlines and costs that you set at the start of the project are what you will use at the end of the project to measure its success. Therefore, it is important to set honest and realistic goals at the start and refer to the website research and planning throughout the project to ensure you are on track.

Stay tuned for the next instalment, when I will explore the design stage…

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