Our website design process

Our tried and tested process for designing and building your website has been developed over more than 20 years.

By following these steps we can avoid common pitfalls and make sure your site is delivered on time and to the agreed budget.

Invoice schedule

  • Deposit (25%)
  • Designs agreed (25%)
  • Draft site delivered (40%)
  • Site signed off (10%)
1. Go ahead

This is the point at which you’ve given us the go ahead on the project and it gets booked into our work schedule. This stage covers the formalities and paperwork we need to go through to get your project started.

  1. Payment due – Deposit invoice
    1. We book work into our schedule on a first-come-first-served basis. Paying your deposit will secure your place in our schedule
  2. Contract signed
    1. We’ll send you a document that describes the scope of work and what you can expect. It will also include confirmation of fees and payment terms. This forms the basis of our agreement and we need you to sign it and email it back to us within a week of the project go-ahead
  3. Planning meeting arranged
    1. The first thing we’ll do is arrange a planning meeting, where we’ll discuss the planning of the project in more detail
2. Planning

We know from experience that website projects need to be planned properly to avoid problems further down the line. Before we get into the design or development, we need to take the necessary time to plan out what the project will include, to avoid any confusion or misunderstandings later.

  1. Planning meeting 1
    1. This meeting will need to involve all the decision-makers from the client business
    2. The aim is to get enough information from this meeting for us to be able to put together the first draft of the Project Plan document
    3. The meeting will include:
      1. Revisiting the overall strategy, budget and timescales, so we’re all clear on the context and what we’re trying to achieve
      2. Website structure
      3. Key features and functionality
      4. Design brief
      5. Going through the process, to check you’re happy with everything
    4. We’ll also set a date for our follow up meeting, where we’ll go through and agree the final Project Plan
  2. Project Plan drafted
    1. A Project Plan will be drafted, based on the information from the planning meeting
    2. The purpose of the Project Plan is to is to establish before we start exactly what the website will include, to try and avoid confusion or misunderstanding later
  3. Planning meeting 2 (internal)
    1. Once the Project Plan has been drafted, we’ll review it internally. This gives all the members of the design and development teams the opportunity to provide input, so we know the planning has been as thorough as possible
  4. Planning meeting 3
    1. At this meeting, we’ll present the Project Plan to you and go through the document to make sure you’re happy with what’s been included. There’s an opportunity for you to provide feedback and for amendments to be made, if necessary. We allow for one round of feedback
    2. After this meeting, we’ll ask you to send us an email confirming sign-off of the Project Plan
    3. Any changes to the Project Plan requested after sign-off could affect the cost or duration of the project, so it’s really important that you feel you’ve understood what’s included and are happy to move on to the next stage
3. Content/Copy

The most successful website projects focus on the content as much as the design. Good content will engage your visitors and turn them into loyal customers, so it’s important to get it right. It’s best to have the content done before the design starts; to make this happen, our copywriters do all the hard work for you.

  1. Content/Copy planning meeting
    1. At this meeting, using the Project Plan as a reference, we’ll agree what copy is required for the site
    2. The copywriter will have the opportunity to ask you questions about the content and tone of the copy, so it ties back in with the overall strategy and the objectives of the site
  2. Tone and style agreed (example page)
    1. Typically, the copywriter will work on a selected page to establish the right tone, before working on all the other pages
    2. A draft of the first page will be sent to you for your feedback and amendments will be made. We allow for three rounds of feedback at this stage in order to get the tone and style right for the rest of the site
    3. Once the example page has been agreed, the copywriter will use this as a basis for working on all the other pages, so it’s important you’re happy with it before we move on to the next stage
  3. Draft of remaining copy presented
    1. The copywriter will create the copy for the other pages and present them to you for your feedback. The feedback might be gathered via a phone or video call, or by email if that’s more appropriate. We allow for two rounds of feedback in total
  4. Copy amended
    1. The amended copy will be sent back to you for final revisions before we ask for your approval
  5. Final copy presented and approved
    1. Once the final copy has been approved, the designer will use it when creating the initial designs
  6. Photography
    1. If professional images are required, we can recommend you to a professional photographer
    2. They will liaise with you direct to make arrangements for the shoot, and will provide us with the final, edited images once they’ve been approved by you
    3. If stock images are appropriate, within the cost of the project we’ll use our access to leading stock photography websites to get the best stock images for you
    4. If necessary, we may need you to short-list some images to give us an initial steer. We’ll share a link to the Shutterstock site, where you can search for appropriate images. Each image has a reference number; just send us a list of reference numbers and we can take it from there
4. Design

The design stage is often the most exciting part of the project, as you start to see what your new website will look like. Whilst we understand that it’s our role to lead the creative aspects of the project (that’s what you’re paying us for, after all), it’s important that you feel you’ve had your input. Our process provides for a collaborative approach.

  1. Planning and prep
    1. Our team will meet to go over the Project Plan, to make sure everyone understands what’s been agreed. You don’t need to be involved in this meeting
    2. The designers will refer closely to the Project Plan when creating the designs, to make sure everything that’s already been agreed is included
  2. Initial designs created
    1. Our designers will create designs for a number of key pages from the site plan, so you get a good idea of how the design will look across the site
  3. Initial designs presented
    1. The designs will be presented in a meeting – either face-to-face or by video call – where the designer will talk you through the designs
    2. We use a prototyping tool called InVision to show you the designs. It gives you a more life-like experience of how the pages will link together, and enables us to gather all your feedback in one place
    3. Although we’ll ask you for your initial reaction at the presentation meeting, afterwards we’ll give you a link to InVision – and talk you through how to use it – so you can look at the designs in your own time and provide more considered feedback
    4. We allow for two rounds of feedback. Any changes after that could incur additional costs and delays, so it’s important you spend the necessary time to review the designs properly
  4. Gathering your feedback – round 1
    1. In the days following the presentation, we ask you to consider the designs more carefully and leave any comments or feedback via InVision
    2. When you’re giving your feedback, try to put yourself in your users’ shoes. Remember that the website’s being designed for them, so it’s better to take an objective view rather than let your own personal taste sway your thoughts too much
    3. We’ll be notified as you leave comments, and ask that you confirm to us separately when you’re done, so we know we’ve captured all your feedback
  5. Amended designs presented
    1. Amendments will be made to the designs based on your feedback
    2. If any clarification on your comments is needed, the designer will contact you to discuss
    3. In some cases, we may recommend not implementing a change that’s been suggested. If this happens, we’ll explain why we don’t think it would be the best route to take
    4. When all the amendments have been done, we’ll let you know so you can have another look
  6. Gathering your feedback – round 2
    1. You have the opportunity to provide further feedback on the amended designs, which we also ask you to submit through InVision. This enables us to see a ‘chain’ of discussion about the designs
    2. Once you’ve provided all your comments, let us know so we know there aren’t any more to follow
    3. This is the final round of feedback on the designs. Any changes after this stage could incur additional costs and/or delays, so it’s important you feel you’ve spent the necessary time reviewing the designs properly
  7. Final designs presented for approval
    1. Final designs will be presented and agreed
    2. We’ll ask you to confirm you’re happy with the designs with a simple “sign-off” email
  8. Remaining design work completed
    1. Our designers will create designs for any other pages or views that the developers need to build the site. You won’t need to be involved in this stage
  9. Payment due – your next invoice will be raised when the designs have been agreed
5. Development

The development stage is where – for a little while – you’ll be leaving us to get on with the building of the site and you might not hear so much from us. We’ll still keep you updated on progress, so you know everything’s on track.

  1. Introduction to the developer
    1. During this stage of the project, you’ll have direct contact with the lead developer, so we think it’s important that you’re introduced to them and can get to know each other. They’ll also revisit any relevant parts of the Project Plan with you, so you know what to expect from this stage
    2. Sometimes an exchange of emails is enough, but in some cases, we might decide it’s more appropriate to have a phone or video call or even a meeting
  2. Development of the site
    1. During this stage, the developer will be building all the pages of the site, using the agreed designs and referring to the Project Plan to make sure all the agreed features and functionality are included
    2. The developer will work closely with the designer to make sure all aspects of the pages look correct and work as expected
    3. Whilst building the pages, the developer will populate them with the copy and content created earlier in the project
    4. A draft website will be tested internally and then checked by the team against the design and the Project Plan, to make sure it looks and works the way everyone expects
    5. When we’ve completed our testing and checking process, and amendments have been made and we feel it’s ready, we’ll deliver the Draft Site for your feedback
  3. Draft website delivered
    1. We’ll share a link to the development site on our test server for you to look at
    2. You will see a complete, fully-built site, populated with all your content, ready for your testing and feedback
    3. Payment due – your next invoice will be raised when the draft website has been delivered. Please note that a draft website is defined as containing all the content that has been provided or that we’ve agreed to create
6. Client feedback

The draft website’s been delivered and now we need you to give us your feedback or any final changes that need to be made. Because we’ve already gone through the Planning, Design, and Content stages together, any changes at this stage should be minimal.

  1. Gathering your feedback – round 1
    1. We’ll ask you to provide your feedback using the project management tool Trello and will give you instructions on how to use it. This enables us to keep track of all amendments that have been requested, which ones have been actioned and which ones are still to be done. You’ll be able to see things being ticked off the list as we go through them
    2. Please let us know when you’ve given all your feedback; it’s much easier going through your comments in one go
  2. Amended final website delivered
    1. When all the amendments listed on Trello have been completed, we’ll notify you and show you the final site, ready for your final checking before sign-off
  3. Gathering your feedback – round 2
    1. We allow for a second and final round of feedback to catch any last bits that may have been missed first time round
    2. Again, we’ll ask you to list any feedback on Trello and to let us know when you’re done
    3. Any changes after this stage could incur additional costs and/or delays, so it’s important you feel you’ve spent the necessary time reviewing the site properly
7. Final site delivered

Any final changes have been made and your new website is finished. At this stage we ask you for your final approval, before we make the new site live.

  1. Final website delivered for sign-off
    1. When all the final amendments have been completed, we’ll let you know that the final site’s ready for your approval
    2. We’ll ask you to confirm your approval with a simple “sign-off” email
  2. Payment due – your final invoice will be raised when the final website has been signed off
8. Launch

This is it; your new website is ready to be launched to the world! Our pre-launch checklist has been developed to make sure everything goes smoothly at this vital stage.

  1. Launch checklist completed
    1. A backup of your existing site will be taken, if required
    2. An SSL certificate will be installed, so your new site is properly secure
  2. Launch
    1. Your domain name will be updated to point to the new site. It can take up to 24 hours for this to propagate, so during this period some people may see the new site whilst some will still see the old site – but everyone will see something – there will be no down-time
  3. Post-launch check
    1. Once the new site’s live, we’ll verify everything’s working correctly including delivery of emails from the site, Google Analytics, maps and any domain-specific coding
  4. Post-project follow-up
    1. One week and then one month following the launch of the new site, we’ll be in touch to check that everything’s going ok and to track feedback or comments about the new site
    2. If you spot anything in the meantime that doesn’t look quite right, please let us know and we’ll sort it out