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The Five Step Web Development Process

Gatherkit Web Development Process

In the world of web development, there are various ways to create a website. But for today, we will take a look at the most common process: the waterfall process.

The waterfall model is a breakdown of the project into linear milestones or phases. Each phase depends on the approvals of the previous one. Meaning, you can’t design without a strategy already planned, and you can’t develop without the design first complete. There can be other ways to develop, but for the average website process, waterfall can be the most effective.

We breakdown our web process into five distinct milestones: planning, designing, developing, testing, and launch.

1. Preparation

In the prep and strategy process, you will want to plan a solid structure for the site. This can include a user flow (how the user should travel through the website to take action), site architecture, content auditing, and tech requirements. With that strategy, you can plan out how to tell the story, implement funnels, and move users to action. You might also start preparing any SEO and meta tag research at this time.

2. Design

Design is done differently from person to person. It might include moodboards, stylescapes, wireframes, entire site designs, and prototyping. After the design is approved, you will want to prepare that design for development. This can include preparing a styleguide, cropping and prepping images, and getting the social share images ready. (Check out our other article just about the design process.)

3. Development

Once you have the strategy, content, and design approved, you can start on development. This process will include coding, preparing all the styles, building pages and custom functionality, as well as data entry and content management. Keep your code organized for easier collaboration. In our agency, we like to start with one page and design it from desktop to mobile. This will also be the time you implement your SEO and social sharing. We do full testing internally before moving on to other pages to reduce work. By taking a strategic approach and testing as you go, you can avoid headaches and revisions.

4. Testing

We like to test our pages as we build, but we also have a full QA process before handoff to the client. This process includes checking it on all major devices and browsers, checking for broken links, making sure all images are high-res, and content is in the correct place. Don’t forget about the little things too, like your 404 page and favicon. Did you remove all lorem ipsum? Are all forms sending and actually going into people’s inboxes properly? If you plan for ADA compliance, is it passing the checks or do you need to readjust?

5. Launch!

When the site is ready, you can finally push it live! Don’t forget your URL redirects, setting up security, speed, and all plugins are up to date. If you can, create documentation for your client to give further support.

Web development is a process that is constantly evolving. It is important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and technologies to create the best possible user experience for your website’s visitors. Whatever you can do to automate and speed up the process, the more time you can save. And most importantly, don’t forget to review your project after it’s done and figure out how you can improve on the next project!

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