When are you finished with your website? You never are, a challenge that makes it difficult to measure progress or evaluate results when a website project is in the works. As a result, a website design process can become a painful, month after month affair that never seems to end. Here are some strategies we’ve used to build websites faster, keep a momentum, and keep your sanity.
commit, commit, commit
Put aside the temptation to revisit topics over and over again and enter into a practice of making and committing to key decisions. These include (in order of importance):
- who is the project manager
- who are the decision makers / stakeholders
- what content will need to be produced and who will produce it
- what are the goals and audience of the website
- what is the call to action
- what are the core functions it needs to provide
A healthy design process is not a rigid one, allowing a degree of flexibility with all of the above. However, if everything is a moving target, the end result will be a design process that will take much longer than estimated and may not produce better results at the end.
divide and conquer
Building in phases lets you create and keep a momentum. Our company’s process starts with a foundation—making sure things like the navigation works on desktop, tablet, and mobile devices, before moving on to functionality. Functionality includes forms, modules, and similar details. Content and testing represents the final phase. It is hugely beneficial to test one phase, and then move on instead of trying to do everything at once.
content is a key challenge
In terms of content, most people’s eyes are bigger than their stomachs—meaning they overestimate their ability to produce content. This challenge emerges at every stage of the process, from gathering photos, logos, and rough content to the process of refining content, to the final steps of approving and proofreading at the end. As you embark on planning for your website, be mindful of the commitments you make and be prepared to invest the time (or money) to deliver content on schedule.
create a momentum in the form of regular check ins
A successful website project usually takes on the form of a collaboration, and a successful collaboration is sustained by a steady rhythm of regular check ins and accountability between meetings.
A faster website process doesn’t have to be a compromised process. Establishing momentum and accountability within a framework of goals can create a foundation that will help sustain your new site as it grows and evolves in the months and years ahead.