Web Process?!??

The process for building a website can be a strange long task that is easy to get out of control quickly. Which means that getting paid accordingly for your time can be a bit of trick as well. Because of that I started to think through what should a web process be like.

The issue I found with a universal web process is that most people do not have access to the same team members and skill sets from organization to organization. Also, a secondary problem is how the industry labels job responsibilities as a whole (but, I won’t get into all of that right now). For my purposes here were the team members that I worked with:

  • Digital Strategist (that’s me)
  • Digital Producer (in-house)
  • Account Management (in-house)
  • Content Strategist (in-house)
  • Production (in-house)
  • Developer (this is a 3rd party)
  • Client (everyone’s favorite)

So, it is a very small team (likely compared to other businesses), but hey this is what we got. However, the team members involved have a very high level of responsibility through out this project, so it is important those are identified and understood.

But before responsibilities are divided up lets talk about the main vertical categories of the web process as whole. When looking at this the following areas were identified:

  • Diagnostic
  • Pre-Production
  • Prototype
  • Design
  • Development
  • Live

I know some of these titles are kind of ambiguous. I’ll go into a little more detail of how I defined them in the instance of creating a web process.

  • Diagnostic: This step is basically evaluating the client’s current website, and asking them questions about it. The deliverable is to create recommendations for where the new site should go.
  • Pre-Production: This is where we get into creating sketches and actually formulating some ideas on where we talked about going with the new site. Before moving into the next phase this where the final scope, budget, and schedule are discussed.
  • Prototype: Here is where a grayscale prototype is created to start work sessions with the client on how this website is going to work and what the user experience is going to look like (example).
  • Design: This is where we take what we learned in the prototype stage and apply it to layout.
  • Development: The rubber meets the road here and the site is constructed based on the prototype and the designs created.
  • Live: The moment that everyone was waiting for.

Of course that is just a top line overview of these categories. Each area has multiple steps, but that is a lot of detail to get into right now. Plus, it will likely be different for you or anyone else. The idea is that these categories are just serving as a shell for how the web process can go.

I mentioned earlier that I would explain what the team members would be responsible for in this process. So, here is top-level over view to that:

  • Digital Strategist: Identifying Site Needs, Wireframe UX Decisions, Prototype Direction, Design Development/Strategy, and QA
  • Digital Producer: Schedule Development, Content Audit, Project Documentation, Design Production, and QA
  • Account Management: Presentation Decks and Client Wrangling (for lack of a better term)
  • Content Strategist: Persona Development, and Messaging Strategy
  • Production: Crunching Numbers, and Allocating Team Hours
  • Developer: Making it Happen
  • Client: Approval

I’m aware this process doesn’t/won’t work for everyone. But, it may be a good starting point for a lot of people. However, assigning categories to the web process and clear responsibilities opened up the door to explore how scope is developed, schedules are created, and how we should evaluate payment. Hopefully doing this exercise can help to resolve these familiar pain points for yourself.

I have a shell of this process documented in a spreadsheet if anyone wants to download it and take a stab at creating their own web process: Get It Here.

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