The Development Process: Step 3 – Site Design

The Third Step – Site Design

During the development proposal process, the web site costs, timelines, features, goals, capabilities, complexity, target audience, target browsers, and target server were finalized, and work now begins on the actual site design.

Before the web site appearance can be finalized, the web site structure must be determined. The structure depends on the type of information being presented, the audience, and the traffic flow throughout the site. The goal is to make the site navigation intuitive, efficient, and useful, as a poorly designed site will be of little use.

Determining the web site appearance often requires a lot of communication between the web site designer and the client. In many cases, the client has a preference for a certain page style or web site design, and this is worked into the design. In other cases, the site needs to match the existing corporate image, philosophy, and promotional materials, so this is done. In still other cases, the client is open to ideas, so several possible designs are suggested and often prototyped. Bandwidth considerations, audience considerations, browser considerations, and cost considerations all come into play during the design phase.

Once the navigational structure is set, and the general “look and feel” of the web site has been established and signed off, then the web site production process begins.