Behind the Build: The Process
After more than a year in our new digs, we’re tackling another remodel – our website. And we want to pull back the curtain and share our experience. We’ll be documenting and sharing the same process that you, our clients (or potential clients!), also experience. In addition, we’ll share our challenges and successes along the way – so follow along and find out what happens when web designers, developers and strategists create their own website.
First Things First
At our initial kick-off meeting, we decided that we needed to follow the same project process and schedule that we architect for our client-facing projects. Or as Chuck Johnston, UX Manager, said, “We should eat our own dog food.”
That’s one way to put it.
What this means:
- We don’t want to just go through motions, we want to include more team collaboration and communication
- Everyone involved with the project will be part of all the meetings as we go through each step in the project
- We have real deadlines and a commitment to executing an awesome website
One of our business challenges is that client work comes first, but we also don’t want to let our own project fall by the wayside. As a project manager, my role is make sure all of this happens and keeps happening.
I make sure we have a blueprint for the project:
- An overall budget for the project
- A schedule with deadlines for each phase/tasks throughout the project
- Resources lined up for the different phases based on skill set and availability
Additionally, I capture the scope, requirements, strategy, questions, documentation, conversations, and decisions as we move through the process.
The Project Process
From a high-level, this is our project process:
- Internal Kick Off
- External Kick Off
- User Research
- Content Strategy
- Wireframes and Prototypes
- Front End Development
- Back End Development
- Content Entry/Transfer
Don’t worry, we’ll go into detail about each of these steps throughout our blog series.
Since we are our own clients, we held one big kick-off meeting. The kick-off meeting is where we talk about our goals for the site, expectations and pain points with the current site, and how we want to solve them.
The kick-off is also the time to brainstorm new ideas; our team has a lot of ideas that we’ve curated while working on client projects or new things we’ve seen and want to try.
A few goals and ideas from the kick-off meeting:
- Mobile first strategy
- The design and content should reflect our personality and culture
- Expand the Work section to showcase our projects better
- Want it to feel familiar, but cool
It’s also important to identify the audiences that are visiting your website; doing this helps with content strategy and user experience. If you know who you’re talking to, you can better organize your website, content and calls to action.
- Marketing directors and managers
- Potential clients looking for a new partner
- Current partners and clients
This discovery process is the foundation for the entire project and helps us focus our ideas and strategies toward our project goals.