We aim to get each project off to a great start. Here’s an idea of what to expect when working with us:
First things first, we hold a pre-design meeting where we talk about your ideas and goals for the project. We just sit back and listen. No estimates or timelines come from this meeting, as we need to get a bit more information to be on point with those.
After this initial meeting, we ask that you review and complete our client survey, which lets us dig a little deeper into your needs and goals, as well as your stakeholders’ expectations. This survey is very useful to us, as we will use it as a marketing/branding guide, as well as a benchmarking tool. This document also serves as a go-to guide should the project begin to stray from its original scope of work.
Upon completion of the survey, we work with you to collect your existing materials and document them using a content inventory spreadsheet. We also take a look at your existing information architecture and/or create a new one. These two tools help us to better organize the structure of all your existing and future content.
These initial stages of planning are not only necessary, but also required in order for us to provide you with a detailed project timeline and accurate cost estimate.
Our process is tried and true, and it produces great results. In the past, you may have worked with a team that starts with design comps as step one and moves forward from there. That is not how we do things; if you are looking to actually redesign your site, there are bigger issues than just the colors and pictures you currently have. We look to address your website as a whole, including usability, content management and search engine strategy.
Our process is divided into five, distinct phases:
- Discovery and Research
- Strategy and Concept Development
- Building and Implementation
- Deployment and Launch
Effective web design starts with a deep understanding of your organization, your target audience and the needs of both. You may want to learn more about how we create a website that meets those needs and our approach to the redesign process.
Project Management & Communications
We always seek to keep an open line of communication, keeping you fully informed of the details of your project. We will provide regular updates about the status of your project and make ourselves available to answer any questions you may have.
Our project manger will help communicate all of your needs to the team and ensure they are completed on time. We also use a project management tool, called TeamworkPM, which allows you to follow the design and development process of your project, as well as review any pending steps or tasks that remain.
Issues or concerns
As with any project, you can expect a few bumps in the road. Here are a few of the common ones and how we can work around them:
When working on a project, we set deadlines that need to be adhered to on both our and your side. Missed deadlines cause ripples that effect the remaining dates involved with the project. In most cases, either side missing a deadline will delay the rest of the project.
Another common issue is “scope creep.” This is when you have a plan or task set out for a project, and over time things start to change or you have new ideas that you want added. Small things here and there are expected, but the larger design or development-based changes can greatly affect the project and our ability to deliver what you want on time. Scope creep will be discussed if necessary, and will many times require additional costs on top of what is outlined in the original estimate. To avoid this, make sure you have in mind and communicate to us your master plan from the very beginning.
Another issue that comes up frequently is the quality of the content that is provided to us to work with. When building a website, the final images, copy and other materials you provide us with are very important – quality ingredients make quality results. Many times, we receive low-resolution images or links to clip art that we have to then edit in order to make them usable for your project. If you plan to provide your own images, icons, etc., be prepared to provide us with the final, high-quality products that you want used for the project.
When you come to Web Communications with a project, we consider you a part of our team for the duration of the project. We don’t simply have one meeting and then hand over a finished product; we expect you to be hands-on and involved in the decision making process, as you know your units and your audience far better than we do.
When working on any project, we expect that you treat us with the same level of respect that we will provide to you. We expect that you give us quality feedback and respect our valuable time as we do yours. We ask that you appreciate our advice, as we professionals in our field just like you are in yours.
To this end, we believe in the idea of the Customer Client Pact as an informal agreement as to how we will both treat each other during our projects.
In our minds, following these ideas will make your new website a communications tool that will pay off many times over and will meet your and more importantly your audiences needs and goals. We look forward to working with you!