How the Sausage Gets Made(or at least, what you need to know about it!)
The first step is to collaborate on a list of project objectives as they relate to your business. In the for-profit world, objectives might involve increasing in-store traffic, customer satisfaction, or good old-fashioned sales. A brick and mortar business might want to open themselves to online customers. In the non-profit world, objectives often center around fund-raising or increased ability to fulfill the mission. Whatever your goals happen to be, put-em on the list!
By How Much?
It’s important that the objectives be as quantifiable as possible – it’s hard to measure success/completion with things that are not quantified. Of course, how do you specify that you want “75% pretty” or “95% original”? These become guidelines and priorities.
Pricing and Budget
In a perfect world, we could do all of this for free, and people would donate food, shelter, and Apple watches to us just because we’re awesome. Sadly, the world isn’t perfect and this stuff ain’t free. While we do make attempts to work with our fiscally challenged clients, and have discount programs for non-profit organizations, we must and do charge for services.
Good design, inspiring images, creative words … and the codes. My god, the codes! These are all the result of time, expertise, training, thought, and creativity. And we do them well. And on top of all this, you get things like security (so you don’t get hacked), performance tuning, and some of the best damn expert advise that money can buy.
And this is not the part of your business where you want to be cheap. Save money on sub-standard toilet paper if you must, but put your money where your customers are and LET YOUR GLORY SHINE UPON THEM!
In the design phase, we take the project objectives and budget, and determine what we can create that will work within those constraints. Specific designs and styles will depend largely on your project’s audience, needs, etc. Of course, the more creative the project, the more fun it will be for everyone, and the more it will engage your customers. But, again, everything must consider the budget.
We occasionally encounter clients who have a firmly held concept of how they want their project to look/feel. They just need someone to “code it”. Unless you HAVE substantial experience with visual and user experience design, color theory and composition, etc., we HIGHLY recommend that you see what a fresh perspective might offer. We’ll definitely want to see your vision to help us understand your goals, and we very well may use parts or all of it, but you’ve hired us for a reason. Let’s make something better than you thought possible!
Testing and Validation
So, you remember those requirements we worked on back at the beginning? This is where they come full circle. We take those requirements, guidelines, and priorities, and we make sure that they have all been met. Inevitably, there are loose ends that were discovered in between, and details that were overlooked before, and this is where we get to fill those in and make sure all the I’s are crossed and T’s are dotted. (Yeah, this is where we catch things like that!)
If there are newly discovered requirements that substantially increase our project cost, please understand that they will most likely increase the price. That’s why it’s so important that we understand as much as we can, as early as we can.
This is the fun part! This is where we get to let the world see who you are and what you can do. It’s not without risk, of course, and the job ain’t over ’til it’s over! The launch phase usually involves something akin to a pre-flight checklist. Pilots and astronauts do those things because they save lives. On a technical project, they save dollars, reputations, and in a few cases of medical or industrial technology applications, lives. (We recommend the book Fatal Defect by Ivars Peterson if you’re into that kind of thing.)
It’s important to note that sometimes the last mile is the longest. It’s also the one where you want to step carefully. A well-built project can still be a costly disaster if we flip the switch without checking all the things. But, if you do find yourself getting impatient, we recommend yoga, meditation, and in extreme cases, a bottle of Bonfire from the Witherspoon Distillery.
Them Interwebs don’t just maintain themselves. Routine maintenance and monitoring for issues is an important part of website ownership. We install a number of things when building your website to monitor health and security, but you’ll want knowledgeable people on hand if things start to go a bit “sideways”.
It’s also not unheard of for a novice website owner to get in there for a bit of tinkering, only to realize that something went … askew? Just as we all appreciate a doctor who can “just remove it, with no questions asked”, you’ll want your own resources on hand who can put things right when you’ve accidentally set them wrong.
If you have said people in mind or on staff, excellent! Got your own hosting account? No problem! Don’t have any of that and aren’t sure what it means? We’ve got you covered. Let’s talk.