Michael's Computer Services has been designing and building websites for over 7 years. During this time we have successfully created many different websites for our clients. These projects have been as many and as varied as our clients. A portfolio of some of these completed sites is available here.
How We Design Your Website
Web design is a process that starts with an idea and ends with a fully functional web site. The initial idea and planning is the most important stage of the process. A good idea results in a well thought out site that accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do. This is why spend a lot of time on having a clear plan for the finished site before the actual work begins. Then it is our job to make the plan become a reality.
1) Getting Started
The first step in designing a successful web site is to gather information. Many things need to be taken into consideration when we design the look and feel of your site, so we first ask a lot of questions to help us understand your business and your needs in a web site.
Certain things to consider are:
What is the purpose of the site? Do you want to provide information, promote a service, sell a product… ?
What do you hope to accomplish by building this web site? Two of the more common goals are either to make money or share information.
Is there a specific group of people that will help you reach your goals? It is helpful to picture the “ideal” person you want to visit your web site. Consider their age, sex or interests – this will help us determine the best design style for your site.
What kind of information will the target audience be looking for on your site? Are they looking for specific information, a particular product or service…?
Using the information gathered, we put together a plan for your web site.
Here we develop a site map – a list of all main topic areas of the site, as well as sub-topics (if applicable). This gives us a guide as to what content will be on the site, and is essential to developing a consistent, easy to understand navigational system. This is also the point where we decide what technologies should be implemented – interactive forms, CMS (content management system) such as WordPress, Joomla, and Modx. Any ecommerce system needed, such as Zencart, Magento and OpenCart are also taken into the planning.
Drawing from the information gathered up to this point, we determine the look and feel of the site. Target audience is one of the key factors taken into consideration here. A site aimed at teenagers, for example, will look much different than one meant for a financial institution. We also incorporate elements such as the company logo or colors to help strengthen the identity of your company on the web site.
Once we’ve designed a draft, you are given access to the development area, which is a private area of our web site. This area allows you to view your project throughout the design and development stages, without it being live to the public. Most importantly, it gives you the opportunity to express your likes and dislikes on the site design.
In this stage, communication is crucial to ensure that the final web site will match your needs and taste. We work together in this way, exchanging ideas, until we arrive at the final design for the site. Then the building can begin…
This is where the web site itself is created. We take all of the individual graphic elements from the draft and use them to create the functional web site. We also take your content and distribute it throughout the site, in the appropriate areas.
This entire time, you will continue to be able to view your site in the development, and suggest any additional changes or corrections you would like to have done.
5) Testing and Delivery
At this point, we attend to the final details and test your web site. We test things such as the complete functionality of forms or other scripts, we test for last minute compatibility issues (viewing differences between different web browsers), ensuring that the site is optimized to be viewed properly in the most recent browser versions.
Once we receive your final approval, it is time to send your new site live to the public. We upload the files under your domain name – in most cases, this also involves installing and configuring the chosen CMS files, along with a core set of essential plugins to help enhance the site. Here we quickly test again to make sure that all files have been uploaded correctly, and that the site continues to be fully functional. This marks the official launch of your site, as it is now viewable to the public.
The development of your web site is not necessarily over, though. One way to bring repeat visitors to your site is to offer new content or products on a regular basis. If this interests you, we will be more than happy to continue working together with you to update the information on your web site. We offer maintenance options at reduced rates, based on how often you anticipate making changes or additions to your site.