Methodical approach. Refreshing results.
In the time it will take you to read this, some facet of the web will have undoubtedly changed.
It’s why our design process is constantly evolving. It’s a methodical, fully transparent process that assures you an end result that is everything you hoped and planned for. So prepare yourself for lots of browser squishing (yes, that’s totally a thing) and constant refreshing.
We believe designing in a vacuum has no benefit. There’s far too much to be gained when entire project teams immerse themselves into the design process: unique perspectives are unearthed and project momentum tends to stay high. The result is often a better understanding of your site and how to maintain it post-launch.
There’s no big reveals here, and we don’t go away for weeks at a time. Our goal isn’t just to keep you in the loop, but to keep you contributing to the loop. And while you’ll always know what’s coming, we’ll still manage to make it delightfully surprising.
As you can imagine, no two projects are exactly alike. Some require heavy design exploration, and others need exhaustive prototyping. Flexibility keeps our process efficient: in each stage, we’ll only dive as deeply as needed in order to make progress.
We kick off each project with a Discovery, a meeting to set expectations and a timeline for the project. Our team sits down with project stakeholders—anyone who will be making decisions that impact the direction of the project from beginning to launch. Discovery is critical to establishing what’s important in the project. Are there business goals we should be cognizant of? To which design principles should we align? Who is your audience? Much of what we discuss here will drive future design and development decisions.
Your content is the most important element of your website’s success. No matter how clever we are with design or code, your visitors come for your content, so it’s worth investing in from the start. Our teams will work with a content strategist to map out how to best organize your message, identify common user tasks, and encourage visitors to take action. We’ll end up with a solid plan that will make for effective and focused content creation moving forward.
The content plan allows us to begin prototyping, or testing ideas. Ideas are meant to be rough, so that’s why we start in the most “throwaway” medium we can: paper sketches. As ideas are validated, we’ll ramp up the fidelity from paper to code. Our gray-box, in-browser prototypes allow the project team to evaluate how screen size affects layout and determine which elements are worth emphasizing.
Gray boxes, though important, can’t tell the whole story. That’s why we explore style alongside our low-fidelity prototypes. We’ve found it helpful to start by casting a wide net, so we’ll mine inspiration from around the web. This helps us understand the motifs worth aligning your brand to.
As we narrow our focus, brief static explorations help our teams imagine what the site might feel like. We’ll be working towards a comprehensive set of fully styled and coded building blocks that’ll make creating pages a breeze.
Content precedes design. Design in the absence of content is not design, it’s decoration.Jeffrey Zeldman
Tackling individual page content happens concurrently with the layout and style efforts. We’ll help you work with a copywriter to shape your content, whether it’s editing existing or writing new copy.
Don’t worry—not everything needs tweaking. We’ll migrate archive-like content such as news and blog articles seamlessly. As soon as possible, “real” content will start showing up in our prototypes.
From the get-go, we’re getting WordPress ready for your team, and we’re not just talking about setting up an account or two. We tailor the entire interface to support exactly the kind of content your site needs, even planning for stuff you may come up with later. And you don’t have to be “technical” to use it. We set up custom screens and fill them with instructions and editorial tips that make editing your site straightforward, from small tweaks to entirely new sections. We also bake in the smarts that allow your content to dynamically appear in all the right places.
Welcome to the union of lo-fi prototyping and style exploration. Both efforts come together to create a fully-styled, coded preview of your site. The hi-fi prototype tends to reveal spots ripe for style tightening, layout refinement, and content adjustment.
We’ll run the site through a number of tests on desktop browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer. We also have an impressive number of mobile phones and tablets on which we test to make sure everything feels right and is formatted properly.
Launch & Post-Launch
When everything gets a green light, we push the site live, with much celebration and fanfare. Expect donuts!
Launch often seems like the end goal, but we believe we haven’t done our job unless we’ve empowered you to (easily) maintain your site moving forward. This is where Cookbook, the environment we’ve been building with you all along, comes into play.
For us, there’s no line of demarcation between design and development efforts. Both span the length of a project and work in unison to create a fully balanced and well-informed website.