A recent client came to us via a referral (the life-blood of our business!), and pretty much within the first sentence asked for a WordPress website.
“That’s great,” I said. “But why WordPress?”
I have nothing against WordPress; in fact, we are currently looking after around 60 plus sites built on that very platform. But just because you have heard of it doesn’t mean it’s always the right solution.
At Transition Creative, we follow a strict process - mainly because it has never failed us, and consistently delivers us happy clients with solutions that are right for them, not just because the developer likes using the latest and greatest CMS out there.
There is no magic involved here, it’s just our way of working.
We have four stages to any web development project, these being:
Key-stage one - Discovery and ideation
This is where we define stakeholder goals and site features, plus set a site-map capturing the user journey through the client's site. We listen, we make suggestions, we discuss, we listen again, and we get there together.
Key-stage two - Wire-frames
Once we have a site-map, it’s time to sketch out some wire-frames, a kind of screen blueprint. This allows us to plan what will go where, and on which page. This is really important as it helps our clients to understand the user journey of their site. Making the user journey as functional yet as simple as possible will dramatically improve the customer experience, and thereby reinforce a positive connection with your brand.
Key-stage three - Design
Stage three is where we take all the planning we have gathered beforehand and create the designs in Photoshop. If we’ve really listened to you all along, given you our very best advice based on years of experience, and applied that to your own unique project, this should mean we get to this stage without too many changes required. The designs will be passed back to you for review, and we will work with you until we reach your final approval.
Key-stage four - Development
Finally, it’s time to put that great design and planning into action. To bring a conceptual plan to life.
Following our proven, process-driven approach for web-design ensures our customers are engaged throughout every stage of the design process. The last thing we want to do is land something on you that we think does the job but doesn’t hit any part of your own expectation.
This is not web design off the peg!
Our process also ensures there are no surprises for the client. You know the site layout, the structure and the design way before we get stuck into development. This makes everything a lot quicker because all the questions have already been asked and answered, so we’ve not back to the drawing board. And faster development has a direct impact on cost.
“But what about the platform?” I hear you ask!
Well, that is decided at stage one. The platform is decided quickly, once we know the client’s goals and the site features required.
Back to my WordPress-loving client previously mentioned.
The client’s brief was to have a fast, responsive website. The site needed a contact form but no other functions of complexity. Due to the client's company, the site had to be as secure as possible.
In this instance, we recommended a site built on Jekyll. Jekyll is a simple, blog-aware, static site generator which generates static HTML pages. Because the end-product is built on static HTML pages, there is no maintenance required, which was really important to this client. They didn’t want to be forced to update their site constantly and keep checking for security flaws. As the site is just HTML, there is nothing to hack, so, bingo! That's the security taken care of.
Of course, for many clients WordPress is absolutely the right platform. My only point here is that sometimes, in some cases, it isn’t the right solution.
The point of all this is, websites should be built to fit the goals of the client, not about making the platform fit.