For me, this is what the process looks like.
- Why do you want this and what should it accomplish?
- Who’s going to use it?
- What’s the budget for it?
- When is it needed by?
Receiving the content is, by far, one of the most important steps of the process and cannot be overlooked. Progress cannot be made without knowing what the content looks like in terms of size, tone and functionality. In other words, the content dictates the design. “Design without content is decoration.” – Jeffrey Zeldman
User Experience (UX)
- Who uses this?
- Why do they want to use it?
- Why do you want them to use it?
- When can I talk to the users?
The next step starts to get exciting because both sides (client and developer) start to get a real sense of what the product is going to turn into by using the goals of the site to leverage particular content and develop its structure visually. Currently, I use either Balsamiq or MockFlow (or pencil and paper) to develop wireframes. Let’s organize that content so that prototypes can be developed!
A prototype is rough example of the final product visually and can show how it will function. Prototyping can be accomplished by using Photoshop (or some other visual editor), Keynote or even directly in the code. I prefer the latter of the bunch because the impact is better when showing the designs in action. Plus, it is very easy to transition from rough prototype to final product if that path is chosen.
Build small parts of the site at a time and constantly ask for feedback.
Test (by users and in many browsers). Repeat until the product is finished.
Have a launch party to celebrate!