Outlining each of the individual stages that are tackled during the web development process can be a vital tool in helping to explain to clients what it is exactly that their website project will entail. In this way, it is much easier for clients to understand why developers charge what they do and why it takes so long for a project to be completed.
In this phase, the web development project is defined via a creative brief, and any questions about the goals or requirements of the project are answered. This phase is generally used to determine the scope (size) of the project, and once it has, the project can proceed.
This phase is entered when a kick-off meeting is held, indicating that the web development project has officially started. The discovery essentially refers to the research that kicks-off the project – what is the competitive landscape like, what are the client’s needs and goals, and so on? Some of the points discussed in the concept phase may need to be amended based on the results of the research.
This phase often happens alongside the next outlined phase (design), as it is very difficult to complete either phase by itself. Content development essentially looks at what content needs to be included in the website. This phase can have a considerable effect on the addition or subtraction of web pages for the site, which is why it is often completed alongside design.
In this phase, the website’s information architecture is developed and it’s prototypes begin being tested. Once the content has been roughly developed and the number of web pages has been finalized, the actually design itself can be approved. For web development, it is really important to finish this phase before moving onto the next one, as it is much easier to make changes in Photoshop than in HTML.
In this phase, the website template is built and then the individual web pages themselves. Many web developers like to check the website template periodically to ensure that the coding is working and up to scratch. Some design changes may be made during this phase, but if it will seriously impede the developer’s ability to meet the deadline they may be left off for the time being.
This phase is pretty straight forward – the website is launched and made live on the internet. The web developer will do a complete link check to ensure that everything is working, as well as checking any applications or other features that have been included.
In this phase, the web developer will set up a maintenance system for the client to use in editing and adjusting some of the simpler and more basic aspects of the website (such as images, video and content).
By breaking down the seven phases of web development, it is much easier for clients to understand what their project entails, why it is going to take longer than a few days, and why developers charge what they do.