Process

We help you shape your success

01

EXPLORATORY

Estimated time: from 1 to 2 weeks

In this stage we explore and research. We gather information about technical and performance requirements. Information and decisions based on this research will dictate the pace and complexity of subsequent steps. For you, the Client, the most important part is to have a clear vision of your future website purposes, determine a design direction, and clearly define the user types you want to attract to your site. We will prompt you with questions to help us better understand your vision and develop the best strategy for further project management.

02

Planning

Estimated time: from 2 to 6 weeks

Based on the information gathered in the Exploratory Phase, the sitemap is created which will describe the relationships between the main areas of your website. Such representation provides insight into how usable the final product will be. Page relationships will indicate how easy (or difficult) it will be for the end-user to find the required information or service if they starts from the main page (landing page). The main reason behind the sitemap creation is to build a user-friendly and easy to navigate website. The sitemap allows you to understand what the inner structure of a website looks like, but doesn’t describe the user interface. Before starting to code or even work on a design, we require the Client to confirm that everything looks as expected so we can begin the next phase of development. In this case, a wireframe or mock-up is created. A wireframe is a visual representation of user interface that will be created; however it doesn’t contain any design elements such as colors, logos, text, etc. This outlines only describe the elements that will be added to the page and their location.

The other major part of the Planning Phase is to select technology stack that will be used – programming languages, frameworks, Content Management System (CMS) that you’re going to use. We will provide outlines of which technologies fit your needs, which technologies scale best with your anticipated growth, which technologies are well supported and documented. This ensures that your site has longevity.

03

DESIGN

Estimated time: from 4 to 12 weeks

During the design phase, your website takes shape. All the visual content – photos, image galleries, videos – is created and added at this step. Once again, all the information that was gathered through the first phase is crucial. We always keep the needs and requirements of the Client and target audience in mind to craft an elegant, unique, and purpose-driven website.

Upon completion of an initial design, you review the layout and send us feedback. If you are not sure about some aspects of the design or have design input, we make revisions until you are completely satisfied.

04

Content

Estimated time: from 5 to 15 weeks

Content writing and compiling usually overlaps with other stages of website creation, and its role can’t be underestimated. At this step, it is necessary to put in writing the very essence you’d like to communicate to the audience of your website and add calls-to-action. Content writing involves also a creation of catching headlines, text editing, writing new text, compiling the existing text, etc., which takes time and effort. Ideally,, the Client provides website content that is ready to migrate to the site. It is better when the final draft of all website content is provided before or during website coding. Don’t have the content fully fleshed out yet? Don’t worry; we have excellent copywriters, copy editors, and translators on standby to assist.

05

Development

Estimated time: from 6 to 15 weeks

At this step, we can finally start creating the website itself. Graphic elements that have been designed during the previous stages will be used to create an actual website. Usually, the home page is created first, and then all sub-pages are added, according to the website hierarchy that was previously created in the form of a sitemap. Frameworks and CMS should be implemented to make sure that the server can handle the installation and set-up smoothly.
All static web page elements that were designed during the mock-up and layout creation should be created and tested. Then, special features and interactivity are added. A deep understanding of every website development technology that we’re going to use is crucial at this phase. Don’t worry, we do our homework.
When using a CMS for site creation, CMS plugins will also be installed at this step if there’s a need. Another important step during this phase is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is the optimization of website elements – title, page names, description, keywords) that can help your site achieve higher rankings in the search engines.

06

Testing, Review and Deployment

Estimated time: from 2 to 4 weeks

Testing is probably the most routine part of a process. Every single link will be tested to make sure that there are no broken ones among them. We will check every form, every script, run a spell-checking software to find possible typos. Then we dig deeper using code validators to check if it follows the current web standards and is optimized for speed and security. Valid code is necessary, for example, if cross-browser compatibility is important for you. Based on your requirements, we will test appearance and performance on the major browsers, as well as on a variety of mobile device screen resolutions
After checking and rechecking the website, it’s time to upload it to a server. A File Transfer Protocol (FPT) software is used for that purpose. After deploying the files, the final test will be conducted to make sure that all your files have been installed correctly. After we confirm that the site has been deployed, we establish a backup schedule based on your needs so that should there be hardware problems, malicious intrusions, or issues with third-party providers you’ll always have a recent backup copy to restore from. It is also during this final stage that we begin “hardening” your website or server (if self-hosting). We lock down databases, limit root/admin access, obfuscate data, and much, much more.

EXPLORATORY

Estimated time: from 1 to 2 weeks

In this stage we explore and research. We gather information about technical and performance requirements. Information and decisions based on this research will dictate the pace and complexity of subsequent steps. For you, the Client, the most important part is to have a clear vision of your future website purposes, determine a design direction, and clearly define the user types you want to attract to your site. We will prompt you with questions to help us better understand your vision and develop the best strategy for further project management.

Planning

Estimated time: from 2 to 6 weeks

Based on the information gathered in the Exploratory Phase, the sitemap is created which will describe the relationships between the main areas of your website. Such representation provides insight into how usable the final product will be. Page relationships will indicate how easy (or difficult) it will be for the end-user to find the required information or service if they starts from the main page (landing page). The main reason behind the sitemap creation is to build a user-friendly and easy to navigate website. The sitemap allows you to understand what the inner structure of a website looks like, but doesn’t describe the user interface. Before starting to code or even work on a design, we require the Client to confirm that everything looks as expected so we can begin the next phase of development. In this case, a wireframe or mock-up is created. A wireframe is a visual representation of user interface that will be created; however it doesn’t contain any design elements such as colors, logos, text, etc. This outlines only describe the elements that will be added to the page and their location.
The other major part of the Planning Phase is to select technology stack that will be used – programming languages, frameworks, Content Management System (CMS) that you’re going to use. We will provide outlines of which technologies fit your needs, which technologies scale best with your anticipated growth, which technologies are well supported and documented. This ensures that your site has longevity.

DESIGN

Estimated time: from 4 to 12 weeks

During the design phase, your website takes shape. All the visual content – photos, image galleries, videos – is created and added at this step. Once again, all the information that was gathered through the first phase is crucial. We always keep the needs and requirements of the Client and target audience in mind to craft an elegant, unique, and purpose-driven website.
Upon completion of an initial design, you review the layout and send us feedback. If you are not sure about some aspects of the design or have design input, we make revisions until you are completely satisfied.

Content

Estimated time: from 5 to 15 weeks

Content writing and compiling usually overlaps with other stages of website creation, and its role can’t be underestimated. At this step, it is necessary to put in writing the very essence you’d like to communicate to the audience of your website and add calls-to-action. Content writing involves also a creation of catching headlines, text editing, writing new text, compiling the existing text, etc., which takes time and effort. Ideally,, the Client provides website content that is ready to migrate to the site. It is better when the final draft of all website content is provided before or during website coding. Don’t have the content fully fleshed out yet? Don’t worry; we have excellent copywriters, copy editors, and translators on standby to assist.

Development

Estimated time: from 6 to 15 weeks

At this step, we can finally start creating the website itself. Graphic elements that have been designed during the previous stages will be used to create an actual website. Usually, the home page is created first, and then all sub-pages are added, according to the website hierarchy that was previously created in the form of a sitemap. Frameworks and CMS should be implemented to make sure that the server can handle the installation and set-up smoothly.
All static web page elements that were designed during the mock-up and layout creation should be created and tested. Then, special features and interactivity are added. A deep understanding of every website development technology that we’re going to use is crucial at this phase. Don’t worry, we do our homework.
When using a CMS for site creation, CMS plugins will also be installed at this step if there’s a need. Another important step during this phase is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). SEO is the optimization of website elements – title, page names, description, keywords) that can help your site achieve higher rankings in the search engines.

Testing, Review & Deployment

Estimated time: from 2 to 4 weeks

Testing is probably the most routine part of a process. Every single link will be tested to make sure that there are no broken ones among them. We will check every form, every script, run a spell-checking software to find possible typos. Then we dig deeper using code validators to check if it follows the current web standards and is optimized for speed and security. Valid code is necessary, for example, if cross-browser compatibility is important for you. Based on your requirements, we will test appearance and performance on the major browsers, as well as on a variety of mobile device screen resolutions
After checking and rechecking the website, it’s time to upload it to a server. A File Transfer Protocol (FPT) software is used for that purpose. After deploying the files, the final test will be conducted to make sure that all your files have been installed correctly. After we confirm that the site has been deployed, we establish a backup schedule based on your needs so that should there be hardware problems, malicious intrusions, or issues with third-party providers you’ll always have a recent backup copy to restore from. It is also during this final stage that we begin “hardening” your website or server (if self-hosting). We lock down databases, limit root/admin access, obfuscate data, and much, much more.

blue-otter-designed-developed