In order to gain a true understanding of the marketing industry, my university course requires me to undertake work experience alongside my studies. boxChilli offered a week, during which I shadowed individuals within the agency. This allowed me to learn exactly what goes on behind the scenes when developing a new website project. The biggest lesson I learned was how involved a new website project can be, and from an outside perspective, I’m sure there are thousands of others out there who are just in the dark as I was. So, here’s what I’ve learned customers can expect from a new website project…
If you think a web development project can be completed overnight you perhaps aren’t fully aware of the processes involved. Forgetting the initial design and build of a website for a second, a web development project will most definitely consist of meetings, multiple emails and phone calls between the agency and the client before any practical work can take place. This gives a slight indication on how lengthy the process is, and that’s not because the agency wants to go at snail pace or take up too much time! Creating a successful website is essential in order to enable the client to achieve its potential. Therefore, creative agencies such as boxChilli aim to display commitment and passion for each individual project and so all phases involved in a project are equally important with no part being overlooked, side stepped or rushed…
So what comes first!? After connecting with the client, whether it is the client themselves reaching out for assistance or responding to enquiries from the sales team, a relationship is begun. A ‘Project Definition’ meeting is next up, with a purpose to establish exactly what the customer desires. Whether it’s a complete overhaul of a website or to implement some important tweaks, it is essential for both parties to gain a clear understanding. Not only will the client describe their requirements, the agency will also explain the processes involved and define the ways in which they hope to achieve the anticipated outcome and ask for the appropriate materials needed in order to complete the task. After this initial meeting, a ‘Project Specification’ will be constructed and sent to the client to be read and approved. This already seems extensive and no solid work has begun at this stage, however all prior steps are vital to the project. Once the Project Specification has been approved, the creative bodies in within the agency can then get to work.
From an outsider’s perspective, you could assume that once the project has been given the go ahead, you can simply create the website, add in some design work, throw in a bit of content and there’s your website. No. There is so much more to a web development project that you may just not be conscious of. This is why it takes anywhere up to 6 months to receive a completed website from the initial Project Definition meeting. Multiple individuals are behind the success of one project, each completing specific tasks that you may not even know needed completing in order to ensure each website is built to the specification, matches the design and is built well, ensuring the client is satisfied.
The next step is to design the website, which is arguably one of the most important within the process. The design team work on all user experience, creating templates and designs needed whilst always in frequent contact with the client during this process. This is to ensure that they are content with the progress and to make sure that the work being produced is exactly what they envision. Design work is incredibly detailed and extensive as it is important for the graphic designer to produce work that will not only achieve the set aims, reflect well on the agency but ultimately generate business for the client. Once completed, all designs are signed off before going any further in the process.
It’s now time to build the website. Coding is vital in the process and requires specific key knowledge. After this is accomplished cross platform and browser testing will need to be completed.
The population of the website’s content then follows.
Then FINALLY launch.
The process may take a long time but the end result is worth it. The project will not only surpass expectations but aim to generate custom for the client.
By Lauren Harrison, currently studying Business Management & Marketing at Surrey University.