Refining the web design process

The beginning of the year seems like a great time to get on top of some business issues that have been dragging along more or less unattended to for awhile.

In 2005, when I started my web design business, I wrote a process document that was really a stab in the dark, with tasks pulled from a few books. In 2006 I rewrote it, using information gleamed for the most part from a really good book by Kelly Goto and Emily Cotler – Web ReDesign 2.0: Workflow that Works (2nd Edition) (VOICES)“>Web ReDesign 2.0. This was a really helpful book for me but it’s written for those redesigning existing sites that are a lot bigger than my clients’ sites.

Last weekend I revisited my 2006 version again. It was not bad, but my process has changed as I’ve gotten better at, well, everything. Some parts are not there anymore, or fused into others. I also noticed that there are some things that I was doing early on that I haven’t paid much attention to lately, and that’s not good.

So I rewrote it again, borrowing from the Gogo/Cotler book, a few design articles I’ve read recently, and my own experience. The final document (Red Kite Creative Formal Design Process) is lean, simple to follow, yet thorough, and reflects both what I’m doing well and the things that I need to focus on more closely. Mostly those things are the pre-visuals, like writing a full project plan and wireframing. I sitemap thoroughly, but I don’t wireframe that much. In some cases I should be doing that more.

The process document isn’t a set of rules, but a record of the workflow that works well for me right now. It will continue to change, I’m sure. But I know that if I eventually have a partner or employee, I want this document ready to be used as an outline for the way I develop websites.

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