Web Project Workflow
Over the past year we’ve worked on a range of projects, some old, some new, some being redeveloped. As we’ve engaged with project teams, we’ve met a wide variety of understanding, readiness and skills required to take on developing a digital media project.
This has often caused difficulties in our development cycle as people approach things from different angles and points along the path. So much so, that we now ‘enforce’ a more structured workflow and process cycle to ensure all aspects are thought though and considered.
This process has been evolving for us, but it has been something I’ve personally just done innately for projects – I have just never sat down and written it out on paper. As usual, the act of doing so has refined the process itself and helped our teams on the ground follow what we’re doing.
So here it is. It’s not perfect, it won’t be right for everyone or every situation, but will hopefully be a good starting point as you think through the steps of your next digital project.
All projects start with an idea! This could be a community need, a passion for a people group, or an App or website/service concept. Either way it’s important to flesh this idea out to the point where you can succinctly communicate it quickly.
Concept & Research
This is where you validate your idea. Test it out with others, gather some hard research that demonstrates the need, provide a great use-cases and discover any other relevant surrounding factors. It is mission- critical to set out the overall vision and goals you intend to reach through this project.
Once there is solid evidence that an idea could work, the planning stage enables us to focus on User Centered Design and figure out exactly what kind of digital media will be employed (website, mobile, social, video etc.). It might even help you decide if digital media is the right choice for what you are trying to accomplish.
The result is a project design. For a website, your design work will form the starting point of a website structure, or app wireframe. From here on out things get very agile and iterative.
As the title suggests this stage is about creating everything from early mockups through to finalised layouts and pages/screens for websites and apps.
The mockup and wireframe process may require going back to the Planning stage to make amendments or additions, and is somewhat governed by the build stage where coding constraints or developments may impact on the design and plan.
Building the project will often begin in tandem with the visual design as the two stage work hand in hand.
In our case with a solid platform at our disposal and many features already available to us it is typical that custom components for highly specific tasks are worked on along with any front end user interface features.
As our experience and platform grows this stage allows us more freedom to push boundaries or really refine and polish aspects of the functionality being built.
Depending on the project this stage may include anything from promotion and marketing, final platform training and testing. There are of course always a few technical items to thrash out that can only happen at the very end of a build too.
Often overlooked as a development stage, with the job seemingly done at the Launch, right? Well, we need to be constantly refining and perfecting our work based on feedback and usage and there will always be some degree of support required.
This ongoing stage is where you really see if everything you planned and designed for panned out and works in the real world, with real people! It is highly improbable that you will launch with a site that requires no tweaking.
It recognises too, that there maybe an iteration back to a previous stage to get something right, or maybe it’s a case of adding features and upgrades to an already great job, taking it on to the next level.
Additions and alternatives?
Sure there are plenty of ways to slice this up and different terms we can use for each stage, but this is our approach right now, until we figure out something works better or makes it easier.
I should add that throughout these stages there are many other background activities going on too, such as training, resourcing and establishing the long term road map of course.
I hope this helps anyone looking to plan out a digital project or practitioners looking for a way to put on paper what they do everyday. It should at least help others to see all the ‘activity’ that goes on during a digital media project build.