A good Web site design requires a detailed initial planning phase. Before starting to code your web site, pick up a pencil and paper and sketch out your web site design. Creating the stylistic conventions and conceptual structure of your web site beforehand saves time during development. Whether you are creating a single personal Web site or working on a professional Web development team, you save time and improve quality by thoroughly planning the site design and development process before you start creating it
What are your objectives for building a Web site? You may want to gain visibility, provide a service, sell a product, create a community, attract new customers, or disseminate information. Although the content may vary, a good project outcome requires a sound development process to ensure that you have valid and achievable goals for your site. A good project plan encompasses all stages of the project and is accessible to everyone involved. The complexity and depth of each stage of the planning process can vary based on the complexity of the site.
Figure1 shows a typical high-level project plan. The lifecycle of the project is the complete project plan from inception to completion. Stages can overlap at different points in the process. As the project evolves, design changes must decrease to ensure a successful implementation, meaning that the beginning of the project is where most design experimentation should occur. As the project progresses, the design must become stable for successful completion. Major design changes cannot be introduced late in the project without significant rework and risk of extending the project schedule.
ü Requirements and Specification: In this stage of a Web development project, the client presents the requirements for the Web site. Requirements are the list of customer needs, such as search ability, tabbed menu navigation, particular color and branding requirements, or anything else that will create the desired outcome for the site. The Web project team must analyze these requirements for viability and then break them down into tasks. The Web project team works with the client during this stage to analyze and define the audience. After analyzing and defining requirements and determining the user profile, the team prepares a project specification that contains the design requirements, page layout sketches, audience definition, and technical requirements.
ü Graphic Design and Page Template Creation: All page layouts start with a mockup that is usually just a sketch of the desired design. Designers can submit the page layout mockups to the Web site stakeholders for discussion and critique. Generally, you create a mockup for each page layout in the Web site. These mockups can be easily edited and changed based on feedback and input from the design team. As the design becomes more stable, the mockup can evolve to a more refined state, often called a wireframe.
ü Construction and content Development: When the design stage is mostly complete and page designs are stable, the construction stage can begin. This stage encompasses all of the technical development of the site, including page coding and validation, application development, and content preparation. Some testing occurs during this stage of loading content in page templates and evaluating the performance of applications or multimedia.
ü Quality Assurance and User Testing: As the site construction nears completion, the quality assurance and user testing phase validates the design of the site. The development team performs various tests for cross-browser compatibility, accessibility to all users, and connectivity at different bandwidths. They test links and all user interfaces, data forms, and multimedia technologies. Usability testing ensures that users can access content, navigate through the site, and understand the taxonomy
ü Publishing: During this stage, the site is published to the Web or the organization intranet, and the client begins to publicize and promote the site. This includes making the Web site address available in all collateral media, such as print and broadcast; advertising on other Web sites; registering with search engines; distributing press releases; and starting publicity campaigns.
ü Maintenance: This stage begins at the moment the site goes live, as Web content must be updated and kept fresh to remain vital. New sections of the content may be added that restart certain phases of the project lifecycle, such as new audience definitions, designs for new content areas, or the design and development of new interface elements or interactive features.