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Process

1. Strategy

Your site strategy is based on the intersection of your organization’s site objectives and your users’ needs for the Web site.

We examine the site strategy during our Discovery Meetings. During this time, we interview key stakeholders in the project to understand the answers to questions like:

  • What is the primary objective of the Web site?
  • What other secondary goals can be accomplished through the site?
  • What is the single message you want visitors to understand from the site?

In order to understand the typical user better, we solicit information about your target audience to get a better understanding of things like:

  • What content do they want to get from the site?
  • Which of this content is most important?
  • What “trigger words” would they use to find that content?

Together, the site objectives and user needs form the site strategy, which is the foundation for every decision in our process as we design the user experience.

2. Scope

Based on the outcome of the Discovery Meetings, we develop content requirements and functional specifications that fulfill the site strategy.

We determine the most appropriate content that can serve as a mediator between you and your audience. Sound content helps both parties to get to know one another better, creating a mutually beneficial connection.

Likewise, we determine the appropriate features to offer the audience to fulfill their needs and satisfy your site objectives.

By defining and documenting these requirements, we ensure that everyone – on every level within the project – understands the features of the Web site that we are building.

3. Structure

Providing a quality, intuitive user experience is an essential, sustainable competitive advantage and can increase your brand’s integrity.

In order to create a positive user experience, we must have a fundamental shift in how we approach the site structure. Instead of thinking of the home page first – and where to send people from there – we must think of the content first, and then how best to get the user to that content.

The conceptual structure must be developed from an external focus, rather than an internal focus. The site structure is determined based on the user’s needs.

4. Skeleton

Building upon the site structure, the site skeleton must facilitate users’ movement through the site and understanding of the information.

We must remember that it is possible that a user will enter the site from a page other than the home page. Therefore it is imperative that we develop a layout and system for the site that immediately gives the user a sense of context. The site’s headers, sub-heads, copy, images, and navigational system must work harmoniously to help the user understand where they are within the site and how to get to other appropriate parts of the site.

A clean, consistent page layout throughout the site facilitates understanding of the content and build users’ confidence in the site.

A balance of copy and visual stimulus, along with the proper “chunking” of information helps users understand the hierarchy of each page and helps the user “hunt out” the information they seek.

5. Style

The visual presentation of your Web site must convey the appropriate tone and give immediate visual cues. The site style should enhance the message and not distract the audience. Visuals are best used within the context of the content to help communicate a message, and as part of the interface to convey the brand and encourage a high level of interaction.

6. Production

Our team of detail-oriented designers, web producers and production managers bring the whole system together. Graphic production, final copy edits, XHTML/CSS, CMS integration, plugin integration, database integration, a graphic standards guide and training.

Brandshake Creative Process
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