It’s no secret that the web design industry is booming. Whether you’re a freelance web designer or part of an in-house team, having a streamlined workflow is essential to your success. A well-organized workflow will help you complete projects on time and within budget while ensuring that your clients are happy with the result.
To help separate yourself from competitors and boost productivity at work, we recommend approaching web design projects using a well-defined workflow process. So how can you build an ideal web design workflow that fits you and your team?
This complete guide will cover everything you need to know, from understanding the basics of web design workflow to implementing techniques that’ll take your projects to the next level. By the end of this guide, you’ll have all the software and knowledge you need to streamline your process and build unique websites that your clients will love.
Let’s get started!
What Exactly is a Web Design Workflow?
A web design workflow is a collection of procedures that address each stage of the website-building process. It includes everything from the planning stages to the post-launch period and doesn’t just consider the design process.
Its objective is to make it simple to move through the web design process so that you can monitor all of the steps from beginning to end. It also aids in determining which team and individual tasks must be finished first to keep the project on track and avoid any roadblocks.
Why Do You Need a Website Design Workflow in Place?
A workflow is a process. It’s a series of steps that you take when building something. So why do you need a website design workflow in place? The answer is pretty simple. It will help you be more efficient, organized, and productive.
With a workflow in place, you’ll always know the next step. This means you can eliminate wasting time figuring out what to do next. It also helps ensure that you complete tasks in the correct order. For example, if you’re building a website, you would want to wait to design the visual elements before you wireframe the site’s structure.
Moreover, a workflow helps keep everyone on the same page. For example, if you’re working with a team, everyone must know what steps to take and in what order. That’ll help avoid confusion and guarantee everyone is working towards the same goal.
How to Develop a Web Design Workflow
Developing a web design workflow that suits you and your team can seem daunting. However, it’s pretty simple once you understand the basics. This section will lead you through the steps necessary to craft a fitting workflow for your next web design project.
Get To Know Your Users
A website user’s experience is only as good as their ability to navigate the site. You need to understand your users and how they will use the site. In this case, collect client details such as industry, target audience, competition, logo, content, and anything else you think will be helpful.
Define Personas and Their Needs
User personas are fictional characters that represent a group of users. They help you understand your users better and make decisions about your website’s design, content, and functionality. Typically, the user experience (UX) team researches and analyzes user personas. However, as a web designer, you should also have an excellent understanding of them.
Gather Requirements for the Website
Before creating a website, you need to know what the client wants. Unfortunately, this is where many designers need to correct things. They get caught up in details like color schemes and font choices, which are optional at this stage of development.
Instead, focus on gathering information about your client’s goals for their new site—what does it need to accomplish? Additionally, you’ll want to note specific requirements that they might have, such as a certain number of pages or content types.
Wireframe the Structure of Your Site
The next step is to wireframe the structure of the site. Wireframing is a vital part of the web design process, as it gives you a framework of how it will function and look. It’s also helpful to establish a blueprint early on. This guarantees every page element has its place and that there are no gaps or overlaps in your design. Moreover, wireframing allows you to determine the user journey and how they’ll interact with the site.
Gather Feedback on the Wireframes
Once the wireframes are complete, it’s time to get feedback from your users. You can do this in several ways: interviews, user testing sessions, and statistics. This feedback will improve the wireframes and ensure that they’re on track. Also, don’t forget to ask for suggestions from your team—they may have insights you haven’t considered.
Build Visual Mockups of Key Screens
After getting feedback on the wireframes, you can now build visual mockups of primary screens. Visual mockups are a great way to communicate your ideas, get feedback from clients and other stakeholders, and ensure that you’re on the same page as developers.
This part includes building high-fidelity mockups or fully-rendered versions of each page. Creating a mockup is likewise an opportunity to add your personal touch and style to the project. But, again, they don’t need to be perfect—they need to give a general notion of what the actual product will look like.
Build a Style Guide
Another valuable component is a style guide. Notably, a style guide is a document explaining how to implement, use, and alter elements of your site to build a consistent experience. In addition, it will ensure your team is on a similar page by providing clear guidelines for how members can use website components.
As your project progresses, the style guide will evolve—adding new colors, fonts, and details as time passes. Hence, it’s handy for maintaining a consistent look and feel across the entire site.
Prototype Different Interactions
Meanwhile, prototyping is the best way to test your website’s user experience before you start building it. You can use prototypes to test different features, interactions, or UI elements. This will help you to identify any problems early on so that you can fix them before development begins. For example, you could test how users interact with a search bar or sign-up form. By doing so, you can determine non-essential items and simplify the design.
Gather Feedback on the Prototype
Once you’ve completed your prototype, gather feedback. Ask people who use the tool or service you’re designing. Use their feedback to fine-tune the prototype. Prototype development is an iterative process.
Finalize the Design and Gather Approval
To finalize your design and gather approval, you’ll need to:
First, make sure the project is complete.
All content should read well, all visual elements designed, and all functions tested. Finally, get client or manager approval by presenting the project in its entirety. This step is critical to success since you must ensure the decision-makers are on board with your creation.
Schedule a meeting to walk through the project, or send over a video explaining your design decisions. If you’re presenting in person, prepare to answer any questions or make changes on the spot.
Get everyone on board with the final version.
Ensure your team is employing the most up-to-date version of the design. Send suppliers the approved design files if you work with outside vendors, such as a printing company. Get sign-off from the client or manager to avoid scope creep down the road or disagreements about the project.
Once you sign off, get it in writing (email is acceptable). Then, if any changes happen after the fact, you have something to refer back to.
Test your site again.
Before you launch your website, test it one last time:
- Go through all the pages and check for any errors.
- Then, run spellcheck, test all the links, and try out any forms or other interactive elements.
- You’ll want to test the site on numerous browsers and devices.
- You’ll also wish to try any new functionality you’ve added.
Please take this opportunity to create a training document or video for the client, so they know how to use the site. Likewise, see to it to iron out any bugs before you launch the website. Once you’re confident that everything is working as it should, it’s time to launch.
Use the Right Tools to Grow Your Workflow
You’ll need to use the right tools for the job to get the most out of your workflow and make it more efficient.
- Use intuitive tools: The goal is to minimize the time you spend learning new tools. If you find software complicated to use, it’ll only slow you down. If your client has already decided on the platform to use, you must stick to it. However, if the client is on the fence, it’s best to choose from this content management systems list with a comprehensive review.
- Use reliable and flexible tools: The more flexible the application, the easier it is to use in various situations. An excellent example is a site builder that lets you create a website without any coding knowledge. Another example is a task management tool that will enable you to create custom workflows for your team. With platforms like these, you can readily adapt your process to the changing needs of your business.
- Use fast tools: The faster the app, the more productive you are. In the same way, there are numerous solutions today that can automate various processes and tasks, like Smartsheet. Automation can help you speed up your work without sacrificing quality. Moreover, tools like this can distinguish bottlenecks in the process and lets you focus on more crucial tasks.
Map Out Your Web Design Workflow and Get More Done
Creating a workflow can be pretty complex, but it’s also crucial. If your team works together efficiently, you’ll save time and money, and you will only be able to get as much done in a day as possible with an optimized system.
A web design workflow is essential for any designer. It helps you keep your projects on track, streamline the design process, and get more done in less time. By following this guide and mapping out your workflow, you’ll be able to create websites faster than ever!