Building a functional website is a big undertaking. Much like a clock, many things must operate in just the right way for everything to go smoothly. With all these different things moving at once, how do we make the process of building a website as efficient as possible? There are many things that can be done to ensure an efficient web process.
Involve All Departments Early
In a traditional web agency setting, there are individuals who are concerned with different aspects of the project: someone is involved with the site content, another with design and user interface, while another is concerned with the user experience and functional requirements. Allowing these individuals to communicate together early on allows the project to develop holistically. As a client, you should consider these things early on in the process.
Use Pre-Existing Frameworks and Standard File Structure
Once the strategy and design of the website is finished, the project gets handed down to the Development team to start bringing the site to life. Whether the site is being built in WordPress, Joomla or even straight HTML; the site will need a basic structural framework to build from. This is where the use of pre-existing CSS Frameworks such as Twitter’s Bootstrap, Foundation or Gumby reduce the workload and standardize the markup for the developers. What the use of these frameworks means for the client, is a shorter development time for the projects.
Each of these frameworks comes with extensive documentation making it easy for developers to understand the proper markup for different features they wish to implement. Since the framework is using a standard markup rather than something custom written by one developer, it allows for multiple developers to work on a project at one time.
The QA Process
Once the project has been fleshed out into a working website, it needs to go through a series of QA sessions. Car manufacturers do not send their products out into the world without going through rigorous testing, and a website should not either. The website should be tested for responsiveness across various devices, cross-browser compatibility, and to make sure it meets the function requirements outlined by Content and Design. The website should also stand up to certain usability guidelines such as: Google’s Mobile Usability test, page speed load times and W3C standards. When selecting a web company or completing your project, ask about this phase. Another great question to ask is how many Browsers and versions will the development team test for. The answer should be at least 4 browsers back 3 versions a piece.
Here are some normal bugs you can test for yourself to ensure the quality of the build:
- Test all of the links
- Try resizing your browser to see if the website responds to the change in width.
- Test the forms to make sure they are sending properly.
- Be sure that all images are showing properly and are not being “stretched” or pixelated.
Having an efficient web development process will help to finish your project on time and either on, or under, budget. It also involves collaboration between different departments during the early stages of the project and continued communication during. Making use of existing frameworks will speed up the development process and make it easier for future developers to maintain the site post-launch. A QA session will ensure that your web project is ready for the real world and stands up to the high code standards of the web. Sometimes the easiest way to ensure that these web-dev best practices are followed is to partner with an expert who can help you navigate the process more smoothly. Whatever your path to the efficient development of a website, ask questions along the way so that you can reach your goals with minimal stress and maximum transparency.