For Part One, click here. For Part Three, click here.
Now that we’re underway with the assets and website expectations, a CMG internal kick-off meeting provides our team with the huddle needed to launch into the content creation, design, and development phases. What’s so invaluable about this part of the design process is for the meeting of the minds and known variables to come together, as well as any additional brainstorming that could spark.
CMG carefully selects each team for a web design project, so when it comes to kick-off, the project already feels well into production, and the seamless transition from one phase to the next naturally occurs. In each kick-off team, you can expect us to discuss design direction and inspiration, sitemaps and calls to action, internal and client expectations, and timelines.
Discussion of market competition, successful metrics, and more also are discussed at kick-off. We’re not in the business to destroy others, but we succeed in the business because we create a product that achieves greater results.
Web content strategy is just as important to the website design as the design process itself. At this point, your CMG content strategist will have been immersed in your brand and business marketing strategy and will be able to craft a message designed toward leads and conversions. Website content is a vehicle created to promote your brand and entice users to act, whether that be to purchase a product on your e-commerce site (conversion) or to call or fill out a contact form (conversion and/or lead).
While written content doesn’t always dictate the overall design of your website, it has a heavy influence on the design direction. You’ve probably heard that content is king, which rings true in SEO, so we work hard to achieve your brand’s reach in the market. We do this by telling your story and answering any question your potential customers might have. That way, you’ve provided them with informed decisions, and they come knocking, digitally or physically.
Here’s a boring list of the amazing things that go into content creation:
It’s okay to admit the weaknesses of your existing website. It’s also great to know the strengths. We’ll be there guiding and assisting you in every step, so any weaknesses can be turned into strengths. Let’s find what can be done better, and we’ll work that into your site’s design.
As you can tell by now, it takes a lot more than just signing a contract and getting a site built in a couple of days. At CMG, we want your design to do the talking for you when you’re unavailable to sell. And when your site is operating as your storefront or point of contact, we aim to maximize those opportunities using the strategy and energy needed to reach your ideal customers. Our expertise is applied and communicated to you in every step of the process.
When it comes to the design phase of the website design project, our web designer takes the content written by our content strategists, the design assets provided as well as the branding, the design direction discussed, and the goals of the project, and works to build a strategic website design in congruence with the team’s research and strategy up until this point. Because the magic happened way back in the discovery phase and with your business marketing goals, our designer has been well-equipped to hit that ball out of the park.
Creative direction is not only given to our web designer, but is also expected of our web designer. CMG has been building a team for you before they even were part of CMG, because our confidence in our team is second to none. We’re so confident in that because of our dedication to communication with you all along the way.
The first set of deliverables you can expect to see in your website design can be either flat mockups or actual interactive designs (preview site), depending on the scope and size of the project. These visual design drafts represent the user interface (UI) of your website, and you can expect your CMG web team to demo the site to you upon delivery (in person or via video conferencing).
Upon review of the initial website design, you’ll take note of how our designer crafted your vision, message, and goals into the visual user experience (UX). The following are common parts of a website’s design:
The UX represents a user’s overall experience of your website. When you receive the first draft of the website, you’ll want to give it a thorough critique, from your perspective and the perspective of your users. How did the designer capture your story? Where do you see your users taking action? How does the flow of the visual experience on each page sell your brand? Was there anything missed that can be added to enhance the user experience?
A good design will lead users naturally from start to finish, from page to page, etc. CMG’s expertise in UX design speaks for itself, but that doesn’t mean we will always deliver exactly your vision for your users, so it’s crucial that we collaborate from the first draft through to launch day.
CMG website design most likely takes multiple rounds to reach the final draft, but it’s always possible that you reach design approval early in the design process. Design approval simply means that you agree that you approve of the designs created for your website. For large scale websites, design approval can occur before all content is placed within the framework of your preview site, as it’s expected that some pages of the site will follow a template created within the design rounds.
Per the design phases and our contract with you, there is room for revisions and changes between each round. You can expect to see these changes at the start of each round, which you can then review and provide additional feedback. Once you’ve approved of your website’s design, it moves into development, which is exciting in its own way!
The last person to perform magic on your website design is our web developer. The web developer’s job is to make the web design user experience functional and enjoyable, so users can fully interact with the various working parts of your website. Our web developer will set up the content management system (CMS — most often WordPress), work in the code, and build the site per the design.
In the end, you’ll have a site made up of HTML, CSS, PHP, JS, blah, blah, and it’ll be splendid! At CMG, we regularly maintain our sites for best practices, up-to-date software, performance, and more. If we’ve agreed on ongoing partnership, our development team will continue to provide support and maintenance to ensure your online presence stays strong.
18 South 9th St, Ste 201, Columbia, MO 65201 | 573.499.1830