The Kick-Off phase of a website re-design is the most important phase of a project.
The Kick-Off is a chance for both sides- the client and the web developer to meet face-to-face and brainstorm new functionality for the website. This meeting should in no way be sparse, and should cover as much as possible about the clients goals and objectives for their new website. The web developer should be very clear in laying out the scope of the project, and what the web development team can and can’t handle.
Content writing and SEO are elements of the website re-design that Mindutopia does not handle, though we can connect clients with specialists in those areas. Discussing the responsibilities of both the web team and the client helps to minimize any confusion and highlight the areas of the website that need work that would be external to the web team so the client can shop around for those services. Nothing is worse than almost launching a website and talking with the client about a service you don’t provide that they thought you where going to handle for them.
Often our team uses construction analogies, to talk about site design, because often times it is an easier, tangible concept to understand.
First we talk about the idea of house- it’s just and idea in your brain so what are the wants, needs, and desires for a new house? 3 car garage? Swimming pool? Large deck with built-in grill?
These two may seem un-connnected, but they are. When building a house it’s a lot easier to build these elements when they are outlined early on and planned for. Sure you can add a swimming pool or a bathroom in the basement after the house has been built- but often it will take more time, and will be expensive. It’s the exact same in web development. When we know a functionality element is needed on a certain page it is a lot easier to design and then develop with that element in mind.
To brainstorm ideas the project manager and designer ask questions related to the Kick-Off document that was sent to, and filled out by the client. This kick-off document asks questions about the project and current site including project timeline, content, site aesthetics, and functionality. All of these questions play an important role in creating a new custom web site tailored to the clients needs.
The Kick-Off meeting is also a time to set expectations- and that design and development for web cannot be done in a snap of a finger. Good website design and development takes a lot of time, effort, and research to make sure that all of the elements described by the client work in concert with each other. When discussing timeline we like to break website re-design into 2, 8-10 week phases: 8-10 weeks for Design and the same for Development. Within those, we break out work into more specific 2 week stages.
In Design, there is the Sitemap, Wireframe, Design Direction and Final Design stages. While in Development there is Initial Development, Content Population, Project Site Review, Testing, and then Deployment. All of these states have multiple steps that need to be checked off before completion, but none of them could be even started until the Kick-Off meeting has been completed.