The site development process

The site development process is a dynamic process involving people with different skills. These include: graphic designers, content writers, programmers, information architects, etc. Each team has its own goal and priorities. The marketing team wants to create a sufficient amount of ad inventory; the content team wants text to be displayed prominently; the designers want to experiment with lay-outs.

A good way to tackle the problems is to first define the goals and objectives of the website. Some of the questions that need to be asked are: Will the user be allowed free access or will the user be required to register on the site? How many sections will be there? Will the site be updated regularly or periodically? Which technology will be used?

The team should also take decisions on issues like: space to be allotted to content and advertisements; the need to provide search facility on the site; the need to have chat rooms or discussion forums; the need for site support etc.

It is essential to involve the designers and programmers in the discussion. They are key members of the team, and must have a clear idea of what is planned. The designer cannot visualize a site unless he knows the focus of the site, the audience to be targeted and sections that are planned.

The same holds true for programmers. They must know the scope of the site. Only then they can decide how they will build the site. For instance, a programmer will have to redo his work if he is asked to include a search box after he has finished writing the code for the site.

In fact, the site design process is a very logical process. The first step in designing any site is to decide content focus and distribution (this is done by content editors); the second step is to visualize the design (this is done by web designers); the third and final step is to code the design (this is done by programmers).

The team work does not end with initial planning or launching of the site. This is an ongoing process. Any expansion requires the different teams to come together, and chart new sections. This has to be done keeping the existing site design in mind.

In a large website all these functions are performed in house. But the same may not be true of small and medium-sized websites. They will have to outsource the site development to a third party.

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