It’s the Final Countdown!
Now we’ve reached the final stages of our web design project, it’s time for The Lifecycle of a Web Design Project Part 3: Testing and the Launch. If you haven’t already, check out Parts 1 and 2 – you’ll learn about the planning, research and strategy that begin the making of a website, then the design and build, and how we marketing whizzes go about filling a site full of lovely, effective and emotion-stirring content.
If you’re up to date, let’s begin our third and final stage. First up, we’ll detail the testing that goes on before the magnificent new website can go live, leading up to the all-important launch!
Stage One – Testing, Testing 1,2,3
The Quality Assurance Phase
Now that we’re in the quality assurance phase, testing is a critical process. At this stage, although we’re close to the finished result, with a fantastic front-end design, we need to ensure usability for visitors and that everyone is receiving it as our dedicated designers intended.
By first establishing a plan, we test functionality in a methodical manner, and therefore as efficiently as possible. We also test the site’s performance, across all platforms and devices. This involves elements such as bug testing, inspecting, debugging and profiling, as well as testing cross-browser functionality with a number of technical tools and programmes.
We will establish with the client the browsers, devices and connections that are most likely to be used to access the site; this helps us to prioritise our testing methodology. By breaking down our huge to-do list into much smaller segments, our developers can focus on the aspects that are most relevant to the new site’s audience. This helps to determine just how much testing is going to be required.
Avoiding the “Why Isn’t This Working?” Phone Calls
We’ll set a timeline for the entire test; a timeline that incorporates the initial testing, fixing the bugs and then retesting it all again. Functionalities to be tested often include the general navigation of the site, search forms, links and image carousels, and our performance reports will include metrics from Google’s PageSpeed Insights, to determine how quickly the site is loading. Part of a web developer’s job is to keep going back until all of these are not just satisfactory; they’re at their very possible best.
These stringent tests can be ‘testing’ – but the result is a better website with significantly fewer bugs and top-notch user experience. And far fewer “Why isn’t this form working?” phone calls from the client! Once the site has been tested to within an inch of its life, the client is happy, our web design team is happy; well…It’s ready to go live!
Stage Two – The Launch
First Impressions Count
The main purpose of any new web design project is not only to get maximum traffic and engagement, but to establish the client’s brand as a new authority in whatever niche they’re filling. We plan our web launches like an event, with a strategy that begins months beforehand.
All of our final web design projects are built to leave a great first impression, with a clean, easy-to-navigate design and a strong message. We make sure that they’re not too overwhelming (not with too many options or full of dreaded ads) and branding that makes it clear why the site (or company, or product) exists. By making it easy for people to read and share the content, leave comments and subscribe to things like newsletters and emailers, user experience will be positive and enjoyable.
We’ll ensure that on launch day, there are multiple pieces of highly-valuable content for the website’s visitors to get their teeth into. This helps to establish the website as an indispensable resource that will serve the new audience in such a way, they just can’t help but subscribe.
Launch with a Bang, with the Right PR
To ensure a launch with a bang and not a whisper, we’ll have already started building relationships in the client’s industry, through a host of different marketing activities. This includes using social media to reach out to key industry figures and influencers, as well as existing websites or profiles that have a similar target audience to the one we are looking to engage – for example bloggers that write about similar topics.
We’ll update the client’s collateral with their snazzy new branding and provide content that others will feel compelled to share; building a network that will be used to eventually market the new product or service. PR techniques help to influence the community we’re building and generate a buzz about the new site – we’ll write snappy press releases and alert all relevant and local media, until they’re just as excited as we are.
Occasionally we’ll organise events to showcase the new brand, and we’ll always roll out an email campaign to any existing contact data that the client may hold. By optimising the launch with a plethora of online marketing tactics, we’ll get the new site launched on the right foot, giving our client’s investment the best possible chance of business success.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our Lifecycle of a Web Design Project. If you have any questions or would like to find out more, contact one of the K2L team or hit us up on social @K2LMarketing or www.facebook.com/K2LMarketing.