There are three major timing considerations in the design of a website:
When the designer will need your input: There are 4 major areas that tend to require the most work on the part of the business owner: The site map, the text for the site, photographs such as product shots or head shots, and feedback on the designs.
- Site map: Website design pricing is often partly based on the number of pages to be included in the site. So, having a page count is often required to quote a new site design project.
Having a full site map completed before requesting a quote can help ensure that all of the technical and functionality requirements are considered in your quote as well – which is important for accuracy of the quote. But, it can be difficult for entrepreneurs who are building their own website to create the site map on their own. Many designers offer site planning consultations that can help you with this important step.
No matter how it is created, the designer will need your site map before work can begin on the site. Determining the site map is important because the site map determines the navigation items for the site. The navigation is one of the major design and functionality elements on a website, so this information needs to be locked down at the beginning of the process to ensure that the design process goes smoothly.
This first page of text doesn’t have to be proofread or perfect at the beginning of the design process. The first phase of the Design of the website will be done as sketches, in a design application such as Photoshop or Illustrator. The text will have to be coded separately into the final website, so you’ll have an opportunity to make changes.
The rest of the site text will be needed when the sketching phase of the design is completed, and coding begins.
Secondary photos, such as head shots of your staff, or photos of products to use in the shopping cart, are typically required during the coding phase of the site. The very nature of these photos require that a more generic approach to using them be created because you want to be able to add more staff biographies and more items to your cart over time. So, they are not typically integrated into the design, but rather dropped in after the design is created.
If you’re planning to use stock photos, the designer will typically budget some time for searching for and specifying photos into your project fee. Ask them how much time is included under your contract.
Since web design is a many-stepped process, and many of those steps allow the business owner multiple opportunities for review, fast feedback is critical to keeping your project on-schedule. Delays in feedback will contribute to delays in the overall timeline.
And, remember, that keeping your project on my desk does you no good!