Map 2: Comprehensive Methodology for Developing Websites & Online Products
This second cognitive map lays out the five stages and their steps necessary to plan and execute a high-quality, efficient project to assess, design, or redesign websites, online-products/applications, virtualized business functions, communication functions, or ongoing projects. Each step also serves as criteria for the step below it.
The first three stages—Strategic Planning, Conceptualization, and Design—constitute the planning process. When budgeting for a project, it is helpful to distinguish these stages and Assessment from Implementation, because they are really a normal part of a company’s (or department’s) operations, rather than part of the development project itself. Management is represented as meta to the five stages, because it cuts across all of them.
Explanation of the Stages & Steps
- Strategic Planning involves deciding whether to try to realize benefits for your business through online or offline solutions, defining those benefits clearly, estimating budget and ROI, and deciding on exactly which of your users’ aims you will need to meet to realize those business benefits.
- Conceptualization includes creating a range of innovative high-level concepts for your website or application, and then choosing the best one. This concept is then spelled out in a detailed Informational & Functional Blueprint, to provide clear guidance to designers and programmers and ensure a result that will satisfy your users and achieve optimum business-results.
- Design includes user-interface (UI) design and prototyping, designs and plans for online marketing and web analytics, visual design, and content creation. We use the industry’s most advanced tools and methods for information architecture, UI design, and prototyping.
- Implementation of the Design includes coding, testing, and setting up the online marketing and web analytics that were designed in the previous stage. We do not offer these services ourselves. This allows us to advocate the client’s best interests by remaining technologically agnostic. At the same time, it enables us to collaborate effectively with programming firms that are the best fit for the client and the project. Please see Advantages for Clients for details.
- Assessment includes assessments of performance in many areas, including ease of use, user satisfaction, competitiveness, sales effectiveness, and, most importantly, business-benefits realized. These give you the information you need about your present website or application to decide whether and what to improve. They go on to recommend the best ways to improve performance.
Cutting across all these stages and steps is Management. This area includes diagnosing and rescuing troubled projects, collaboration problems within project teams, overall project management, site deterioration over time, and decisions about whether to manage your site in-house or to outsource its management.
The best time to call us is when you are just barely beginning to consider developing a new website or mobile application or improving existing ones. We can save you considerable time, costs, and headaches by getting the process off to the right start.
Alternatively, if you are already partly down the development road, we can check what’s been done so far and fill in any missing gaps in the plan, to make sure they do not cause serious problems later. We can also help with any of the steps of a project, because all our services are modularized. You can choose a service for whichever step you need help on, without committing to a package of services you may not need.
Please see Our Approaches for the key fundamentals that underlie our work.