What was next on my to-do list for HYH Management? ‘It’s not rocket science what we need next, right?’ was put to me.
And if I thought that’s the only question to address immediately I was wrong! It just happened that one of the artists managed by HYH was in need of website too. Therefore it was double sites go go go!
I tackled the process the same as one would ‘bake a cake’! I know what that sounds like, but for me the principal is the important part here. You need ingredients. You need a recipe. You need a final product (one of those pictures in cooking books of the cake all beautifully done!)
So, here’s my ‘recipe’ that I followed to ‘bake’ these ‘cakes’…. the ingredients were as follows:
Brief, Groundwork, Creative, Growth, Launch and Continuation
With one part (the logos) in place one would think the next phase will just ‘fall in place’. Oh no. Not that quick and not that easy. A challenge though, which I always love.
It is imperative that you first need to talk about the look & feel. Although I had a good idea of what the company and the client stand for and how they would like to be perceived, there was still the need for a proper conversation so that I know I am on the right track for when I take to the ‘drawing board’ and start creating something. In this case the words slick, simple and striking came up immediately. (I personally like these 3 S-words!) Topics of discussion included their… target audiences, goals, content, resources and budgets. With a good BRIEF under my arm I went away to get the show on the road.
Nothing is more important than planning. Once you work out a good plan it is much easier than to poke around in the dark. To kick the process off I did some research into sites of similar companies. I find it’s always good to know the competitors out there. This will eliminate duplication and drive one to be more creative. With mockups and a few ideas in my head a good brainstorming session with all involved delivered excellent results. I got some great feedback on suggestions for page layouts and usability. With the GROUNDWORK in place, it’s on the the next phase.
I’ll admit this part is most probably my most exciting bit! The design part for me is a thrill! To configure colours, artwork and typography really get the CREATIVE ‘juices’ flowing! Visually the site needs to be appealing. Figuring out backgrounds, buttons and layouts to work across devices like tablets and mobile phones are exciting. Compatibility is a must in today’s world. It depends on the visitors which device will be used most so in this case it was very important that the mobile version of the site works smoothly. An outcome that I’m very happy with!
Once armed with an abundance of visuals it is time to develop the site and make all the creative elements ‘come alive’. So it’s here where vision turns into reality. BUILDING a site with the given tools (however limited) of the chosen server can be really challenging. Nowadays there are so many servers to choose from that one is spoiled for choice. However, the client’s budget doesn’t always allow you to select your favourite to work with. My motto is that it’s a server and I won’t let it control me – I will control it! Quite a bit of time can be spend manoeuvring and integrating the content. Understanding what can be done and not within the given server is order of the day. It can be frustrating sometimes, but the end result is what counts! And I believe I mastered it!
This should be the most exciting part I think. However, it’s the most nerve recking for me. That moment where you click the ‘publish’ button for the LAUNCH is utterly worrying. I tend to test, test, test and test again! Make sure that links to external sites and email addresses work perfectly. There is nothing more embarrassing than finding out buttons to pages and other sites don’t work. I can’t stand that happening. Eventually the moment has arrived – and then… click! Voila! It’s live – and the site is kicking! I do like the bit where I can update the clients’ Twitter / Facebook / Instagram etc. with notifications that they are finally part of the web. It causes great satisfaction I will admit.
After a sigh of relief with the launch, the final part of this ‘recipe’ can be put in place – maintenance of the site. CONTINUING to update the content regularly with info and visuals is an ongoing service I provide. I keep an eye on how it functions and supply the client with SEO statistics of visitors: when it happened, from where and how often. Ensuring support (technically and creatively) in all areas is an important task and a great one too. It is very fulfilling to continue working within what I created. And great when the statistics prove that whatever I did was the right path to choose.
So, there – my ‘cake’ (aka website) is ‘baked’ (aka created) and ‘tastes’ (aka works) as good as the picture in the book! Or as they say… the proof lies in the ‘eating’ (aka looking)…