Website Design and Development
Websites are much different now than they’ve been in the past. They are a communication, information, and entertainment tool all encapsulated into one functioning and appealing space. Websites of the past were purely functional, designed by engineers who didn’t put thought into how they would look, feel, and be used by everyday consumers. They were confusing to navigate and unattractive to look at. They’ve come a long way. Today, websites have to be sleek, user friendly, and informational. Having a website is now a necessity for a business. However, companies cannot just slap some pictures and information together. Real thought and care needs to be put into design, functionality, and the possible future of the website.
Torque, a website development firm in Chicago, designs and develops websites that support the strategic business and marketing objectives of our clients. We seek to understand the company’s goal for the website and the role it can play to deliver on those goals. We understand that websites are replacing brick and mortar storefronts, increasingly becoming the main product and interface for an entire company. Websites are also living, breathing business tools that are continually receiving new content, links, and functionality. The design process must allow for unseen future requirements and improvement as the organization becomes more skillful in the digital world.
A website also must convey the brand image and brand experience. We do this through message, design, and rich media content. We keep in mind the brand’s identity when we determine how the site is meant to look, what it should say, and what type of information and interactivity we could and should include as content. Websites also are wonderful tools for integrating social media and digital marketing by posting links to Twitter or Linkedin or blog posts and videos.
Agile Web Process
Developing a website in an agile way allows us to check in with the client on a frequent basis, constantly iterating on design and content strategy over the whole course of the project. We involve the client and stay in continual communication, collecting feedback for every stage of the process. Instead of doing everything in the “Waterfall” approach, where everything is created in a bubble and then released all at once, we release the product incrementally to analyze for changes that might need to be made.
Our process for engineering a website project from start to finish is complex and draws on many capabilities and contributors. We work with our clients to teach and lead them throughout the process.
We view our website design and development process in three phases:
Discovery & Planning
In this phase, we learn about and connect with our clients, identifying business objectives and the marketing strategies necessary to achieve them. Our user experience designers, information architects, and digital search strategists work to develop a clear structure and approach to content, balancing business goals with users’ needs throughout the site. We also start to explore how the brand experience will be best portrayed through colors, type, photography, and overall layout.
Design, Content & Marketing Integration
In our second phase, we get into the meat of the site. We create strong content that will express the brand and connect with the user. We find the right photography and typefaces to express the brand and integrate design themes across the site, optimized for every screen size out there.
Development & Programming
In the final phase, we write code to develop the site’s full functionality, including any third-party integrations. We have the development resources to build sites in open source CMS platforms like Drupal and WordPress. We also install Google Analytics to monitor how users interact with the site and some demographic information about the user base. This gives us information going forward to be able to make well-informed decisions to improve the website.