Most designers tend to have some form of a website design process that works for them.
Some of them are more established, some are a bit more chaotic, but they still do their job.
Personally, I’m a checklist freak and my design process is a well-defined list of steps and deliverables which, sans a few rare exceptions, always follow the same pattern.
However, if you don’t have a web design process and tend to dive into your work straightaway without much planning, here are some arguments as to why having (and sticking to) a well-defined process is a good habit.
It reminds you about all the little things that need doing
A clearly defined web design process is your master checklist of everything that needs doing before you can give yourself that well-deserved pat on the back. Projects come in all kinds of colours and shapes, yet arriving at the final solution usually follows the same set of steps.
You need to create an initial moodboard, do competitor research, lockdown personas and key user stories, write your understanding of the brief and get it signed off by the client, produce some initial concepts and put them into a sleek presentation – the list goes on.
Some things are obvious (you can’t make a logo without having produced some initial sketches that get an official sign off first) but some can be easily missed (did you spare some time to properly research the client’s industry?)
Web design process is there to hold your hand and take you through all the essential steps and deliverables that will ensure your final solution is bloody marvellous.
It gives you greater control over your progress
We all sometimes have those panic moments when the amount of work seems to be piling up, we’re not sure if we can hit the deadline or how much more time we need to finish the project.
At times like this it seems impossible to focus at the task at hand and we end up trying to do multiple things at the same time, what sometimes causes even more trouble. Web design process is there to tell you how many steps you’ve already completed and how many there are still left to do.
Thanks to that you can easily gauge how much time you need for each of the tasks and soon you’ll find out you can hit that deadline easily. Knowing how good or bad your progress is gives you a sense of control, what, in turn, will put you at ease.
It helps you make that first step
Staring at a blank canvas can be daunting, but fear no more! Before you put any marks down on paper (or other preferred medium, but I hope I don’t need to convince you about clear superiority of pencil and paper) website design process will help you prepare yourself for that moment.
It’s a bit like getting ready for a battle with a dragon. Initially, even thinking about it will make you shudder, but after weeks of training and preparation you’ll be excited for that moment to come.
Similarly, having done all of the initial research and planning you’ll be eager to finally put some ideas down on paper.
It helps to keep you going when the inspiration is low
Just like website design process will help you make that first step, it’ll also keep you going when the inspiration levels are low. Creative block happens to everyone, but instead of sitting around and waiting for motivation to magically reappear, you can focus on what else needs doing that you can power through while your creative batteries are recharging.
There will always be a bit more research or documentation to produce that will take your attention away from the thing you’re stuck with. However, if there’s nothing else for you to do, go out and grab some fresh air. If it worked, add it to your creative process.
It helps another designer to pick up your work when you can’t finish the project yourself
Sticking to the same website design process across the whole team is especially helpful in an agency environment. Sometimes we need to take a longer unplanned break from work and the project can’t wait for when we’re back.
At times like this another designer might be required to jump in and pick up the unfinished work. Following the same process will help them find their way around much quicker and minimise time spent on figuring out what else needs doing.
It makes clients happy – they know what to expect from you
Clients like to know what they’ll get for their money. I don’t think any of them would tell you that they like being surprised. After all, they’re buying a website that is meant to hit their business goals, not the main course in a restaurant.
But as soon as you show them your process and tell them what they can expect from you, they’ll love you. It’s like sharing a little secret. As soon as you do it, chances are they’ll want to play for your team.
I hope these six reasons are enough to convince you into adapting a website design process yourself. Embrace the checklists and let them guide you through the chaos that creative practice inevitably is.