In this post I'm going to reveal the magic of site development and tell you how I have created my own one.
I have been working in web development industry for 6 years, however it was completely new experience when I became a customer. I was surprised to discover new aspects in this process.
In my experience, creating a site consists of 8 steps (it's almost a typical pipeline).
Planning. Creating requirements specification
A customer describes the main requirements of the future site, his preferences, gives references that he likes. After that, engineers and people involved in the project create a detailed specification of requirements that describes the customer's desire more formally.
This is the most important stage of the site creation as it’s the foundation of the future solution.
I put both hats - customer's and project manager's (PM) on my head, so I could describe my vision in details).
Usually at this stage, there should be design and interface development. But I did back-end (programming and database) part in the first place. I developed a very minimal UI for data output.
I chose this approach as I had a certain vision of information to be placed on the website and its order. At the next stage, a designer made a nice interface based on the skeleton which I had created.
I asked Sergei Krasovenko, the art director of the Headliner studio, for assistance and made a request to develop a design for my site. I truly appreciate his works.
We can hear some designers charge a lot for their services and it doesn’t make sense. But in my opinion, the exterior - sells. The impression is totally based on visual representation and user experience which a customer gets at first sight.
Right design can make a good first impression from a product as well-thought UI makes your customer even more satisfied in the process of product usage.
My recommendation is always try to deal only with designers whose works you really enjoy.
When the design had been accepted I contacted a front-end developer in order to put our cool ideas into practice, because as a customer I already wanted to "press buttons" in my browser.
It's a typical situation that you get a different feeling while using interface from viewing images created by the designer. At first, when I touched a prototype of the design in the browser I got many ideas about the improvements in UI. After zillions of changes and bug fixes, the result was achieved.
Compose front- and back-end
At this stage, I connected the front-end with a previously developed back-end part. As expected, it resulted in a bunch of bugs to fix and things to improve.
This step proved to be the hardest one for me.
From my previous experience, customers were responsible for content. In some cases, we collaborated with copywriters.
Writing the texts was going veeery slowly. It took much more time than programming the entire functionality of the site.
Server and infrastructure
Many people just pay for web hosting and it's the right decision in most cases. But, as you could have guessed, I’m not used to choosing easy ways. I configured a server on Ubuntu.
I simply enjoy controlling all the components of the system.
Test. Improve. Repeat. (TIR)
This stage usually lasts for a long time. In the process of testing, people usually get new ideas for site improvement. In my case, this process also was accompanied by different small and big changes.
It's very important to have balance between perfectionism and realistic deadlines. First of all, you need your site to start working for you, not vice versa.
Website development is a complex and long-term process. Even the experience didn't help me make it fast enough.
When you hear the price of a website and find it expensive, relax for a second. Have you? Now, just estimate how many people should be involved to carry out each of the site components of high quality.
You should know that creating a site is a long way. The vector changes in the process of movement, it's inevitable to face unforeseen problems — and it’s absolutely normal. It's kind of our whole life reflection.
I’m pleased that you are currently reading this article on my blog and have the opportunity to share it with others. So, all the efforts weren’t in vain.
Thanks to everyone who participated in the development of the site!