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Diagram Views

What it Takes to Build a Website

Joe Mayberry
#Design Advice, #Discovery
Published on April 23, 2014

Designing a website is a big project that involves a lot of people. Learn about how Diagram approaches a web design and development project.

As anyone who has ever done it will tell you, breathing life into a successful website is a big project. There are thousands of little things to think about, hundreds of big things to keep track of, and umpteen man hours spent actually getting the site ready.

Several teams will have their hands on your website way before anyone ever actually sees it:

  • The Discovery Team — This group helps you define and understand what the purpose of the site will be.
  • The Designers — This team lays out the wireframes and prototypes, adding color and personality to the site. At this point in the project, this is where ideas come and go like the wind.
  • The Developers — During this phase, things can get a bit hairy, as this team tries to figure out how to make everything work the way the designers intended. These people screw in all the nuts and bolts to make sure everything is working correctly.
  • The Users — This is your audience. They click on a link, and the page loads with all kinds of information. It's like magic, and they are okay with that.

I thought of the following analogy a while ago, and think it's the best way to put the life of a website into terms that anyone can understand: think of your website like an automobile (stay with me; this will make sense, I promise).

Now, in my simple world, there are four categories of people involved with the creation of an automobile:

  • The Designer – This is the person who decides what the car is going to look like — the shape, the color, how many doors it’ll have.
  • The Engineer — This person decides how it’s going to work and what kind of gas mileage it's going to get. They know where every nut, bolt, and screw goes, and more importantly, why.
  • The Mechanic – These are the people who keep the cars running. They are the troubleshooters of the automotive world.
  • The Driver – I fall squarely into this category. We put the gas in, turn the key, and the car runs. It’s like magic, and I’m okay with that.

See the similarities? Any large scale project needs people with very specific skill sets. These skills may overlap, or they may not, but they always complement each other in a way that breathes life into the project. Both the Designer and Developer (or Engineer and the Mechanic, in the case of the car) need to have a very in-depth understanding of how the project works, but they have a different focus, and the skills sets needed for both jobs are complementary.

But if you are having a problem, who do you want to take your car to? The Engineer can probably figure out the problem, but it might take them a while. They may need to dig into the car, and tear it apart to find the problem. The Mechanic, who is used to looking for problems, might immediately know what the issue is and how to fix it. The difference between an Engineer and a Mechanic is that the Engineer knows where to put the screw, but the Mechanic knows when to tighten it.

Websites are very similar. When there is a problem, you can go back to the team that originally designed and built the site, but a better solution might be to go to a group that specializes in troubleshooting websites.

Maintaining a Healthy Website

The same can be said for the general well-being of your website. Once your website is live, the work doesn't end there. Like your car, you need occasional check-ups, oil changes, tune-ups, etc.

A strong Content Strategy is one of the keys to a healthy site. You need to keep the content up-to-date, relevant, and appropriate for your audience. If you don’t have anything new, the reasons for people to visit your site will drop dramatically. Fewer visits mean fewer customers, which ultimately results in fewer sales, and no one wants that.

New content can come in many shapes and sizes, from a company blog, to curated articles, to information about new products and services that your company provides. The important part is having a strategy, and following it.

And occasionally, there will be problems. Things happen even on the best websites, and you need to address them, to provide the best experience for your users.

One Stop Shop

Diagram stands out from the crowd, because we offer many of these services. We have a team of dedicated designers and developers who build efficient, workable websites, and we a have a group of experienced support troubleshooters that can fix your site’s problems quickly.

And the best part is that those two teams work together closely and learn from each other. The developers learn what problems the support folks are dealing with and figure out how they can correct those problems during development, while the support team gains a better understanding of why something was done the way it was and how to better work with it.

Building a website is an exciting, frustrating, exhilarating, boring, and necessary part of business today. A huge amount of work will go into the Design, Development, and Testing of a site before it is ready for deployment. But the work doesn’t stop there. The web has a voracious appetite for new and updated content, and your site needs to help feed it. Plus, you need to keep your site tuned up, and address problems as they occur. Having a strategy, and a partner to help, can make all of the difference in the world. Do you have any questions about how Diagram can help you do all this? Please contact us, or leave a comment below.