The source of our creativity at Six Half Dozen is our collaborative approach to design. The process initiates in a discovery session, where we listen and discuss ideas first, then explore possibilities with the client based on our conversation. Ideas for the new website content, messaging and strategy begin with a team brainstorm. Every client of ours is different so every website should be too. Each design looks and functions uniquely; geared to our client’s requirements and taking into consideration their brand, services, needs, and objectives.
Looking at the solutions from every perspective is our speciality. Here are some thoughts from the Team at Six Half Dozen.
Q) What are the design phases that the client can expect in the website design process?
A: The quick answer is that each project is unique in some way, so the process does vary quite a bit. Ideally, we meet with the project team to brainstorm and explore options for the website, taking notes on what all we are aiming for, then we begin outlining the site architecture. We make our suggestions on which areas we can eliminate, what new areas we can create, where we can work in graphics and video to engage the audience and how we can really create and tell their story. The simpler the better in most cases, the purpose is to educate the audience and encourage them to get in touch with the organization.
Once planned, we determine who from our team should be involved. Based on if we are rebranding, designing supporting print material, producing some video content, or if we are simply redesigning a standard website, we build our team in order to accomplish everything in a quick and consistent way.
We’ll then present our design concepts, review feedback and continue working on the creative messaging, visuals, site structure and content layout until we are ready for development. This is when we move from static PDF designs to a functional site and things start coming to life. Once complete, we walk our clients through the functionality, launch through the selected host company, test the site on all devices, and hand over the keys. If at any time after launch a client has a question or needs assistance, our team is fully trained to help out quickly, or to guide them to make the edits desired themselves.
Most of our clients enjoy the fact that we aren’t just a web design company, we are a team of creatives ready to help market their organization across all media.
Q) What is most important thing to cover in the initial client meeting/discussion?
A: The most important thing to cover is the client’s business and what types of services they could benefit from at 6HD. We do this by listening! Most potential clients are excited to talk about their business and explain the different needs they have from a design firm. Based on those needs, we tell them about past experiences we had with similar projects and show them specific examples. Showing them our work after we hear about their needs makes for a much more personalized meeting and lets the potential clients know we’re experienced and understand their needs.
Q) What is the biggest challenge in the website design process?
A: One of the biggest challenges in the website design process also happens to be one of the most important parts of the process, and that is how to effectively design with the user in mind. A website can look beautiful and have all the bells and whistles, but if an individual can’t easily find what they are looking for on the website, then it’s ineffective. Our goal when designing websites for our clients is to organize the content in the best way possible that is intuitive for site visitors to navigate. It also means creating design elements such as sliders, buttons, drop down navigation, and sidebars to highlight important content that allows individuals to engage with the site. That’s why we spend time creating a site architecture with the client before the design phase even begins, because a well organized site is essential for it to be effective.
Q) Which is most important in the design process — written content, visuals, functions?
A: There’s a principle in the design world that simply states, “Form follows function.” A lot of what we try to do during the initial meeting is to get a good understanding of what it is a client is looking to accomplish. Are they trying to gain exposure, reach a new audience, speak to their current audience, modernize their brand, illustrate their process…? I find that once we know a client’s intentions, it allows us to better focus our brainstorming and explore design options that help achieve that purpose that may not have been brought to the table during the initial discussions. Content and visuals always find a way to fall in line from there!
Q) What gets you excited about a new project?
A) I explore ways to implement new UI trends into our designs—especially creating immersive content that can quickly grab attention. A strong visual can quickly summarize a message. With parallax imagery and dynamic video content we’re able to explore new ways to catch the eye of users. 2017 and beyond is going to be an exciting time—full of rich, engaging content.
Q) After research is completed, what is your next step in the design process?
A: After research is complete, I like to loosely sketch my initial ideas onto paper. From these visual references, I then play around with concepts that will work separately and together. With a wide selection of elements, the initial design process becomes more efficient and fluid.
Q) How do you stay ahead of trends in website development?
A: I check a dozen sources every day to get the latest news on coding, security, new technologies and many other things related to website development. This daily routine along with other developer forums and news feeds allows me to share examples and capabilities with the design team, as well as ensure we are developing our clients’ websites to function properly, quickly and securely for many years to come.