A new development process

Happy to launch a site for a close friend today: third-design.co.uk is the new site for Architect Technician Samuel Fitzgerald.

For this build I worked my preferred development process. The majority of site builds follow a similar process of: wire-framing, design and finally build. For this site, as I was taking on both the design and build, instead of wire-framing, I went straight to building out a prototype once the initial research and sketching (with a pencil!) was done.

The main advantage of this process is speed. In my experience, you simply get to where you want to be quicker and the main reason for that is content. Wire-framing, and designing, without content can be a frustrating process for the designer, but a very common one in my experience. A site is defined by it’s content and should work to present the content in the best possible light, in all device sizes.

By going straight to building a prototype, the client can start populating the site immediately with their images and copy, and the process of refinement can begin at this point.

I’ve had countless projects where fundamental decisions are made at the conventional build stage, way after the wire-frames and design stages have been signed-off. This isn’t (always) the client’s fault. The disconnect between low and high fidelity designs and an actual site means that you don’t really know what you’re getting until it’s too late, and your swiping around your new site.

For Third-design, I took a: prototype, refinement, design, and then final build approach – the build stage being actually refining and refactoring the prototype.

Although not always possible, I will be suggesting this process to all future projects.