This is part #5 of a 6-part case study blog series in which we walk through the actual process behind the creation of one of our custom website designs.
If you missed out on any of the previous posts, you can view them here:
We’ve now collected everything we need to begin the actual creative, visual design work.
We’ve had extensive communications with Hemingways, generated page layout skeletons called wireframes, reviewed the designs used by competitors, explored potential design directions and styles, compiled final decisions into a written Design Document, and transformed the spirit of that Design Document into a website design moodboard. Hemingway's copywriter has also provided us with their homepage's final content.
As soon as we had Hemingway’s moodboard approval and their copywriter's final homepage copy, we started synthesizing all the pieces and parts and information and conclusions we'd collected over the previous month and began working on the website's actual design.
It was time to take the skeleton layout of the wireframe, dress it with the textures and colors from the moodboard, and translate it all into a final design.
Some designers/design companies begin their website design work by focusing on the homepage's design. Others feel strongly that it makes more sense to work on the design of any page that's not the homepage first.
Here at DisplayGround we prefer to begin designing the homepage of a website before we work on the design of any internal pages. We like how the homepage appropriately sets the mood and tone for the rest of the site—and to our clients, it just seems to make good sense.
We worked, reworked, proofed, updated, tweaked, revised, altered, and adjusted our design over the course of 2 – 3 weeks. On week three we presented Hemingways with our proposed homepage design.
Because we'd engaged in so much discussion and planning with them prior to beginning the design work, nothing in our design was seen as shocking or disappointing to Hemingways.
Over the next few days we made a small number of minor tweaks to the design, finalized the rotating slideshow images, and received approval in full for the homepage's design. The process was then repeated for two other pages within the site.
As it's neither cost-efficient nor an effective use of time to design and receive approval for every single individual page within a website prior to building a site, a limited number of representative pages are designed and presented to a client for approval. These pages set the foundations of what the remaining pages in the site will look like.
In the case of Hemingways, we designed and received approval for the Team page (in the About section) and the Kenya page (in the Our Destinations section). During the site-building stage, we then used our expertise and design capabilities to apply the style of the approved designs to the remaining pages in the site.
The approved Team page:
This is the top section of the approved Kenya page:
And this was one of the featured properties lower down on the same Kenya page:
Though they never used them up, each time we presented a new design to Hemingways, they were allowed up to three rounds of revision requests, per the project's Scope of Work agreement.
We define a revision request round as a single presentation of a group of change requests. Whether that group contains requests for two changes or it contains requests for ten changes is entirely up to the Client. (If we were to receive a a group of 20+ change requests all at once, we'd know that something was wrong and a serious miscommunication had happened somewhere. Due to the thorough nature of our work though, we've never experienced anything like this.)
Requiring changes to be submitted in consolidated groups encourages efficiency and organization. It prevents requests from trickling in here and there at different times, and it keeps delays to a minimum.
Any work required due to additional revision requests (for the Hemingways project, this would have been after three rounds) is simply billed as hourly work. Hemingways did not request more than three revision rounds for any of their design comps. In fact, our clients rarely feel they need more than two.
Upon receiving final written approval for each of the page designs presented, the vast majority of the design work for the Hemingways project was finished. Next, we moved forward into the development stage of the project.
Join us next week for part #6 of our website design case study for a wrap up and review as well as an explanation as to how all these steps translate into exceptional designs.