Design Process

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Describe the professional design process?

If you Google “Design Process” there are many different schematic that are presented other that the one that is outlined on our D2L lesson.  Many of them may have different name, but Planning seems to be the most important step in beginning any type of process.

Design Process Diagram

— flow diagram from

The design process can be categorized into 4 phases:  Discovery, Planning, Creative and Application.

Discovery and Planning deals mostly with research, gathering information and defining the problem.  This involve interview and research with all of the people involved in the project.  You might want to determine who is going to maintain the website after deployment and the contractual relationship with the client afterwards.  The Planning part also deals with matching the right technologies (JavaScript, CMS, PHP/SQL), budget and hosting needs.  At this stage we need to define and assign the correct roles to the team members — do we need an outside contractor for back-end programming.  Technology planning is important — how many people are going to visit the site.

IA/UX deals with the Information Architecture and the User Experience.  IA is how information should be categorize.   So when you start with information gathering process, it should meet the needs of the user not necessarily the client.  These first 2 phases can take up 50% or more of the project life.  Having gone through the process in both web design and software programming, I found that it can actually be as much as 75%, because once you have the design specifications, coding actually can be very quick especially if you are in a large design or software company where each role is more specialized.

During the design process, technology should always be kept in mind — what technologies are needed for the solution? For example, is the website dynamic? , does it require a database? Do we need JavaScript, flash animation or a slide show to enhance UX?

In the creative phase, you apply your ideas and coming up design resulting in a mockup or prototype.

Content is the information on the website and how it should be organized.  In other words: “what is on what page”.

The last process is deployment.  This involves installing the website and testing.  This can also include website marketing, tracking metrics, evaluation and maintenance.  Depending on the type of website, training staff member maybe involved.  The process and testing and deployment can iterate many times.

Why is having a process essential?

It is essential to have a guideline or blueprint to the web design process.  Although each step does not having to be followed precisely, .it gives the designer a starting point on where to begin.  It a way of categorizing the process so you know what stage you are in — a way of charting your progress from beginning to end which is also known as “Project Management”.    Importantly it show your client where you are in the process.  The design process it not necessarily a linear process, each process can iterate many times.  You may find that you might have to going back the beginning.

Where do you feel you might best fit into the process, ie., which roles you’re best suited for now, or would like to know about?

I am the “Jack of all trades” in the design process because I am an independent contractor.  I currently have a programming degree in Computer Science and am currently working on the Web Development Certificate.   I have also taken a few courses in design from the GCOM department and would like to pursue another certificate in Web Design.  I would like to specialize in designing websites for non-profit organizations.


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