Six-Phase Cycle of the Web Development Process Model
The Website Development Process is a six-phase cycle that requires a design team to complete design documents, called deliverables, before proceeding to the next phase. Activities for completing the deliverables are assigned to specific members of the design team at each phase in the process. The development cycle begins with Discovery and concludes with the Post-Delivery phase. However, as you will see, the cycle does not really end, but loops back to the Discovery phase, accounting for one of the few absolutes regarding Web design: The site is never final. The following MouseOver illustrates the phases and the major deliverables of each phase. Pay close attention to which documents are delivered at each phase, and think about how they fit into the process at that point.
What is the Website Development Process Model?
Website development is a complex process that involves a variety of tasks and considerations. A well-structured website development process model should include six key elements, each of which contributes to the success of a web development project.
Project Definition: This is the preliminary stage where the project's scope, goals, and deliverables are defined. It involves understanding the client's business, target audience, and competition, as well as identifying the main functionalities that the website needs to support. This information forms the foundation for the entire project.
Information Architecture: The information architecture is essentially the blueprint of the website. It outlines how the site's content and features will be organized and interconnected. This element involves creating a detailed sitemap and wireframes, which provide a visual representation of the website structure. These tools guide the design and development process, ensuring that the website is intuitive and user-friendly.
Design and Layout: This phase involves creating the visual design of the website. The design should align with the client's brand identity and cater to the preferences of the target audience. The layout, color scheme, fonts, graphics, and images are all designed during this stage. The focus here is on creating an engaging and aesthetically pleasing user interface that also promotes usability and accessibility.
Testing and Quality Assurance: Before the website goes live, it undergoes extensive testing to identify and fix any bugs or errors. The testing process includes functionality testing, usability testing, compatibility testing (across different browsers, devices, and operating systems), performance testing, and security testing. This rigorous quality assurance process ensures that the final product is reliable and delivers a smooth user experience.
Launch, Review, and Maintenance: Once the website passes the testing phase, it's ready for launch. After deployment, the site is closely monitored to address any issues that may arise. The website should also be regularly reviewed and updated to keep it relevant, secure, and functioning optimally. This includes applying updates, adding new content, improving SEO, analyzing user behavior, and making necessary adjustments based on user feedback and performance metrics.
By following this structured process model, web developers can ensure that they produce high-quality, user-friendly websites that meet their clients' objectives and provide value to users.
Discovery Phase: Statement of Need, Request for proposal (RFP) developed
Definition: Response or Proposal, phase concludes with signed contract
Web site development is continuous and iterative. Once a site is launched, it continues to grow and evolve.
Each time a component is added to a site, the Web development team is likely to follow an abridged version of the original development process, adding to the original deliverables information about new features. In the process cycle, Post-Delivery loops back to Discovery.
Throughout the "Website Development Process", the web team will work with the various components of the Web Interaction Model. For example, during the Design phase, the team will initially describe the signs and metaphors in a document often referred to as the Creative Brief. The information architecture is detailed in the Navigational Brief and strategies regarding software, hardware, and the network are described in the Requirements Definition and the Design and Architecture Specification.
The following series of images provides a high level model for how the process works:
Discovery comes first, when initial contact between parties is established, and general requirements are assessed.
During the definition phase the client team and design team develop a contract based on client needs and Web team capabilities.
When the needs are defined, the team outlines their ideas in the Design phase.
With approval of the design, the team can proceed to carry out the plan in the Development phase.
The team delivers the finished product to the client in the Delivery phase.
Post delivery completes the procedure with documentation and plans for ongoing maintenance, including site metrics.