Have you ever tried to build a house without a blueprint? How about constructing Ikea furniture without instructions? Or better yet, have you ever tried driving to Mississauga without a map or GPS? These are all challenging tasks, but without the proper guidance or planning, they can all become downright impossible. The same could be said for developing your web design project without a flowchart – sure it can be done, but the end result will not be pretty. In fact, the flowchart is the most critical part to your website development project, and without it, there’s very little chance your website design project will be a success.
At Rebel Trail, whenever we are welcoming a new client, we are always curious to know how their last Toronto web design firm treated them, and what were the issues that led them to contact us. Most of these new clients will cite problems during both website design and development stages. The problems range in type and complexity, but almost all of them can be traced back to a lack of a flowcharting stage. In fact, when we ask these new clients if their previous designer ever developed a flowchart, the answer is almost always ‘no – they went straight from the contract to the design of the website’. Clearly an important website development stage has been missed.
Using the house construction analogy, could you imagine a house being built without a blueprint? Imagine the construction crew haphazardly building large sections of your home with no forethought, strategy, plan, or coordination. Would you want to live in the end-result knowing that it could collapse at any point? Now imagine how much it would cost to fix all the mistakes that were made. Unfortunately, we see this kind of development in the web design industry all the time. Some website foundations are so bad that we must start from scratch.
Rebel Trail uses five basic development stages for any website project, and these stages are always customized to the client’s unique needs. In order these stages are: contract, flowchart, design, development, deployment. The flowchart stage comes immediately after we have signed a contract with the client – it is always the very first stage. The website development flowchart is a document that maps out every webpage in your website and shows how they link together. The navigation of your website is clearly defined in this document, and graphically shows you how a user will navigate from the home page to any other page on your website within one click. Further, all functionality of your website is fully documented in the flowchart. Even if your website has simple functions like online contact forms, we will document what information these forms contain, and how that information gets to you instantly. For more complex functions such as custom applications, this functional documentation is invaluable as it charts the information flow precisely.
The flowchart forces you to think of the website from the user’s perspective and streamline the processes for them. Functions that may look good in a photoshop design can sometimes fall apart when applied to a live website, so the flowchart helps us avoid those mistakes. We also document your admin system, or content management system, in the flowchart so you can see exactly how information you input into the website will be presented to your users. This allows for unlimited client customizations so that we develop a system that works perfectly for the client’s unique needs. Further, we provide you with unlimited revisions to the flowchart with no alteration in the website price. You can take as long as you’d like to make sure the flowchart perfectly accomplishes your goals.
It normally takes about 2 weeks to complete a website development flowchart. This process is guided by one of our professional website consultants and Rebel Trail does all the work. We will consult with you every step of the way and present you with unlimited revisions. The flowchart stage is only complete when you, the client, are thoroughly satisfied with the results. We then have a solid blueprint for your website and can confidently proceed to the design and development stages.
Of course, this question always comes up: “What if I want to make changes after the flowchart is complete?”. Having been in business for over 22 years, we know that even with a completed flowchart, new ideas can arise during design and development, and we want to do everything possible to encourage those great website ideas. Website development flowcharts should not be ‘carved in stone’, rather they should have the flexibility to accommodate new ideas and growth. A good flowchart attempts to see into the future and predict what future website development phases may include. New ideas that arise post-flowchart phase should be welcomed and easily integrated into the overall project scope.
If you are considering a Toronto web design project, make sure the project plan includes a flowchart stage. It may add a week or two to your development timeline, but the time and costs it saves from a poorly development website is invaluable.