When you approached the construction of a website (back in the day) it was pretty linear:

  1. Design in Photoshop/Fireworks
  2. Code-up design
  3. Integrate a CMS
  4. Drop in the content from a Word doc
  5. Test in desktop browsers
  6. Launch

Believe me it was never that simple, but from a 50,000ft view the work generally fell into those buckets in that order. And you hardly backtracked. Once the design was locked you really never looked at it again. After all, it was the design and the client had signed-off on it.

We’ve been doing this for a while now and we’ve learnt a lot.  The more discussions I read online the more roundabout it seems to become. Now I see the approach is more:

  • Collect, then divide content into content types
  • Structure content using POSH and employ something like OOCSS
  • Think mobile first
  • Test on multiple devices
  • Re-structure content using POSH & OOCSS
  • Create design elements in Photoshop/Fireworks
  • Look at implementing a responsive design
  • Integrate a CMS
  • Test on multiple devices
  • Launch

Of course mixed throughout this is persona creation, usability testing, information architecture, and user experience.  These things were around before, but now they seem more “baked in”.  Also the design, in my mind, becomes less up-front, though not less important.  There’s just a lot more stuff to do before you put those full color prints in front of the client.