HTML and CSS Reference
A Web Design Process
There is no universal, one-size-fits-all, written-in-stone procedure for designing and constructing a website,
and the process we describe in this chapter is by no means the only approach you might take. With that
said, it's important to establish some kind of process and to follow a logical sequence of steps to keep your
work—and your thoughts—organized and on track. Developing a website without a plan of attack will only
lead to frustration and chaos.
Every site you build and every project you undertake will be a little bit different, each with its own unique
challenges, but all your web development ventures will share a few common guiding principles. With
experience, you'll find a process that works best for you, and you'll also find ways to make your process
adaptable enough to handle the curve balls every new project throws at you.
Generally speaking, most websites go through some form of the following stages:
Stage 1: Plan - Before design and development can begin in earnest, you need to know what it
is you're designing and developing. Formulating some sort of plan is crucial, especially when
you're working as part of a team.
Stage 2: Design - When you know what you're making, you can begin to think about how to
make it. Layout, color, typography, imagery, sound, and even the style of writing all add up to a
unique user experience.
Stage 3: Develop - This is the actual construction and assembly of the site, the nitty-gritty code
wrangling that transforms all that planning and preparation into a working reality.
Stage 4: Test - Having executed the plan and built a beautiful, engaging, well-polished website
with all the moving parts in all the right places, you should next try as hard as you can to break it.
Find the flaws and fix them until you run out of things to fix.
At the end of these steps is a completed site, ready to deploy to a server and release to the World Wide
Web. But before we skip to the end, we'll dig into each stage a little deeper.
Stage 1: Plan
Before you write a single line of code you should formulate a plan. The first stage of any project is a
process of discovery and analysis so you can know what it is you're building and for whom you're building
it. Defining goals early on will help you stay on target in every decision you make along the way, always
moving toward a specific outcome. Deciding just what those goals will be and how you might achieve them
demands some consideration, some research, and asking some important questions:
What is the site meant to accomplish, and what sort of information should it impart to that end?
Who will be using the site, what do they want to accomplish during their visit, and what
information will they need to achieve their goals?
Are there other websites that fulfill the same need, perform similar tasks, or appeal to the same
audience as yours? If so, what do those sites do right? How could they be improved?