Our Website Design Process in 7 Stages

Our Website Design Process in 7 Stages

Design isn’t pretty, it’s strategy. Designing a successful websites requires a well-thought-out plan. And that is why there are several stages to our website design process. Although the exact sequence varies slightly from project to project, the basics remain the same.

Graphic representing purpose and goals of the website

We are detectives, scientists and the archer in your site design process.

Stage 1: Analysis, Discovery & Gathering

The 1st step in creating a successful website is the collection of information. Before designing the look and feel of your website, there’s a lot to consider. And to develop a clear Website Design & Development Brief, we will ask you a lot of questions to get focused on understanding your business and the needs of your users.

PURPOSE: What is the main purpose of the overall website? Do you want to provide information, promote your services, sell your products or all the above? If a company says “all the above”, we then ask which one comes 1st? Because each page, even the homepage, should have one message at a time.

GOALS: What do you hope to achieve by setting up a website? Is it a brochure website to display your services; an E-commerce site to sell products; A portfolio website for a photographer; or a directory or forum? Whatever the goal, be clear from the start of the project.  

YOUR AUDIENCE: We look at your niche audience and take into account their age, interests, what stage are they at in the buying process, their location, whether their preference to your site is via mobile or desktop, etc. For companies whose target clients are other businesses, we consider the size of the business that’s viewing their site and who makes the purchasing decisions. We will create your buyer persona, which will help us find the best design style for the website.

CONTENT IS QUEEN: Content 1st design is the best way to present your message to your target audience. It is essential that we gather all the content, images, videos and copy (even if it’s not the final draft) to create a meaningful and purpose-driven design for each page.

"I ain’t Martin Luther King. I don’t need a dream. I have a plan."

Graphic representing strategy in our website design process

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data.”
– Sherlock Holmes

Stage 2: Planning

With all the information from stage one, we put together your strategic plan to determine the structure and effectiveness of your website.

A site map is developed, which lists the main topics/pages, their sub-pages and so on. It is the first step in the process of understanding the navigation system. This is also the point where we decide on the technology to implement, should we use WordPress or Shopify, should the navigation be a simple flyout menu or a stylized mega-menu, will you use your standard contact form or a smart form with multiple steps and so on. Planning is key, in our website design process, in order to serve your information and products to your audience in the fewest clicks possible.

By creating a well-defined project plan that outlines the scope of the project, its goals and objectives, we define expectations for our clients and ourselves. By showing the time frame for each step and the dependencies between the steps, we provide a visual reference for everyone involved. This creates accountability for all of us by outlining a delivery schedule that depends on everyone meeting their goals.

Graphic representing design in our website design process

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data.”
– Sherlock Holmes

Stage 3: Visual Design

After the planning has given us direction, a general visual overview, the next step is to create a wireframe. The wireframe images give you an overview of the content that will appear on each page, and how each page flows to each other. The wire images do not show the actual design elements, but they provide a guide to defining the content and hierarchy of the elements and pages. This will be used to guide each users’ journey from the initial presentation to product/service, to action. At every stage of the website design process there is a method to the madness, there is strategy.

 A company’s brand, such as the company logo, colour palette and primary fonts are also incorporated into the design to strengthen the visual identity and message. Your target audience is a key factor in the look and feel for your website. For example, a website for young millennial will look different from one built for realtors or mortgage brokers.

“Design is where science and art break even.”

Graphic representing coding

Translating your design into code to create an engaging user experience is all part of your website design process.

Stage 4: Development

Once your design has been approved, it is time to flesh out the design of the pages to be developed on our servers. Individual graphical elements are taken from the static preliminary design and used to create the functional, WordPress or Shopify, theme that determines the look of your site. 

Once the files have been developed, the content is populated throughout the site. At this stage we make sure the site is responsive, this means each page looks good on different devices, including mobile, tablet and desktop views that ensure that your website is accessible to the widest possible audience. Also, on the backend, the admin area of your site, software such as Google Analytics are added for data collection, SEO (Search Engine Optimization, security, speed and overall optimization.

Graphic representing testing in our website design process

Review, refine, test and tweak on the agency side, the client-side and the user side.

Stage 5: Review & Testing

This stage of the website design process involves thorough testing and is critical, as there might be issues that need to be addressed before the site goes live. There is nothing that erodes a brand more than a site that doesn’t function properly or that has misspellings or broken design elements. At this stage the site will need to be reviewed on multiple browsers (Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer) and multiple devices (laptops, tablets, and mobile) for compatibility checks. After it’s reviewed and approved on our development servers your website is migrated to your server where it is again reviewed, tested, tweaked and tested some more.

"The power of a website comes from the people using it, not the people making it".

Graphic representing launching a website

Review, refine, test and tweak on the agency side, the client-side and the user side.

Stage 6: Launch Day

The big day. You’ve tested the site, had it reviewed, it’s approved and we’re ready to launch. But once the site is launched, the project isn’t over — we should be prepared to address feedback from actual users adapting to the new site. Expect to make some immediate changes to the site, such as fixing broken links, editing copy and making adjustments. Your website is a fluid medium, a digital life that changes on a daily, if not hourly basis — like biology, change is inevitable.

Graphic representing user feedback

The last stage but also the continuing stage of our website design process.

Stage 7: Feeding & Maintenance

Websites are living, breathing entities and need constant care and maintenance. In order to bring repeat visitors to your website updating content, making changes to the backend and fixing broken links are all in a day’s work. Success of your website also depends on engaging your audience so it’s a win-win for everyone.

After each launch we offer continuing support and training to make sure our clients know how to maintain their website and thrive. If you would rather have us maintain the site for them, we would love to assist you with our Website Maintenance Plan.


All of these stages are critical to a smooth website design process and a successful project. Throughout the entire stage of creating your new website, strategy and consistent communication are the foundations to our collaborative design process. So, if you would like a brand-new website or a redesign of your existing site please let Laughton Creatves create your website to get you outstanding results now.