If you have a smaller project that doesn’t require graphic design, or those we term as ad hoc projects—small, impromptu tasks aimed to modify or enhance existing sites or apps—the process is shorter.
Usually, you meet with the Technical Project Manager who assesses your technical needs, and who later identifies the time and cost estimate needed to do the work. Upon your approval, the development immediately starts.
If your project is large and will be started bottom-up, here’s how we do things:
- Your partnership with us begins with one or more meetings. Initially, we review the tasks, the technology required, and budget concerns.
- From the very start, we immediately identify the framework, CMS, or specific development technology best suited for your site or app.
- If together we initially agree on these basic foundations of the project, we turn you over to the Project Manager for Design.
Creating the graphical concept
- You are introduced to the Project Manager for Design, also our Creative Director, for a series of meetings for an exhaustive requirements gathering.
- Her goal is to prepare the user interface of your system. To do this, she gathers from you all the details and requirements of your project, exploring your preferences, needs, expectations, design ideas, considerations. You will also present problems or concerns with your current site, if you have one.
- All meetings with us are held via Skype.
- You will agree with the Creative Director if you prefer that all pages of your system be designed in detail, or if several parts will suffice. Taking this into consideration, the Creative Director sends you an estimate of the cost and time needed to execute the design.
- Upon your approval, we begin the creative process. Based on the requirements that she has gathered, the Creative Director and her team of designers sketch out the graphical concept of your site: color theme, style, fonts, page elements such as buttons, banners, graphics, logos (if needed), layout of pages and sub pages, flow of the site, usability, and projected user experience.
- We present several mockups or design proposals for you to choose from. We let you visualize the site and get your thoughts about each page and its elements, until we fully capture your requirements and wishes.
- This process is dynamic, may be back-and-forth, as we work with you and accommodate your changes until the desired result is achieved. In every step of the way, our Creative Project Manager communicates with you regularly.
- Based on our experience, it is when the client sees how the site will most likely look like (the user interface) that more and more ideas come up. Here, we encourage you to learn scoping and determine the must-haves from nice-to-haves—with consideration to your budget and timetable.
- When you have given your stamp of approval for each page of your system, the design part is pretty much done. The design team then creates the CSS guides and prepares the graphic assets or cuts for the development team.
- All the design files and materials that are produced in this process are your property. Even prior to development, you have full and complete access to these PSDs, mockups, wireframe files, etc. We can send them to you through a file sharing system that we both will agree on.
- You are then turned over to the Technical Project Manager.
Planning the technical structure
- You are introduced to the Technical Project Manager whose goal is to lay down the technical plan of your site or app.
- We have different Project Managers, each assigned according to the technology that you want to be used for your project.
- The Technical Project Manager then creates a flow of your site or app, eventually coming up with the systems architecture that will serve as the backbone of your project. He does this guided by the mockups of the user interface that you previously approved. He reviews all the pages designed for your system and defines the functionality of each page.
- This part includes planning the database, identifying the needed modules and extensions.
- This part also includes a work plan, showing the division of the project into modules and tasks. If the project is huge, the Technical Project Manager prepares a Software Development Plan, indicating all the technical details. If you wish that a specific project methodology be observed (e.g., SCRUM, Agile, Waterfall), we also indicate that here.
- If there are parts or details that need clarification, the Technical Project Manager communicates with you.
- The work plan also shows time estimates, where the probable number of development hours that the project will require are calculated.
- From this work plan, the Technical Project Manager prepares price estimates.
- The Technical Project Manager sends you the time and price estimate for the development.
- At this stage, you can still remove or add functionalities. Major changes later in the process (or once the development has started) can hugely alter the schedule and budget. Thus, it is important to make final and crucial decisions at this point. As a rule of thumb, we advise that you keep additional changes to a minimum.
- When you accept the estimated time and price needed for your project—which means that we have likewise agreed on the scope—you give us a go signal.
- Any changes or additions after the estimate has been sent will require us to review the architecture if they have a significant impact on the current design—and if necessary, redo the estimate.
- We now begin your project.
Developing your site or app
- The Technical Project Manager assigns a team of developers who will work on your project. He orients them with the details of the design and functionalities. The size of the team varies depending on the scope, timetable, and complexity of your project.
- The developers program the pages, following the system and UI design. It is here that skinning, programming the system’s main functions, modules, and extensions are done.
- This is the longest part of the process.
- As the development progresses, the Technical Project Manager regularly checks the output of the team.
- The layout of pages and sub-pages are checked if they follow the design you have approved.
- Major functionalities are initially tested.
- The Technical Project Manager regularly updates you with the status of your project.
- You can follow the details through an in-house project management system that tracks in great detail the number of hours worked on the tasks and modules comprising your project.
- Before development starts, you are given access to the project management system so you can personally monitor the development of your project. All email communication between you and the Project Managers—your queries, changes, error lists, issues, and the like are documented and coursed through the system.
- You also coordinate with the Technical Project Manager via Skype.
- When the development has been done, the system is turned over briefly to the Design Team for design checking; that is, if your system has been made from scratch.
- The development then progresses to optimizing the speed of your site or app, and includes technical preparations for SEO, if you require.
- Your system will now be subject to QA testing. The Technical Project Manager assigns a software tester to do this.
- The QA tester checks the overall functionality of your site or app, all the pages and graphical objects, cross-browser compatibility, and UI in various gadgets if the site is in responsive design.
- All issues and errors found during the testing are fixed by the developer.
- When the system is ready, we let you explore and review it.
- We let you access your site in a staging server.
- It is very often that when clients see their system working, they immediately come up with new ideas to add to it—or they want changes done.
- As a word of caution, it is better that you focus your attention on the main aspects of the system at this time. We advise that you keep changes to a minimum.
- Too many changes can alter the design of the system, can affect interrelated modules, can affect the entire operation of the system, and can create and build errors. This also delays the launching of your site or app, and of course, increases the cost on your end. What you can do is to list down all modifications that you want, and have them implemented in the second version of your system.
- However, if the last-minute changes that you want are significant to your business model, we can perform minor revisions.
- Upon making the final changes, your system will be tested again.
- Your site or app is now ready to go live.
Installation and deployment
- The Technical Project Manager installs your site on a server that you chose. You are free to choose your hosting company.
- After all the necessary configurations are performed, we go live with your site—where it’s made accessible to your customers or users.
- For mobile applications, the finished app is submitted to AppStore, Google Play, Windows Store, open source host, or the like. When the app gets approved, it goes live and is made available to the public or to your customers.
- At this point, we consider the project as complete.
- Since this is the last stage, you are now given full access to your system.
- We turn over to you all source codes, files, and graphical materials that were used to develop your system
Support and maintenance
- We help the majority of our clients maintain their system, especially if they don’t have an IT department to do the task. Us maintaining your system is cost-effective for you, as we know the ins and outs of your system, down to the core.
- We can assist you with new changes and additions that you want.
- In time, if you are ready for a new version of your project, we can do it together.
- As mentioned, for smaller and impromptu tasks aimed at modifying or enhancing your site or app, the process is shorter.
- You send your change request through the project management system.
- The Design or Technical Project Manager processes your request. If the task requires clarification, a meeting with the Project Manager is set.
- You are then given the time and cost estimate needed to do the work.
- Upon your approval, the development or design starts. Upon completion, the change is tested and is deployed.