My process and toolbox - Chris Allen

My process and toolbox

Starting a project is never about creating a beautiful, aspiring website, that should be a given, its more about the bigger picture:

  • What is the purpose of the project?
  • Who will be using the website?
  • How will they get to where they need to be
  • Will the results be monitored?

These are the key questions I’ll always ask my client and of myself, do I understand it well enough, and will this make me answer my brief as comprehensively as I can?

What is the purpose of the project?

Does the client have a new product they need to market, and what is the reason for beginning  this project, it might just be the old online presence is outdated and needs updating, even so, when they last updated their website it might of served its purpose of just having something nice online, but things have moved on, and we need to ask the client…

What are your customers looking for? and what are you looking to sell to each and everyone of them?

Tools used here, are both my personal research into the client and Google Analytics for gathering the data of search histories, what the traffic is looking for and where they find it.

Google Analytics
Google Analytics can be used to get an idea of the current ways customers interact with the website

Who will be using the website?

Now I’ve got a much better understanding of the client, and a little into the services and products they are about as well as more information of how their customers interact with them, I can start to understand more about their customers. I do this by building up personas of their customers, from a the ranges of the customers they have, for example:

John Smith 
40 year old male 
Shop Owner
John is workaholic, he has little time for anything else but his record shop, however, he is a complete techie, and loves his iPhone, he loves using it to buy everything from his holiday to his weekly shop at Sainsburys. In a nutshell, everything has to be done quickly to keep up with John’s lifestyle

Jackie Kingsley 
65 year old female 
Retired librarian
Although Jackie likes shopping, she is very nervous online, despite all her training in her working life as a librarian, she likes to be hand held throughout every step when buying things online, she often asks her grandson to come and help, but she thinks he’s getting annoyed with it.

This example of personas are highlighted as the core customers of the client and must always be taken into account when planning a project. I have a bank of personas in the forms of cards, with a picture of them, and more information on their background, to me, they are more of a real person, and those are the ones that need satisfying to spend their money with the client.

How will they get to where they need to be

Now I have an idea of the solution that is needed and the customers that will be using it I can start to think about how they will be doing that. I will use Sketch to create wireframes, I have a bank of core elements that can be re-used to save time, things like navigations, form elements and images, I’ll always use images using the same ratio, so wherever there is an image element, the same images can be used, so when I get to visualising the images, one ratio can theoretically be used everywhere.

image ratio
InVision blog using the same image ratio throughout the site can save time when creating image sizes

My wireframes use as much content as I have, so when it comes to visualising the project, all I need to change is the imagery, colours and elements, saving time.

Once the wireframes, UX and all user (persona) journeys have been mapped out in the wireframes I will create a prototype of the project using InVision complete with all links hooked up with the correct pages, giving the client a comprehensive view of what and how the final project will work, thinking about:

  • User journeys
  • Where and when data will be captured
  • Strong call to actions and making them as relevant as possible to the content and the user needs

I will welcome the client to add in comments to the prototype to highlight any concerns or alterations as they feel fit.

Once complete, I will re-do this process in the visualisation stage, once again creating all the pages in Sketch, and adding them to another InVision prototype to present to the client.

Will the results be monitored?

The results are one of the important factors that the client will want to know, forms will be easily found, asking only the information that is needed? We add in first and last name in as autopilot, but do we really need this data? Is an email address enough information?

Once forms are complete, thank you pages are created, as confirmation that the data has been sent, as well as an act of something to track against, both generally and is split tests are to be ran with different call to actions . A thank you page can be a great way of using inbound marketing I’ll think about content that is still engaging for thank you pages, it shouldn’t just be the end of the jounrey, it should be a step of the journey and be full of related information that the user can continue on the site with.

Happy clients, customers and projects

All in all, using this process lets me comfortably plan projects to a great level of degree and understanding, it puts me in the shoes of the personas, and target audiences, and the client will not only get a beautiful website, but a complete marketing solution that answers the brief they thought up, or in some cases didn’t.