Case Study – Made By Shape

Today we had the guys come in from local company ‘Made By Shape‘ to give us a case study on creating a project. I thought this was really interesting seeing the way each design piece changes as the company gets feedback from the client, and how their designs progress and change taking this feedback into consideration. Shape gave us a few tips to remember… (Shape are a web based company, therefore some of the points refer more to web, although all tips can be used for general graphic design)

Get to know your client – talk, phone or email your client and get to know them, you may understand their needs more if you get to know your client.

Define the brief – ask your client for references e.g. 3 examples of designs they do and don’t like, you will then have more of an idea of what they are aiming for.

Create a sitemap – or possibly get your client to draw one up, and then change it to work in the best possible way.

Research – e.g. bookmark folders, sketchbook, magazines, print, digital, emails, apps etc. You can even get references just for certain elements e.g. navigation, rollovers etc.

Communication – this is VERY important on both parts! Lack of communication means the design may not end up being the way they want it to be. Also keep them updated, tell them what you’re working on or what you plan on working on next, it’s good to know the work is actually getting done!

Wireframing – work out features, important features list, navigation, usability, flow, use mockingbird, quick sketches first. Decide what things will only be on one page, compared to those features on every page e.g. shopping cart.

Initial Design – know what you’re doing before you start, don’t give too many options, be relevant, don’t use placeholders, sell your design, give a timescale to yourself and client, project management and make images are relevant.

Feedback – if you know what you’re doing then don’t be worried about initial concepts – they have come to you for work as they like you’re style, so don’t worry too much about the feedback.

Alterations – keep room in your diary for amendments (time management)

Design Sign Off – written proof via email to go ahead and start the build phase. Any other changes after sign off, you can charge extra.

HTML Build – development phase can start, depending on the client.

Templating – HTML & CSS, jQuery is added last, sometimes once done upload to show client, incase of any amendments.

Deal with developers – to develop other parts of the site, make sure everything comes together on time.

Content – consider what the client is going to put into the site. Enter the content via client or yourself depending what is in your contract, transfer content from old site/ version if needed, check everything is in correct category, all pages link and are in correct order.

De-Bugging – after clients content is in the site, debug it.

Launching – never launch on a Friday as if there are mistakes, you may not be able to change them until the Monday, keep an eye on the website, offer 3 months bug fix term.

CMS benefits – (Content Manager System) integrate easily with social media, analytics, newsletter/ mailing list integration, member groups, allowing different permissions to areas of the website, auto google sitemap submission etc.

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