Our Arizona Web Design Process
Our approach to your web presence is presented in a five-phase approach with the last phase provided for maintenance and updates if you choose to acquire as discussed in Phase I. The basic four phases cover; Scope definition, planning, design and testing, and production and implementation.
The order of these Phases are as follows:
The Client provides basic information that may involve MrBob’s background research, comparison studies, risk and budget analysis, understanding time constraints, any anticipated maintenance needs (such as updating the site with content), establishing goals and targeting audience. The Client should identify the globalization of its internet audience so MrBob can understand your choices and priorities for new markets in an iterative globalization strategy, if required. While the initial meeting with the client may not clearly define all requirements, the scope needs to be clearly defined and agreed upon by all parties at the on-set of the planning stage. It is during this phase that a single contact and sign-off person on the client-side needs to be firmly agreed upon. By defining the project's scope, MrBob and you are on the way to guaranteeing the projects success. So before we begin lets study where and what do we share globally - ONE of; 239 countries, 6,700 languages, 147 currencies, 24 time zones and 19 calendars.
Step 1: Market Selection
Let's divide the task into two categories: countries and customers.
First let's look at the country. Where is your company realizing its revenue today? Where do you currently have an e-business presence? What countries are strategically important to your growth plans? Conversely, what countries should you rule out? Are there countries whose laws will not protect your intellectual property rights? Or countries with insufficient Internet adoption to support your business model?
Second, look at your customers. Who are they today? Are there aspects of your brand that are limited/amplified by culture? By language? By visual representation? What is it about your brand that can be leveraged to enable you to enter new markets and broaden your customer base?
While these considerations are only the beginning of an overall strategy, they will have important implications when we begin to talk about internationalizing and localizing your presence.
Step 2: Localization
Localization is the process of customizing an Internet presence to meet the needs of specific national markets. Selection of target markets will provide a set of cultural expectations that must be met, which in turn will determine the degree to which the presence must be localized. A well–localized presence will maintain the integrity of your brand and message across cultural boundaries.
To maximize the effectiveness of your local presence you must deliver a user experience that is culturally appropriate. Accommodating cultural sensitivities and preferences can affect the expression of your brand in many ways. For example, adjusting visual content to reflect local norms or landscapes could play a part in improving the user experience, and thus contribute to higher customer loyalty and retention.
Localization of functionality must be addressed to facilitate e-commerce across cultures and countries. Examples include currency conversion, variations in postal code formats, differing calendars and obvious language issues (translation, writing systems and direction of script). The relative difficulty of localizing certain key functionality could play a part in market selection.
In combination, the functional and cultural localization requirements will impact all elements of implementation; from brand strategy, information architecture, visual design and content development through back-end functionality and, finally, translation.
Step 3: Internationalization
Internationalization involves designing systems to inherently support multiple countries and cultures. All features that vary between cultures must be identified and isolated so they can be substituted with appropriate information based on the customer's cultural preferences.
Once you have decided on a set of target markets and identified the degree of localization that is appropriate for each, the parameters that should be internationalized can be determined. For example, globalized e-commerce functionality may indicate currency should be an internationalized parameter throughout all systems.
Localization of functionality does not always indicate internationalization; it may in fact be more cost effective in some cases to localize systems without internationalizing them. However, if a parameter is internationalized, it is for the express purpose of localizing it at a later date.
Parameters that should be considered for internationalization include:
- Writing Systems
- Weights and Measures
- Time Measures Systems
- Geographic Location Systems
In the planning phase, all the original information gathered in Phase 1 will be re-evaluated and verified. The architecture of the site will be developed, and the framework built. Sitemaps and flow charts may be common during this phase. Content is developed and prepared for flowing into the framework of the Clients site. Specific features of the site (such as sound and dynamic content) must be firmly defined and approved by the client prior to proceeding any further.
In the design phase and before the architecture has been finished. The design work to add visual representation to the thoughts and ideas presented in the first two phases will be completed. By the time the look and feel is established, the entire site is laid out and ready to enter production.
This phase can occur many times throughout the project process, it most often takes place both before and after Production and Implementation (see Phase 4). Testing may be done with a paper prototype of a potential design, a Photoshop mockup, or a fully functional Web site; usability testing is a very important way to ensure that the final product meets both the client's expectations and the users' needs. This phase may include multiple rounds of testing, from formal focus groups or contextual interviewing, to informal audience studies. Testing can check for everything from HTML tagging bugs to typos to programming errors, or just to give feedback on the usability of an interface.
The production and implementation phase encompasses the merging of content with the designed layout. All pages are coded, and graphics are produced. Testing takes place to ensure the site performs at its highest level. All of the final pieces are put into place prior to acceptance and launch.
Once the site has been accepted and launched, it may enter into the realm of a maintenance phase - where either the client or MrBob makes any necessary changes or updates. However, because this phase could actually include all of the other phases (for instance, if the client requests a re-design or additional content), the issue of maintenance and/or changes must be addressed at the very start of the project as discussed in Phase I.