Our six-phased process, the fundamentals of which remain consistent whether we overhaul an existing site, make a mobile version or create a new web site, revolves around the most important person in this process: our customer. This is a disciplined approach that takes the customer’s informational needs and preferences into account at every step; assuring that we are providing the right information in the right form to result in a positive decision. And, as our customer, this approach also puts you in the middle of the process, allowing for as much input and feedback as makes you comfortable.
In the first phase, we Learn. After preliminary, informal conversations about your challenges and a bit of background research, we conduct an in-person input session where all angles of your situation are prodded, poked and fully considered. In advance of this session, we provide you with a homework assignment – the questions we’ll need answered for an effective kickoff meeting. We become experts not only in your business, but in its strengths and weaknesses so we can be effective in developing the right solution to meet your goals.
Next comes the Plan. In this phase, we agree to the objectives, strategies and tactics we will employ to develop a custom solution for your unique challenges. All this will be summarized in a Creative Brief that distills everything we have learned about your business into actionable insights: key target audiences and their motivations, the value proposition of your product or service, the most compelling messages we can stream to those audiences, the right content type for these audiences and messages, etc.
Once the Plan is locked, we then Design a solution. The rigor of learning and planning pay off in the Design phase; it’s where the magic of look and feel, information architecture and user experience occurs. Typically taking about two weeks, there will be plenty of back-and-forth between client and agency in this phase as we explore options and then fine-tune solutions. It’s also the point where we understand what content is available (copy, images, video) and what will need to be created.
After a Design has been finalized and approved, it’s time to Build. Typically called coding, this is when our technologists turn inspiration into a living, breathing website (we build in WordPress – a flexible, easily-updatable content management system). This phase usually takes about six weeks but we bring you in at key decision points when your input is both actionable and practical – no ‘black box’ development here at Walden Pond.
Once coding is complete and approved, we move to testing and Launch. We make sure your site works across the platforms and browsers your customers use. We set baselines for the analytics we’ll use to gauge success. And because we host most of our clients’ sites, moving from production to host server is as simple as throwing a switch.
The site is up, you’re getting traffic – now comes the Maintain phase. Key here is to provide your customers with new and relevant content; again because we build in WordPress, making these updates is easy and efficient. We’ll share basic maintenance procedures and training as part of our launch hand-off. If necessary, we can be available to create or curate additional content.