Web Development Process Overview

With the launch of the redesigned Williams website in Fall 2012, we’re now working with departments, programs, and offices to convert  existing sites to the new design. This process will take time as we work with individuals around campus on each new site.

Current theme
Current Williams theme. Click to enlarge.

Our goal is to provide high-quality sites that meet your needs and serve internal and external audiences. The templates we’ve designed for departments and offices provide some consistency of navigation and graphic standards, but they’re also designed to be flexible enough for departments and offices to convey individual identity and to present content effectively for their audiences. The new template, like the one currently used by many Williams sites, is built in the WordPress content management system.

Would you like to convert your department or office website to the new design? We’re happy to help. Please be in touch with us at [email protected].

Here’s what you can expect.

Initial consultation. We will meet with you to hear about your goals and needs for your website and talk about the content, audiences, what works and what doesn’t work on your current website.

Old theme
Old Williams theme. Click to enlarge.

Who should attend the consultation from your group? Ideally, just a couple of people: someone who can make decisions and/or serve as a point person for a larger group (gathering feedback from members of a department, for instance), as well as the person who would be responsible for maintaining the website’s content.

On our end, you’ll have a small migration team to work with, including a web project manager and a content specialist.

Proposal, approval, and decision-making. Based on this conversation, we will provide you with a written proposal for the project detailing our recommendations for the site, as well as a basic schedule for the work, including key decision points in the process.

You’ll have some choices to make—about which components of the templates you want for your site, what image(s) you want for your banner, what content elements make sense for a sidebar, etc. We’ll offer our advice on these things in the written proposal. If your site is particularly large or complex, we’ll schedule a second meeting to go through the proposal with you and address any questions you have. With many sites, though, a little back and forth in email about the details of the proposal will get us to a final plan we all agree on.

That document is a critical step in the process, because it and the schedule laid out in it will serve as a road map and an informal contract for the work we’ll do.

In general, we can deliver to you a new website about four weeks after the initial consultation, as long as content, images, and approvals/decisions are provided in a timely fashion. Even if you don’t need for your website to be completed by a specific date, once we establish a schedule for your project we’ll need to stick to it, because other projects will depend upon our ability to do that.

Design/template customization. Following our road map, we’ll develop the structure for your new site and share it with you while it’s in development, asking you to provide feedback so that we can make any necessary revisions. We can’t develop new sites from scratch each time–that is, we can’t do custom web development with every site. We’re confident in the templates we’ve built, though, and think they’re flexible enough to serve well the needs of the college’s diverse departments and offices. We’re also interested in improving upon those templates, so please be in touch with any suggestions or ideas.

Content migration and creation. We’ll pull over any content that can be migrated directly. For the rest, we’ll make content recommendations and ask you to be working on edits and creating new content as we’re developing the site. We’re happy to help you with your content, and we can make recommendations and be of help in selecting images for your site, as well. Delays in this part of the process will jeopardize our ability to deliver the site on time.

Final corrections and changes. Again, so that the project can stay on schedule, we ask that you review and get approval for any final changes and corrections as quickly as possible.

Training and support. Your new website is designed to make adding and managing content easy. We are here to make sure you know how to use it and answer any questions you have in a timely manner. We will provide training during the site creation process and remain available to provide support once it’s live.

Site delivery/go-live date. We’ll work with you to schedule a go-live date. On that date, we’ll archive your old site and make the new one live, putting the site and its content in your good hands.