We Need To Talk
So, you need a website (or a better one that what you already have). Before any coding starts, before any project is planned, before a site is published, we need to talk. Because the most critical first step in web development is understanding the need we are trying to meet.
It starts with a conversation, asking question after question after question to get to the root of a request. Who are we talking to? What are they looking for? How can our site give it to them more compellingly and conveniently than others?
Understanding your business plan and needs provides the Account Manager a cast of characters and motivations required to develop the plot. As with most any successful advertising and marketing endeavor, it all boils down to the story we want to tell.
It’s Story Time
Tasked with bringing your story to life, the Account Manager assembles a team of “authors” within the agency comprised of designers, writers and coders. Together, they write the user story in plain language for everyone to understand, both the technical and non-technical. This opens up communication everyone can understand -- because having a good story means that everyone will be happy with the ending.
Happily Ever After
Knowing the story and how it ends means no surprises for anyone. As an author typically uses an outline to flesh out a story, the Account Manager keeps the storytelling on track with a project plan. And should the story take an unexpected turn (as even the best stories are apt to do), the Account Manager is on hand to hold the various authors accountable and keep everyone on task to ensure everything is kept on schedule.
Tried & Tested
At last, the story is done! But before it can be shared with the world, the Account Manager must make sure the story is sound. Does the code do what was expected from the story? Did it meet the need? Does the code work with the existing site? Did the code work without breaking something that was already working?
The best way to test a website is to send it out into the real world and see what happens; sort of like running your manuscript by a seasoned editor. But how do you do this without the real world seeing all the potential flaws? Easy -- build out an entire server that replicates live sites. Adding the code to the copy let’s us see the actual results without the danger and we can do it over and over until it’s just right.
Once we’ve put our story to the test, made sure there aren’t any horrific plot holes, and confident that everything works -- and all the needs are met -- then and only then, do we publish it for the world.