Information Architecture & Usability Consulting
With more than 10 years of experience creating interactive projects, we’ve had plenty of time to perfect our development process. We’ve determined a project is only as strong as the planning that goes in to it. That’s why we’ve designed our Success Starts with Strategy™ development process to make sure your project reaches its maximum potential through effective information architecture.
Information architecture (IA) is the science of organizing websites and other interactive media to maximize results. With a focus on optimizing the project’s usability, our staff goes beyond basic content organization by creating an intuitive navigational structure and highly effective user interface design that is tailored to your target audience.
We believe in user-centered design that is based on a deep understanding of our client’s business, goals, users and competitors. Before brainstorming or planning your project, we need to fully understand all factors that will impact it. We customize our process to meet the unique needs and goals of each client. For large, design intensive engagements, our process will typically include the following steps:
Review of existing research
Once all of this data has been gathered and analyzed, we will create a master project blueprint document. While the sales proposal and statement of work talk about what you’re project will do, the blueprint details exactly what will go on behind the scenes to make that happen. The blueprint is developed through collaboration between your staff and our information architecture team, and it serves as a reference throughout development. Several elements may be included in this document, including:
The sitemap is exactly what it sounds like: a map outlining all the pages of your website. It lists each page and shows how they will link to one another. The sitemap ensures the most important information and calls to action are linked throughout the prominent areas of your website.
Design preferences give us a starting point for the style of the project. We review your current website (if applicable), as well as any of your competitor sites, to determine a consistent theme for the project.
Wireframes are like a rough draft of the website including portions of the site’s functionality. Wireframes are similar to a sitemap, but actually allow you to click through and interact with the pages. This provides a better feel for the flow and functionality of the final product before development begins.
Many sites require integration with third-party components. This may include anything from credit card processors to CRM systems. We use the process flow document to outline how our code will interact with these components.
Milestones allow us to group project functionality into logical stages for smooth rollout down the road. This allows us to test each stage independent of ongoing work. With larger scale projects, we can even launch full-feature milestones to a production server.
Component Checklist (QAR)
As functionality is established during the planning and development stage, the component checklist serves as a reference to the base functionality that is required for each element to work. When the project goes to our quality assurance review (QAR) phase, this document will be used to make certain all required functionality is in place.
Our technical architect will design and deploy the project’s database structure during the planning phases based on the functionality established in the statement of work. This allows us to maintain a consistent database design across all of our projects based on industry standards. Creating this standard facilitates consistent future development by anyone on our programming team.
Hosting / Third-Party Configurations
We establish a hosting configuration tailored to the project specifications before development begins. That way if functionality or goals evolve during the development process, we have a record. That helps us ensure our development environment matches the production environment before the project’s launch, reducing the risk of costly setbacks.
At the conclusion of the development process, not only will you have a great product, but you will also have this comprehensive blueprint document to use as a basis for future product expansion. We believe in doing things right the first time, and we know that proper planning is the only way to ensure that will happen. We appreciate the opportunity to prove to you that Success Starts with Strategy™.
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