The values we want out of the process include:
- Enabling and educating. We would rather that you felt in control where possible and certainly felt that you have an understanding of why things are done in particular ways.
- Efficiency. We are happier and have happier customers if the process is efficient. This includes both customising only where it creates a competitive advantage and developing the purpose of the site and understanding of the customer enough to meet their needs effectively.
- Transparency and accuracy. We don't want to disappear and reappear later with a site. We would like the direction to be as open as possible so that what the site will look like is obvious early. Ongoing engagement with site development is preferred to specific approval steps.
We try to make things as easy as possible for the owner of the site during this process, athough the more engagement, the more we can share.
What to Bring?
The most important things to bring are:
- Site mission. Why am I developing this site, who for and why. What problem is it going to solve? How will I know when I get there?
- Branding. What defined branding do I currently have? What is the message of the site and how could the look of the site back that up?
- Domain name registration keys. We may need to connect to facebook or email accounts, so have these details ready.
If you have user stories that is great although we can determine a starting set in talking to you.
Fill out the MountainRiver CMS design questionnaire.
We have found that getting the site basics right and developing a dialog is important. Therefore, building a basic - but fully functional - content managed site is achieveable and extremely useful in determining the message, honing publishing skills and generally gaining a familiarity with the technology.
If the site is expected to have many features we will find that the definition of the features are refined through discussion during the first release of the site, making the implementation of the features both more effective in the end and more in keeping with existing capabiltiies of the platform, making things cheaper. Building the basic site allows for costs to be staggered while still meeting some visitors needs.
Development or Web Build
Early in the process we will tell you if we think that your site is a development or web build process. If your site has significant custom development and complex processes that visitors of your site are engaged with we will treat it differently to one that is a container - effective one - of your brand and customer communications.
Differences in the process include the development of user stories and tracking of the implementation supporting these stories. This process is the Agile with Scrum website building process.
The Web Build Process
The web build process is a shortened process involving definition, build, test, deployment, maintenance and monitoring work. A range of website building tools including design prototypes, wireframes and annotated sketches and keyword analysis are used to develop an effective website.
We will work through the design and structure of the site with you, providing a site goals document, wireframes or sketches, designs and information architecture. We may consider it important to do a competitor analysis which may also include a review of language and keywords. If the site requires it, we may define user interaction or dynamic interfaces.
We will provide a review site that is updated on a regular basis. Behind the scenes we will have development and testing sites. We will also seek to get a version of the site running that becomes the released version so that content can be added early.
The testing process is not really a phase, but part of definition and build. While defining the site we will be considering what environment it has to serve and whether we need to load test for a particular number of visitors, or whether the site is more targeted to mobile devices than desktop and that is where we should focus our device testing.
Tests for functionality, browser compliance, compliance with standards and review for presentation accuracy are run throughout the build process. Testing areas that particular sites may need extra resources dedicated to including load testing, accessibility, specific functionality or for a wider range of devices.
We will provide review sites on a regular basis. These are password protected, so record passwords that we provide.
Throughout the process design, technical development and content production are refined in parallel.
The release process is best if it is a matter of changing a domain name and removing any passwords that prevent public access.
Maintenance and Monitoring.
Mountainriver provides the first year of maintenance, support and hosting as part of the contract. There are a number of reasons for this:
- The website launch is only the start. The site should be tuned once it is released so that keywords are effective, the content is of a high quality, the publishing processes being used regularly and effectively, performance fast and security managed. Relatively minor levels of effort may mean a big difference in the effectiveness of the site.
- Monitoring capability. The infrastructure we have setup has the capability of letting us know if something goes wrong with the site - ideally before it goes wrong.
- Deployment capability. We have refined a set of development tools and deployment processes that save us lots of time.
- Update capability. We can apply security and maintenance patches safely, and in bulk.