The first step in designing a successful website or application is to gather information. Well-defined goals are what you should set as your first step. Thinks to consider when creating a plan are user interface, application architecture, scalability and more. But the step where most fail is how all of these come together. How will the user interface work with the select architecture and how will they scale? A good plan is made to cover this kind of issues and could potentially reduce the development time by half. There are so many things to consider when creating and drafting your plan, so as a basic rule start small and grow later.
First start by creating a list with all your goals and methods on how can you measure these goals. Without having set goals, you cannot truly see if and how well is your application performing. Begin with a general outline and detail as you go along the development process. Also try to establish the tools and frameworks used to build and maintain the functionality.
Each section or functionality module should be considered in detail but also consider how will they work together with one another. We list each module by hierarchy and priority. This will give us a better understanding the amount of effort required to complete the project. Note that while the plan should cover the entire project it should not be bugged down by minute details that will stop you from seeing the big picture.
Content and how you wish to present it should be top priority as this will lead to the success or failure of your software application. Your software could use the newest architecture but if the information is not reaching the users in an easy and intuitive way the application will not perform. The information you have and how you present it to the users makes the basis for user interface and visual design. Also in this step, a content management system (CMS) should be considered. How will the content be managed, how will the content be updated or deleted?
Review your content, text, images and other data and sketch how will the content be displayed. The audit will provide useful information about how to prioritize and present it to the users. This will later dictate the layout for the best UI/UX interface. When looking to create a plan for a website or web application it is important to understand the project as a whole and create guidelines on which to build it.
Create a quick prototype of the application which can be reviewed and easily extended. This will service as the base for your application. Doing this you can test out different layouts, color scheme, content placement and more. Using the prototype, you will be able to create an image of the design and functionality of the application. By creating a prototype of the application you can test to see that the plan matches up against the requirements and everything is as expected.
Use either specialized prototyping tools or develop the code in-house. The result should be the same with either method, a prototype which you can easily extend to check multiple version of layout and functionality.
Once the initial plan is set, the data is reviewed and the prototyping is done the implementation can begin. At this stage a clear understanding of the project, it`s interface and functionality should be well established. This will allow the development to be guided and the iteration count kept to a minimum. While developing issues may arise that were not included in the initial planning but can be easily solved by having a good understanding of the project.
Development will the done based on the initial plan. The best practices will be used when developing the application. This means that all known issues or technical difficulties will already be known and solutions for each of these will be present. Using specialized tools and having a good understanding the of the architecture and framework is a must.
Testing is a crucial step that should never be rushed. Thru out the process each module is tested as well as the system as a whole. All aspect of the application is considered at measured against the technical requirements. This will ensure that the end-product will function as expected.
Before each test, a set of test cases will be created to cover all uses of the software. This will ensure that all scenarios will be covered and the coverage of the test is at a maximum. W start by first verifying each module before moving to a system test as well as the final acceptance testing.
With the completion of all testing and changes we proceed to create a maintenance plan that will keep the application up-to-date with regular updates, bug fixes and functionality changes. This will ensure that the software will perform at its best and bring the desired results. A separate plan for support and training is offered in which professional documentation is created for the use of the application.
Having the finished application writing documentation and keeping track and monitoring the application is a crucial process. Using set schedules, the software is maintained using specialized tools and methods set in the initial plan.
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Our methodology provides us with a powerful base to develop website, web application and custom software solutions with ease. It prevents us falling in the same issues each new project and creates a structure from where fast development and extendable functionality are made easy.
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