Our process is focused on getting projects done swiftly with as little of our client's valuable time as possible. None of our clients have to become de facto designers or learn complicated lingo. We keep things straightforward and practical. An average website project takes six to eight weeks from the intake interview, but certain circumstances can make things go faster or slower.
All relationships with us start with a phone call so that we can learn about the law firm, its clients, history, current marketing, goals, target audience, past website experiences and more.
Ensuring that we're a good fit with clients is critical, so there's no skipping this step. Above all else we all want our clients to be successful. During the call, if we don't click, or if it becomes apparent that we can't do what is needed, we will be up front about it and point them in the right direction.
Once a client signs on, we'll do an intake interview. This is a 90 minute phone conference between the law firm, our website architect, Chris, Our Writing Director, Merrill and our project manager, Michele. Anyone at the firm who has a strong opinion about how the website turns out should be on this call. We'll be diving deep into what makes the firm tick, who its clients are, features and content we should include, the direction the design should take and more. During the call, Chris and Merrill will take the lead, Chris will also be sketching out ideas, Merrill will be plotting on content and Michele will be furiously taking notes and setting up the project roadmap. This call is recorded so that everyone on the project has access to this critical information. One of the main goals of the call is to decide on a main direction for the design. Design layouts and ideas can be viewed here.
Just like a traditional architect lays out blueprints for a new house, Chris, our website architect will take all the big ideas from the interview and turn them into a blueprint, a.k.a wireframe, for the website. This is a rough, but fairly accurate depiction of how the major pieces of the website are going to be laid out.
Unlike traditional architecture, wireframing doesn't take terribly long because we don't have to walk around with a tape measure and compass. Chris will usually follow-up later that day, or next, to confirm we're headed in the right direction.
After the interview, we'll need to gather some things before we can get started on the next steps. This includes photographs of people and your office setting, existing logo artwork, resumes, brochures, existing website text, videos, and other media. Don't panic, usually we don't need everything right away, and if some (or any) of this stuff doesn't exist, that's okay. However, if something is going to be a major part of the design, like a logo or a special photograph, then we'll need it before we can go much further.
Once we have the key materials for the website design and an approved wireframe, we get started creating mockups. This usually takes about 1-2 weeks. Once the first round is done, we spend a few days reviewing it internally with fresh eyes to make sure all goals from the intake interview have been met. When our review is done, Michele or Chris will reach out with the exciting news to schedule a mockup review call. After the review, we'll process the feedback and roll through this cycle again and again until the design is completed.
While the design is going on, our writers will be working in parallel on the website content. If we're writing the firm's content, then the writer on the project will listen to the intake interview and possibly reach out specific attorneys for a short call to introduce themselves and fill in any gaps. Once they have the information they need, they will draft a few pages and share them for first impression feedback before proceeding further. After the kinks have been worked out, we'll draft the remaining pages.
If we're working with and editing content provided by the firm then it is the firm's job to get us that content ASAP. This is the number one thing that holds up a project.
The writing and editing is a collaborative process; the writer is trying to convey the client's thoughts in his or her words. We want everyone to be happy with it, and revisions are a part of the process. Our writers not offended by honest feedback, they need it in order to do the best job. Being honest, blunt and specific with feedback is what makes this stage work well.
Once a design is finished, we move it to coding. This is the process of making the design into a working, responsive, mobile friendly, easy to edit website. It takes about 1-2 weeks for us to code the site, assemble it with the content, and review it for accuracy.
We put freshly coded websites at a private testing address. This will allow the client to review the entire website and all of its functionality before it goes live. At this stage, we can make changes to the text and photos as well as minor adjustments to the design. However, if we get to this stage and the client decides to request a major change to the design (i.e. change out the whole color scheme or change the layout/structure of the site) then there will likely be a charge and delay. Major design changes should be addressed before coding, during the design phase.
Once the site is staged and approved by the client, we place a 2-4 day freeze on the project. This gives us a chance to go through everything carefully, re-test it in all web browsers, and complete our optimization work. By this stage there are usually so many e-mails and phone calls flying around we find it helpful to take a breather and ensure we haven't missed anything.
The moment we've all been waiting for! After the freeze is over, we will launch the website. Depending on how things are configured with the domain name, it takes anywhere from 1 second to 24 hours for the site to go live worldwide. 99% of the time this all happens in under 1 hour.