At Tribu, website design is a large piece of who we are. We thoroughly enjoy helping turn a partner’s design vision and business goals into a beautiful and highly functioning website. It’s a rewarding process, but there are a few things we wish we had time to share before getting started. Here are 6 things we wish our partners knew about our web design process.
We Are Front-End Website Designers
Which means, we are not backend developers. What is the difference? We are experts in building websites through the WordPress CMS. While we do not code from scratch, our knowledge is visually based and motivated (HTML, CSS, occasional JS) allowing us to build visually appealing sites that match in progressive user experience and design.
However, when it comes to the more complex languages like php and JQuery used to program plugins or software- we will admit we are not the experts. For us, web design is trial and error. Even with testing on multiple devices, sometimes bugs or errors can arise in unique situations such as an ancient 2003 Blackberry while the user is standing on one foot in an open field. Without accurate knowledge of what is happening and without being able to recreate the situation ourselves- we may not be able to fix it. However, Tribu is a lover of challenges and we never back down from testing. Sometimes weird things happen, especially when dealing with new and old code (a redesign). We are committed to working on it, researching and helping as much as we can.
We Only Recommend Popular, Well Reviewed Plugins
We often get requests to use new plugins that are still in BETA testing. However, we only recommend popular well-reviewed plugins to avoid crashes or breaks that are beyond our control. Attempting to edit a plugin that is still in BETA testing is equivalent to asking an author to edit a book they didn’t write that’s in a different language. They cannot speak that language and they do not know how the story is supposed to end. Ultimately, changing something in the middle may ruin the story.
However, if a chosen plugin does break, we won’t abandon you! There are some things that we (or even you) can do. We first make the publisher of the plugin aware of the problem, and check the forums for a fix, or an update that might fix the problem altogether. If it’s breaking the site, we then deactivate the plugin and look for another one in the meantime.
Design and Build Are Separate Stages
Stage one is design, where we work to create an award-winning design that exceeds your design vision. Stage two is where we take that design and develop it into a functional website. Each part is equally as important and design is simply the beginning. While in the build stage we allot time for common headaches such as code that may break, incompatible plugins or styling changes that need to be done to match the design. We are experts in marrying progressive designs that will realistically and seamlessly translate into a working website.
The Process Takes Time
We love when our partners are excited and energized about their new website, but we equally love our partners that understand this process takes time. Quality work cannot be rushed and we vow to never produce something below our standards. Because of this, the average timeline for a website build is two and a half months.
In this time we are researching your brand, your competitor’s brands, and how to best convey your goals with the site. There is also time allotted for approvals, gathering or creating content, optimizing the website for speed and search performance, etc.
Common revisions/additions that can lengthen the process include:
– An employee doesn’t work for you anymore
– Your office is moving locations
– You would like to try a new documentation system and need a client login
– Your menu has changed or is in the process of being changed
-There’s an event happening and you would like a landing page for it
The list could be endless, really. We hold firm to our deadline to ensure expectations are met and quality work is produced!
The site is broken! The server is down! We’ve been hacked! Take a deep breath and try to understand that these things do happen. We strive to be as secure as possible when working with our sites. We understand that all websites, including e-commerce sites that host confidential information or sensitive professional documents are really important to keep safe. Our effort to remain secure includes planning for the worst. We recommend a particular hosting and backup setup that allows for us to reset after any of these problems with a few simple clicks of a button.
“I Heard Woocommerce is really good and I want it on my site”
There’s no beating around the bush with this one, we don’t allow this plugin near a new site we create anymore. There have been too many bugs and breakdowns that have caused us headache after headache. It’s one of those plugins that can’t be updated without extensive backups and tests, and even then, sometimes it’s still broken. The solution may seem like a no-brainer. “Well, why not just leave it alone?” Like wordpress in general, a plugin that isn’t updated can pose a security risk if someone malicious discovers that it is an unmaintained version. This isn’t a big deal if a plugin is behind one update, but when a year goes by and woocommerce is still an incompatible old version that hackers have had plenty of time to look into.. we just say no altogether.
Overall, we’re masters at making the web design process enjoyable even through the hiccups. Every website build is a chance to sharpen our skills and push our design capabilities. If you’re ready for a website that can serve as a living and breathing masterpiece of your business, let’s talk.