THE LIFE-CYCLE – WEB SITE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS
The website development life-cycle is divided into different steps, similar to the traditional software development process.Here I am going to explain the different steps in the development process of web engineering.The steps may vary from application to application.
A systematic website development process can follow a number of standard or company specific frameworks, modeling tools, methodologies, and languages. As an industry practice, the development team should follow the software development life-cycle to stay on track with respect to timelines and quality control.
As an industry practice, the software development life-cycle which need to be followed by the evelopment team to stay on track with respect to timelines and quality control.
Steps involved in website development:-
- Complete Review, Analysis, and Assesment
- Requirement Specification Building
- Web Design and Web Development
- Content Writing
- SEO(Search Engine Optimization) and Social Media Optimization
- Website Maintenance and Updates
Let us analyze the following steps involved in any website development:
Complete Review, Analysis, and Assesment:
Understanding the client requirement is the first step.Then the analysis will cover all the needs of clients especially on how the website is going to merged with their existing system.The first important thing is finding the target audience. Then, all the present software, hardware, people and data should be carefully assessed.
For example, if a company named XYZ is in need of a website to have its Human Resource details online. Then analysis team may look to review the employees existing data from the present database and what migration plan will be best suited to complete the transition.
The analysis should be done. The analysis is neither too time consuming nor lacking information.The plan for the project will be an output of analysis, so the plan should be realistic.To achieve a realistic plan the analyst should consult the developers, designers and testers.
- Communicate with client with supporting documents and initial mails by the client, discussion notes.
- Model websites/applications.
- Online chat transcripts, recorded telephone conversations.
- Work plan.
- Estimating cost.
- Team requirements.
- Hardware and software requirements.
- Supporting documents.
- Final client approval to go ahead with the project.
2.Requirement Specification Building:
Primary specifications are drawn up by covering up each and every element of the requirement.
Example:- If the product is a web site then the modules of the site including general site layout, site navigation and dynamic parts of the site should be included in the specification.Larger projects will require further levels of consultation to assess technical requirements and additional business.
When the primary document reviewed and approved, a written proposal is made and outlining the scope of the project which contains the responsibility, timeline and costs.
Input: The Analysis reports from the analysis team.
Output: Complete requirement specifications to the individuals and the customer.
3. Web Design and Web development:
After the requirement specification building, the layouts and navigation will be designed as a prototype. In most of the cases, the customer may be interested in viewing two or three design possibilities with images and navigation. But Some customers may be interested only in a full functional prototype. In this case we may need to show them the interactivity of the website or application.
Before moving into the next phase all the proposed changes should be finalized. Be prepared to note down a lot of suggestions and changes from the customer side.
To gain client trust this is the most important stage in the project life cycle.Encourage customer comments, feedback and approvals to be communicated by e-mail, telephone and fax. Engage in constant communication with clients to give clients peace of mind.
In website design phase the team should prepare the test plans and procedures. It is necessary to obtain client approval on design and project plans. The sample data will also be prepared in this stage. The database team will understand the requirement and develop the database.
Input: Requirement specification.
Output: Website/Application design with Templates, Images.
4. Content writing:
For websites this phase is very important. For writing industry specific content on the website there are professional content writers/developers. Content writers need to add their text in such a way as to utilize the design templates. Also the grammatical and spelling check should be over in this phase. Content could be anything from simple text to images and videos.
Input: The Designed template.
Output: Website with formatted content.
In this phase, it’s the programmer’s turn to add his/her code without disturbing the design.
This calls for the developer to understand the design and navigation of the site. The code should utilize the template if the site is dynamic. For understanding the design the developer may need to interact with the designer. The designer may need to develop some graphic buttons whenever the developer is in need.
If a team of developers is working they should use a CVS to control their sources. The coding team should generate necessary testing plans as well as technical documentation. For example, Php users can use PhpDoc to develop their documents to understand their code flow. The end-user documentation can also be prepared by the coding team. This documentation can be used by a technical writer who can develop helps, and understand them manuals later.
Input: The site with forms and the requirement specification.
Output: Coding documents and Database driven functions with the site.
Unlike the software development the software testing is also the important phase in the software development life-cycle, as the software should function in all the situation like multi-user,multi-tier system.
Testing should be done are, Unit testing, Integration testing, Re-testing, Regression testing, Scalability testing, Load testing, Cross-browser compatibility testing etc.
Both manual and automated testing should done in this phase.
For example:- It’s vital to test fast loading graphics and to calculate their loading time, as they are very important for any website. There are testing tools as well as online testing tools availbale for testers which can help testers to test their applications. After uploading the site there should be a complete testing.
Input: The site, Requirement specifications, technical specifications and technical documents.
Output: Completed application/site, testing reports, error logs, frequent interaction with the developers and designers.
7. SEO( Search Engine Optimization) and Social Medial Optimization:
This phase is applicable only for websites. Promotion needs constant analysis, preparation of meta tags and submitting the URL to the search engines and directories. There is a detailed article in this site on Search Engine Optimization, for further read. The SEO and Social Media Marketing is normally an ongoing process as the strategies of search engine may change quite often. Submitting a site URL once in 2 months can be an ideal submission policy. If the customer is willing, then paid submissions and paid click can also be done with extra cost.
Input: Site with great and unique content, keyword analysis , Competitor study.
Output: Site submission after necessary meta tag preparation.
8. Maintenance and Updates:
Websites will need quite frequent updates to keep them fresh and relevant. In that case, we need to do analysis again, and repeat all the other life-cycle steps. Bug fixes can be done during the time of maintenance. Once your web site is ongoing promotion , technical maintenance, operational, content management & updating, site visit activity reports, staff training and mentoring is needed on a regular basis, depending on the complexity of your website and the needs within your organization.
Input: Re-Analysis reports Site/Application, content/functions to be updated.
Output: Updated application, supporting documents to other life cycle steps and teams.