My approach

Experience, tools and talent are only half the story. The right approach and effective communication is critical to a successful project. Here's my approach.

A successful website build depends on a trustworthy and reliable web developer who is able to listen and understand what you need. My ability to clearly outline the pros and cons of the many options means that you can be confident you are making a good decision from the get-go.

I'm not only passionate about website development, but I also understand what it means to run a business and the challenges that go with it. Here I detail my approach to developing and maintaining websites:

1. Finding out what you want

Start by requesting an initial free estimate – it only takes a few minutes. We can then discuss my proposal and go into more detail around what you’re looking for in a website. After this process you have a pretty good idea of what you'll get and I will know in more detail what I will be building. One or more of the following will be created:

  • Sitemap
  • User Stories
  • Wireframes
  • Specifications
  • Prototype

Once we have agreed on a direction, we can finalise the paperwork and kick off the project.

2. Starting with content and structure

I strongly believe in content and structure before design. The most important part of a website is your content, because that’s what your clients and customers are engaging with. Content is at the heart of how your visitors perceive your business and is also fundamental to how search engines rank you.

I use GatherContent – a content production programme - to help structure and collate all your content. Once we have the initial content structure, I will use rapid prototyping to establish the site structure and flow to maximise its potential in terms of usability and conversion.

3. Creating the design

After working out the requirements you can have a design produced based on the functionality you need. A design will ensure your product or site appeals to the right audience. It provides clarity, ease of use and leads to a higher conversion rate and a return on your investment.

Multiple design concepts are a great way of giving you options and steering the designs in the right direction. At the end of this phase, you will have one or more of the following:

  • Full designs provided as PSDs
  • Logo in multiple formats
  • Styleguide

And yes, you own the copyright on these.

3. Building your site

The build phase is straight forward. We will use everything compiled so far such as designs, wireframes and requirements to now jump straight into creating your product or website.

I work using Agile and SCRUM. This means that all tasks are prioritised from most to least important. I manage the tasks using MeisterTask for smaller sites and JIRA for larger sites. Some clients prefer to use Basecamp. The backlog is visible to you and gives you the opportunity to prioritise tasks you want me to work on first – usually those with the highest value.

I work through a select list of items from the backlog on a weekly or fortnightly basis (known as a sprint) after which I will run a demo. I’ll share progress updates with you and give you the chance to change tasks as we develop. Demos with progress reports will give you confidence that your project is on track and within budget.

4. Ensuring quality

Each task will be tested for quality assurance (QA) at the end of each sprint. Another round of QA testing will be performed at the end of your project. A final QA exit report will give you reassurance that your site works in all browser and device combinations agreed. Any issues will be fixed as they are uncovered.

5. Going live

Once you've done your final user acceptance testing and are confident your requirements have been met, I will setup your production hosting environment. Finally, I'll deploy your site live.

6. Post go live maintenance and improvements

Up to 4 weeks after going live you'll receive bug fixes free of charge.

Any additional changes can be discussed and estimated on a per-case basis and fixed on an hourly rate.

7. Maintaining your website

You may want me to take care of the maintenance of your website. Here are some of the tools and methodologies I use:

  1. Signed up to receive Drupal Security updates
  2. Bespoke processes to track and assess Drupal and Wordpress websites I maintain
  3. Semi-automated updating, testing and deployment of core and contributed modules
  4. Personal assessment of your site with a status report sent to your inbox
  5. Every site I maintain is checked every minute and I'm alerted of any issues and will inform you immediately.

I provide two distinct monthly subscription packages you can sign up to. They are on a rolling contract and provide you with the basic level of updates and support from me. Any additional work is covered on a per-case basis and charged at an agreed and discounted hourly rate.

Learn more about the Drupal maintenance package or Craft CMS maintenance package.

Trusted tools & services I happily rely on:

  • Slack, Skype for day to day communication
  • Atlassian JIRA or MeisterTask for managing and prioritising the tasks
  • Axure Pro for sitemaps and prototyping
  • Atlassian Confluence or Google Docs for documentation
  • PHP Storm, Visual Studio Code, Git and Chrome for development
  • Amazon AWS, Hetzner or for hosting