Website development today requires a professional set of skills and resources.
The role of a web creator is now more specialist than ever, featuring segmentation of professional staff in fields of user experience, front end dev, back end dev, project management, content and digital marketing.
We have an experienced in-house team of digital designers, front-end developers, back-end developers, account and project managers. Importantly, we only take on projects that are within the capability of our team.
We think it’s critically important to keep our projects in-house so we can maintain the quality of design, experience, coding standards, security and aftercare.
Many agencies outsource various aspects of web projects to external and freelance contractors, even overseas, which can lead to problems, especially with security and long term support.
If you commission a project with Carbon, the people you meet are the people designing, developing and managing your project.
Most of the websites we develop are complex, using various technologies, frameworks and platforms. Many members of staff will collaborate on a single project and we may be developing two or more projects in parallel.
This requires careful planning and a processes driven approach to keep projects on time and budget. To facilitate this we’ve created our own set of development processes based on the foundations of modern software development, a combination of both ‘Waterfall’ and ‘Agile’, we call it Wagile:
- Research – understanding and researching the subject
- Workshops – optional time spent with client and web users
- Mood boards iterations – ideas on style and tone
- Wireframing iterations – rapid development of functional layouts
- Prototyping iterations – final presentation visuals of key pages
- Digital design – creative for all pages
- Development – binding creative layout, custom code / CMS
- Testing, deployment
If you already have a website we run a number of performance analysis checks. We’ll look to find out what is working at present and what isn’t. Together we will determine the measurable success criteria and a vision for your site’s future, and using advanced software we can test how people are interacting with your website and inform you of our findings.
For new websites we listen carefully to your requirements and then use our wealth of industry experience to make suggestions and recommendations. We will look at your audiences and develop ideas based on their needs, along with your business goals.
Web design workshops
Have you considered who will be looking at your website, their personalities, their wants, needs and desires, their demographics and how they may find you?
To truly understand our audiences we need to get to know them, all of them! To do this we have developed a workshop session that gets you and your team thinking about your user groups, their user stories and their user journeys, this is an interactive workshop that we chair and host at your location. We advise a combination of people attend including key decision makers. The workshop is visual and fun but has strong emphasis on collating important intelligence that feeds into our development process.
In much the same way an architect may sketch out initial ideas, our designers spend time sketching the layout of your website. We call this wireframing and it’s a rapid development process that allows us to illustrate page design layouts with all the necessary functional elements in place.
Typically wireframes are created in black and white using little or no graphics, we keep them simple to avoid conversation of style and tone, that comes in later stages. The focus of wireframes is to ensure the layouts are meeting the website criteria, the user journey and interface and experience (UX). We often iterate, creating multiple wireframes until the final layouts are naturally selected.
If you’ve ever had the opportunity to work with an interior designer then you may already have a good understanding of this process.
Moodboards allow our designers at Carbon to rapidly illustrate different styles tones and design concepts. A moodboard may contain colours, typography, photography, illustration styles, messaging and many other types of visual content, we may provide multiple iterations on mood boards before we collaboratively settle on a style and purpose that feel right for the project.
Whilst developing the incandescent light bulb, Thomas Edison once mused “I have not failed 1,000 times. I have successfully found 1,000 ways that will not work…”
Our design prototypes illustrate the finished visual prototypes of the important pages of the website. This process brings together the stages of work previously completed, in particular the wireframes and moodboards.
We often work through many iterations of designs and our use collaborative tools that demonstrate an interactive version of the website online. The pages are then ready for user testing and feedback. Individual comments can be left directly on the areas of the prototype designs to highlight specific areas for attention, which makes the process quick and simple for our clients.
Website design now must now consider multiple devices, screen resolutions, sizes and orientations. Considered, thoughtful design can make the difference between average and outstanding when it comes to websites and website applications.
Our design process is not only focussed on making things look great, it’s embedded in our DNA to make things work well for the target audiences.
We use our experience and knowledge of design principles and how people use and interact with websites in order to create a beautiful experience in terms of both aesthetics and interactivity.
Our team are open source focused, developing primarily for the Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP technology stack (LAMP for short).
We use our own process and coding methodologies which are a combination of Waterfall and Agile development principles. Essentially we take the best parts of these methodologies, Waterfall’s structured approach to time and budget scheduling and Agile’s approach to iterating through certain stages of development.
We typically work in weekly cycles depending on the size of the project and at the end of each cycle we produce a demo of what we have built where possible.
This allows everybody to keep track of progress and to test on a regular basis so we can then refine the development or change direction if necessary.
Testing and deployment
Testing is a continual process during the development stage of a project at Carbon. Whilst putting a website live there is of course a lot to consider. Every website project that has it’s own charter and quality control check list covering multiple aspects of the design and build including:
- Browser testing
- Functional testing
- Accessibility testing
- Device testing
- Basic SEO configuration
- Domain names and DNS record assignments
- Hosting arrangements
To name but a few, each of these aspects are checked and any issues raised prior to go-live.
Websites are complex digital machines and with any complex machine there is a risk of a component failing, malfunctioning or developing a vulnerability over the long-term.
No matter how rigorous the testing maybe there will always be unknown situations that will only be discovered after a website has gone live.
For this reason we offer an initial thirty day free bug fixing and snagging list correction period to facilitate for these corrections and give peace of mind.
Aside from this we offer ongoing pro-active maintenance as a paid for aftercare service. The scope of this service can be minimal, such as updating components, server frameworks and performing general security testing.
Or it can be more involved offering fully maintained website service including content updates, feature-set upgrades and more.