What to Expect When You Work Your Project with Us
Most web companies have either a rigid process or no process at all.
Either one can be successful depending on things like the complexity of the project, the experience of the vendor team, and the experience of the vendor and client working together.
One Size Does Not Fit All
Many companies flaunt their process like it is THE BEST process and therefore it is THE ANSWER and makes them the best player in the market. Well, it might be and it might not be. Its just not that simple. A web company can have a great process and still not "click" with the client because their process is about them not about you.
At XI, we totally believe in process - but ours is fluid. We are committed to continually shaping and perfecting it, but our process isn't about our process - it's about looking you in the eye and listening to you.... its about finding out how we can serve you the best.... how we can use our experience and expertise to better your experience.
We've been around long enough to say, that every one of our clients is an original.
Your company is an original and your are an original, so you deserve to be treated like we have never worked with anyone like you before. Our process as good as it is, is not a one-size fits all process - it is all about looking for the original in you and finding a way to tell that story on your web site. You are different, and we want to help you tell the world.
The discovery phase of a project needs to be as thorough as possible. It is the most critical phase of the project - if Discovery goes well, then the whole project will, but if Discovery is rushed and incomplete then likewise the whole project will be poorly planned and suffer many weaknesses.
This is a good time to have patience and discipline as we work through the details of your project and try to get inside the mindshare of the intellectual assets on your team.
- We listen to you
- What is your reason for this project?
- How will your success or failure be measured?
- Who are the stakeholders?
- What intellectual assets and mindshares in your organization should share in this process?
- What are some of your experiences in past projects? Successes and failures?
- What is the story you want your web site to tell? If your visitors will walk away with only one message, what will it be?
- We conduct market research pertaining to your project
- What design elements are needed in this market?
- What S.E.O. measures need to be taken and are there specific goals in mind?
- What are your competitors doing in this market space?
- What can we learn from your customers and/or potential customers?
- What market experts in your company have valuable insight that should be considered?
- We gather all necessary site assets that we can at this point (content, photos, logo and other artwork, corporate collateral, etc)
- We produce design and development strategies from this discovery. When everyone is agreed that we have the plan we need, then we move forward.
- The Contract - we utilize a Design/Development Agreement with all the proper legal-eze to protect both parties responsibly. Our contract is an industry standard yet simple document that has passed the legal muster of our largest corporate clients.
- The Statement of Work - In the S.O.W., we outline in detail the specific deliverables of the project, the stakeholders for both parties and their responsibilities, any project risks that needed to be noted, and the financial terms of our arrangement.
Once the Design/Development Contract is properly executed, we can engage in multiple projects under different S.O.W.s without signing another Design/Development Agreement.
Content Creation and Asset Collection
Content is King and our process reflects this. The first big step in every web project is defining what the content should be now and where it will grow in the near future.
- New content will be developed based on your organization's needs and our consultation. Web site analytics tell the story here and when accurately interpreted, will show you where your site is effective and where it isn't.
- Legacy content should be updated.
- A Market Study of your industry and your competitor's web sites will help you set a target for the scope and specifics of your web site content.
- Content and data is analyzed to determine which data is best served and maintained in page format and which content/data should be served from a database. Database content is inherantly easier to distribute to multiple pages of the web site and therefore is usually the best solution for structured information.
- Every XI web site includes S.E.O. (Search Engine Optimization) features
- We believe code should be cross-browser compatible and not just coded for one browser because it is the most popular. We test on Firefox, Safari, Google Chrome, and Internet Explorer on Windows and Macintosh, and other platforms and browsers.... not just Internet Explorer on Windows.
- Web applications can be developed to distribute and display your site's information to different parts of your site where is most effective and allow that information to be maintained in one place no matter how many pages it appears on.
- The design process will work from documents and strategies produced in discovery.
- The design process will commence as soon as discovery is complete and the content is fairly well developed.
- The design is not about the design, its about how to tell your story by featuring your content well...
and its about the experience the visitor has with your story.
- We generally start with color swatches and move toward home page comps. Everything else comes after that.
Quality Assurance and User Acceptance
We QA each site three times:
- First QA takes place after content and applications are in place on the staging server before the design phase begins. This QA focuses on completeness and correctness of the content and applications that deliver content.
- Second QA takes place after the design is completed and applied to the web site just before Go-Live. The new web site is in place on a development server ahead of launch.
Thorough QA of the site is completed on this server before launch. This allows you to focus on the new content that will launch with the new site. All updates can be reviewed and approved as needed.
This developement server allows the client to put the site through various levels of User Acceptance with different internal departments, offices, and decidion-makers through all stages of development up to launch.
- Third QA takes place after launch. Now that the pressure is off to get the site up, you many see things that you need to change that did not occur to you in the rush before the launch.
Go-Live / Implementation
- Strategies are developed well in advance of go-live to make the cut-over smooth and emminently successful.
- Sufficient backup strategies are put in place for each critical juncture.
- The Go-live plan is executed as planned
- Our contracts specify a warranty period for any defects and for a high-availability period in which we are standing by to address any further post-launch needs that you have.
Its not enough to have a truly great process, you have to have great people working that process.
At XI Interactive, we look at you as part of the project team.
Your expertise about your organization and industry coupled with our expertise about web design and development will produce a web site that moves you toward your organization goals and opens doors to your future.
Three phases of maintenance:
- two week post go-live high-availability period - once the site is launched and the pressure is off, you will undoubtedly think of a few things on the website that you want to change.
- two month warranty period - coding and application defects are usually discovered in one of the two levels of QA. However if any minor defects exist after go-live, we will be sure to fix them.
- ongoing maintenance for the life-cycle of your website - content updates, enhancements, etc. At XI, we stay with you for the life of your website.