Web Design has become an increasingly complex field as technology has advanced and the capabilities of designers have expanded. The rules of finding success with web design are much different than they were even half a decade ago, and to ensure the best chance for your project, you should empower yourself with the best tools and strategies.
When it comes to strategy, every web designer and developer should become familiar with the idea of iterative methodologies. While this idea is not exclusive to the field of web design, it is particularly effective when used for web design. Iterative methodologies are based on cyclical processes, that is, there is a recurring process of prototyping, designing, testing, analyzing, and then improving your website or application. Previous web design strategies may have asked you to create the final product and deploy that with few if any changes, but iterative web design methodologies allow you much more flexibility and responsiveness, which is crucial in this current era of the internet.
If you are interested in iterative methodologies for web design, then you’ll want to know the best practices for approaching this strategy. Read on and learn more about how you can make the most of this technique for web design.
A Flexible Development Process is Key
Flexibility is a great feature to have in just about any area of life. Without flexibility, you risk being completely blindsided by an event you can’t expect. If you could perfectly accommodate every outcome, and you knew that you mastered all you needed to know about design, then a rigid web design strategy could work.
However, this is just not a realistic scenario. Trends in web design are continuously changing, and technology, as well as consumer demands, will also challenge your web design efforts. The best way to account for this and achieve success with your web design efforts is to implement a strategy that can allow you room for error and improvement, and that is what iterative methodologies are all about.
Rather than worrying about if your shipped site or application is perfect, you can approach it with the perspective that this is your best effort for now. As time passes, you may be confronted with new ideas on what is the “best” approach for you, and then you’ll have the room to make changes, implement them, and restart the process again.
Give Yourself Room to Grow
Everyone starts as a beginner, and even the best designers will have had a point where they knew much less than they did today. Skill and intuition are built over time with experience, and gaining this experience is how you can continue to improve your web design efforts. But you shouldn’t wait until you feel that you have mastered your web design craft. And really, this day may never come. With the swift changes and trends that overtake web design, what is superior today, may be inferior tomorrow.
Therefore, a system utilizing iterative methodologies, will allow you the opportunity to ship out sites and applications at your current expertise, and improve with time and feedback. An important part of learning is doing, and if you wait until you feel you can make a perfect product, then you may be waiting forever.
Provide Relief for Your Resources
Another key benefit of iterative methodologies is concerning resources. A lot of times, launching a site or application with every feature of your extensive vision will be a costly endeavor, in time and money. If you are a large corporation, then obtaining these funds might not be unreasonable. But for smaller groups and individuals, you’ll want to ship an idea, and build up your concept over time. Iterative methodologies in place will afford you that opportunity.
You can begin with implementing a few of the features and ideas you want, and still have time to work on the other areas that you would like to include. You can also get feedback on your current efforts and go back to the drawing board if any critiques are raised that you can answer and that you feel match your vision for the future.
Respond to User Preferences
Shipping a product like a site or application and bundling everything upfront can also lead to a disconnect with customers. Now, some websites may have a very particular customer they are appealing to and know exactly how they want their product to appear for all of time. For example, if your site is just a calculator, then you might be fine just building the bare minimum for a calculating interface, and not worrying about any visual improvements.
But many sites on the web will want to grow with their audience, for fear of being replaced by a more relevant product or service. In this case, you’ll want the opportunity to respond to customer feedback when it occurs, and this is a big advantage of iterative methodologies. With the cyclical process offering essentially a constant development cycle, you will have the opportunity to keep up with your customers and not have to rely on your predictions.
Improve Offerings and Take Advantage of Frequent Opportunities
In addition to just customer requests and feedback, your vision for your product may also advance over time. If this is the case, you’ll want to have a strategy that allows you room for improvement. Technology advances very quickly, and what tools are available today, may not have even been thought of last year or even last month. By maintaining an iterative methodology strategy, you allow room for your capabilities to grow and your knowledge to expand.
With the possibility of recurring updates, you also get the chance to reaffirm your goals with your target audience. If every month or quarter or however long you update your site or application, you also take the time to explain your changes to your audience, you then have the opportunity to reiterate your goals to them, and how you are seeking to make their experience with your design valuable.
Go Grow Your World
The idea of iteration, improvement over gradual sessions, and recurring cycles is useful in many different aspects of life. If you are learning to cook, for instance, you might not want to just go through every recipe in a cookbook at one time. You might want to look at one recipe, acknowledge each step, improve the various skills needed, and then gradually expand to include more recipes and more skills. The approach is much the same in web design, as the end goal is continuous improvement through recurring processes. This advice isn’t just for individuals either, as even the best web design agency in Atlanta will probably implement iterative methodologies in their web design process.
A decade or two ago, having a standard website that did not change much might have been more feasible. However, in recent years the internet has begun to move much faster, and if you are too rigid in your thinking, then you risk being left behind by other developers. This is the ultimate benefit of iterative methodologies, flexibility, and freedom. The freedom to make mistakes, grow and improve to serve your audience. The flexibility to accommodate new trends and ways of thinking. With how quickly the internet moves, it is important that you can keep up with the changes, and your best approach is to utilize the strength of iterative methodologies.