Words by Piers TincknellOctober 26, 2016
After all the bubbles from champagne and high fives in the office we always make sure there is time to reflect back to think about what worked well, what didn’t work so well and what could be improved on next time.
In the website design industry everything happens very fast. Briefs are sent in by clients and work is turned around relatively quickly compared to other industries. In an age when everyone is in a rush and needs things quickly it is very easy to go from project to project without stopping and looking back on what you have achieved.
Atomic Smash turns 6 years old this week and as reflection is high in the studio I thought I would share the things we look back on after each project. We always have an internal project review after every site build and also hold a client feedback review to see how they felt the project went. The feedback from these sessions allows us to refine our process and constantly improve our service.
Looking back on how the last Wordpress website project went.
Firstly it is always interesting to dust off the original brief and look to see what has been retained from the original ideas and what new ideas came out of the planning / requirements phase. It is always nice to document these and remind the client in the review of what insights we bought to the table, especially if the ideas came from users rather than from the top.
What to consider when planning a Wordpress website project?
Then we will look at the original objectives laid out for the project. It is especially important where possible to try and set up measurement tools to capture how these objectives are performing over time. For example if an objective is to increase social sharing of blog posts then we will make sure a tool like Add This or Google Tag Manager is installed to capture those metrics. We always try and build into our relationships with our clients a quarterly review which looks at these objectives and aims for the new website. This is a great way to ensure that the website isn’t forgotten about after launch, in reality once the site goes live that’s when all the extra exciting bits happen.
We also will reflect back on the timings for the project, when did the client originally brief us and when was the project delivered? If there was any delay was this due to the client not having their content ready or was it due to not having access to the client’s server to take a backup of the old site? Every project comes with it’s own challenges and it’s always good to look back on these to see if it’s possible to handle these sooner into process. We have worked on a lot of WordPress projects and have a really good way of capturing all the information we need early on but usually something will pop up to try and throw a spanner in the works like not having access to the domain name.
We also look to see if our time tracking on the project matches up with the project budget, if it didn’t what were the main factors in this? We work in a very agile format which means that our designer works very closely with the developer to ensure that what’s being designed can be translated into a WordPress website which means for accurate time estimations. Again though there will always be something that comes along to add extra time onto the project and this session is a good time for the developers to explain to the designers / UX team why something that seemed quite simple in theory actually turned out to be very complicated in reality.
A really interesting thing to look back on is the technology used on the last project and to think about how what we have done for this client can benefit our previous clients. If we have used a new WordPress plug-in who else on our server would benefit from moving over to this new piece of technology. With all of our projects we don’t want it to finish when the site goes live, we want to build a more ongoing relationship to try and ensure that a website doesn’t need to be totally rebuilt in the future, just upgraded. Due to the fact that the web is moving very quickly and technology is constantly being upgraded having this stage in our process really helps us to add value to our existing clients websites.
As mentioned earlier after each site launch we will have a debrief with the client. The questions we are always desperate to know the answers to are:
It is from this feedback that we get quotes like:
The workshop with trustees, staff and volunteers was well delivered, as was the ongoing training to staff and prototype testing with different One25 stakeholder groups (volunteers, donors, etc). We believe the new website will better engage our supporters in events, donating and volunteering. Everyone at One25 is really impressed and happy with the new website. Josie Forsyth One25
Atomic Smash is an exceptional, website design company. Whether perfecting the user experience or implementing an aesthetic design, David, Piers, and their entire team will reliably and efficiently deliver the best product possible. Choosing them as our website design company was the best decision we made. Kelly McAtee Let's Just Be Generous
It is this constant reflection after each project that has allowed us to develop our design and development process to ensure everyone who we work with gets the best website for them and their end users.
Speak to Piers to see how we can help you.