The image above shows the usual development cycle for implementing additional functionality to a website, crucially it starts with Understanding Business Requirements or in plain English “What do you want the web site to do ?” Then it’s a logical process of determining and developing the content required, developing and finalising any specific design elements, e.g. company logo, menu structure, general look and feel of site as documented here. The content section is about what are you actually going to publish and whilst there are some static elements of a website such as name, contact details and so forth the process of adding fresh, relevant content targeted at your intended audience is an ongoing process.
Developing the site to provide the desired functionality as specified in your Business Requirements along with accommodating the design elements and any required content is an iterative process. Not all you want may be either technically or financially viable and some compromise will generally be required to achieve a functional web site on time and to budget.
An under estimated but crucial part of the cycle is testing. The website is a 24×7 resource and, as such, needs to function reliably to service the needs of both site visitor and clockworkimaging.co.uk. A common error is only to test the functionality as it was intended to be used. Remember a website is available to the public and they will try to use it in all sorts of unintended ways e.g. navigating the site in unexpected ways. Generally it is best to have someone not familiar with the design criteria or business requirements to test the site as this is the closest approximation to real world usage. Even after testing its good practice to offer users a means to contact you with details of any problems encountered so they can be rectified. Testing will probably go through several iterations before all issues are resolved depending on the complexity of what is being tested.
Approval is once all testing has been successful and the new functionality can be released to the public. The scale of this depends on the website in question, for a simple, basic website serving just information pages it will be a straight forward replacement of existing pages for large sites e.g. a major web site presence such as bbc.co.uk even simple changes will have undergone extensive testing in a duplicate environment before its implemented on the live environment. Nothing on this scale is envisaged for clockworkimaging.co.uk …. Publishing is the act of actually releasing new functionality to the world at large and maintenance is the ongoing task of ensuring everything remains functional e.g. software updates, anti virus measures and so forth.
The cycle starts again with new business requirements for additional functionality. Although what has been outlined may seem quite rigid and designed for larger IT environments where there will be a formal sign off at each stage, the steps described actually apply to all developments large or small and skipping any steps in the rush to publish is likely to prove detrimental to the smooth operation of the web site.
Current Status of site
As of hand-in date for professional contexts Y3 the following aspects of the website are in place and functional.
- Personal Domain Name, clockworkimaging.co.uk , implemented
- Logo design finalised and in place for both screen and printed documentation
- Image gallery functionality implemented
- Basic Pages in place.
- Home Page with personal statement and links to sample galleries
- Contact Page with ability to submit questions, personal details and receive automatic confirmation of receipt.
- Gallery page with links to style of shoot undertaken and sample images on individual pages;
- Family Portraits
- Fantasy Portraits
- Personal Projects, In Step and Hair
- Blog Page, currently only has links to Professional Contexts 3 and Individual Practice 3 on blog site stevesf8.org.uk which was used whilst clockworkimaging.co.uk was underdevelopment. Full blogging capability of adding, editing and publishing text and images in blogs is fully available and working on the site.
Development Priorities for the clockworkimaging.co.uk site
The immediate priorities for clockworkimaging.co.uk post degree completion are;
- Refine content of basic pages.
- Develop SEO friendly textual content for each page.
- Resolve Image resolution issues and replace sub-standard images with correctly sized images.
- Address SEO issues as identified by the Yoast WordPress plug in for areas such as Titles, Descriptions and Alt Text.
- Start to implement Social Media strategies for driving traffic to the site such as Facebook page posts with links to site
- Move primary blogging entries to new site and post regular new blogs – at least monthly if not weekly on clockworkimaging.co.uk
- Start to collect email addresses for regular newsletter
- Investigate and test e-commerce functionality on 55red.co.uk
- Direct selling of prints
- Booking system for shoots
- Determine pricing packages in order to be able to implement e-commerce capability on live environment.