Why web design workshops? The new web development model.

As I am from an agency background, I spent over a decade delivering website design projects in a 5-step format that we had created in a conventional format, that in turn was very effective for us.

How the traditional web design process works in 5 steps

This approach will of course vary depending on the designer or agency, however there is often a consistency in the process. The steps we would reliously follow are outlined below:

  1. Planning - The web designer or agency team member will meet with the client to extract a brief for the website. This process generally included website sitemaps and wireframes.

  2. Website Design - A series of concepts would be created, starting with 2-3 variations of the home page design. These would be sent to the client via email in PDF format and later the webpage designs would be uploaded via FTP form a mock website in the browser. The designs for all key website pages (usually including combinations of home, about, service/product, news, events and contact pages) would need to be signed-off by the client before proceeding to the development stage. Any missed detail here could have a significant impact on the project.

  3. Web Development - The development stage is where most heavy lifting is carried out, the flat design concepts (design stage) are brought to life using a combination of HTML, CSS and Javascript. The layouts are then integrated to a content management system (for example Wordpress) and tested before the training session.

  4. Website Admin Training - The website admin training sessions could range from a 2 hour orientation and CMS training session to a series of sessions, each focusing on various aspects of the admin or for marketing the website once launched.

  5. Website Go-live - We would actively assist the client with the launch of the website, including setting up the hosting server, transferring or pointing the domain name (website address) and assistance with email queries as and when required. We would also carry out permanent 301 redirects and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) checks before launch.

This process worked extremely well for the vast majority of our website projects. In fact it is still effective for large-scale projects, however the evolution of responsive design (and especially mobile-first design) has made the design process more time consuming. To ensure our new PixelHaze website development quotes were competitive without reducing our hourly rate, it became obvious that we could not develop a high quality product with this approach (unless our starting budget was £4,000+). It was a simple case of horses for courses. To adapt, we needed to truncate the approach to make it accessible for our target audience, small and medium sized businesses.

This problematic situation led us to rethink the whole process and as a result, we introduced our web design workshops with Squarespace. With the competitively priced package that Squarespace offered, we were able to develop a website workshop model that integrated all 5 key project steps outlined above in a 1-2-1 environment with our clients. By working face-to-face with our clients for large parts of our projects, we could cut down on the side effects of a remote (or partially remote) project. Email tennis (persistent back and forth of emails discussing website design tweaks)? Gone! Our clients felt empowered as an integral part of the project without straying away from the safe pair of hands that the designer was able to provide. These are not the only two reasons why we can gleefully report that the website workshops we have developed over the past 4 years have been a success, but they are the two main plus points for sure.

The vast majority of our clients are not in an ultra competitive market, therefore ensuring the development of a modern, professional online presence without breaking the piggy bank, is our number one priority. Working with Squarespace has allowed us to achieve this, and then some!

How our Squarespace website workshops have evolved for 2019

For those who are interested in our 1-2-1 web design training workshops, the good news is that we are fully committed to delivering these sessions in 2019 and beyond, subject to availability. We are also launching group workshops, giving you the opportunity to team up with other like-minded business owners or designers for 1-3 days. Keep an eye out for the series of workshops that we will be launching later this year, alternatively you can request your own group workshop if you already know of a handful of businesses or business owners who would like to work alongside you to save some hard-earned money.

Where does Squarespace online training fit in?

As our new offering for 2019, the Pixelhaze Academy will be a standalone web design training course and resource area, supporting clients who would like to create a website using Squarespace. We can provide the technical knowledege to assist first-time or junior designers to create their own website using real world design examples.

Would you like to find out more about our workshops? Please enter your specific details via our contact form to schedule an appointment.