7 Steps of a Successful Website Design Process w/ Template

Web Design
November 4, 2022

Building a website is a process that involves planning, organization, and clear communication. While it's often assumed that technology advancements have simplified the website design process for end-users, they come with restrictions and often result in poor-performing online platforms. If you're a business that is looking to make a positive splash with your digital marketing efforts, you'll need to work with a proven website designer and developing agency.

Goldfish Code is a consumer-focused, US-based website design agency that has established a strong reputation for creating engaging, user-friendly, and fully responsive websites built for performance and scalability. Our hybrid business model permits us to provide full-service website solutions to keep website design costs affordable.

Further, we've created a proven design process that helps our team of professional website designers and developers gather information, complete research, and create amazing websites. This is what we're going to explore in the information below.

In today's blog, we will define the seven proven steps of a successful web design process that professional web design agencies employ to ensure their clients receive a finished website that exceeds their expectations.

What Exactly is a Website Design Process?

Like any other technical task or project, a process helps keep everything organized, transparent, and on schedule. A website design process is specifically created to help a professional web development agency communicate openly with its clients. It ensures that information and data that are crucial to choosing the proper styling, branding, structure, layout, and architecture are efficiently deployed.

Specifically – three general sections are included in the web design workflow.


This is the main objective of the website design workflow. The discovery phase helps the agency and client understand the needs, scope, and capabilities of each other. It permits both parties to openly ask questions that help each other make informed decisions, create designs, and eventually – establish the guidelines or structure of the overall project scope.

Concept Creation

The second phase of practical and effective website design stages is developing visual concepts. Once the design agency has collected the information from the client, they will get to work with graphic design and provide visual samples of the website look, functions, and site layout.

Feedback & Revisions

The final important section of legitimate website design stages includes feedback. During each step of the design process, the web agency will provide consultation and direction to make the design phase smooth and effective. However, the client needs to provide feedback to the agency focusing on transparency and openness.

Many website design projects fail or are significantly delayed based on not receiving direct feedback from clients – and vice versa. When you work with an experienced web design company, they will seek your opinions on each step. Both parties need to communicate with clarity and feel comfortable expressing opinions.

Why Good Web Design Workflow Matters

There are three main phases to creating a website: design, development, and deployment. Each phase has a recommended workflow that allows the project to have structure. Some of the top reasons why good web design workflow matters include the following.

  • Provides a roadmap of transparency. The first goal of a process is to clearly identify the project's goals, objectives, and steps. This is the general roadmap that allows all stakeholders to review, revise, and activate.
  • Allows time for review and revision. When outlined from the start to include time for review, the workflow ensures that the client and agency can engage in conversation about revisions.
  • Keeps projects on budget. While reviewing some of the initial designs and website user experiences infused into the overall look and feel, one thing to remember is that multiple revisions can lead to extended costs. It's not mainly the revisions that increase the cost – however, there need to be some guidelines on that front. The major cost impact is changing or adding user experience functions, tools, or technology inclusions.

In the end, a good website design workflow gives everyone a clear understanding of how the project will flow from start to finish.

Understanding Website Design Stages: 7 Crucial Web Design Steps

When you're looking to have a professional website developer create a robust, fully-responsive online platform, there are three primary stages that will create the finished project.

Website Design

The website design phase allows all parties to outline the entire project's scope. This is when an agency will define the project's goals, plan the strategy, recommend technology such as frameworks and programming languages, create graphic designs, website layouts, and develop mock-ups and final design renderings.

Website Development

The development phase takes the designs created in the first step and converts them into a physical and visual website. Developers will create the web page front end and back end platforms using specific website development frameworks, programming languages, and technologies. New content, SEO, and other projects are also a part of the development process.

Website Testing & Deployment

Once the website has been built, testing and revisions will be completed. This is often known as alpha or beta testing – where all the bugs are hammered out before the website is officially launched. Deployment is the phase in which the site goes 'live.' They’ll remove any broken links, test HTML, CSS, plugin, social media integration, animations, content creation, and other coding deliverables, and ensure everything jives with the web design project.

While many website clients use the terminology website design to describe the entire process of building a website, that's not technically accurate. As such, for the purposes of this article – we're going to focus on that first stage – or the website design process.

Goldfish Code, a US-based software development company, has a proven 7-step process that allows us to gather data, consult on recommendations, outline the plan, revise and enhance the plan, create initial mock-ups, receive feedback, and ultimately – provide a finished new website design for client approval of the scope of the project.

Let's go over each of these steps in detail.

Step #1: Discovery

Before a web agency starts any project, there needs to be a clear and transparent discovery process. This often begins with a consultation or discovery meeting – where the client will ask the agency about their scope, experience, and technical questions about building a website for them. However, the web agency also has an important task here as well – qualifying the client and defining their needs.

Different web agencies have unique methods of collecting this valuable information. Some have an automated questionnaire that a client fills out before the discovery meeting. Others choose to send a customized list of questions to the client after the initial conversation.

Some of the key objectives accomplished during the discovery planning phase include the following below:

Objective #1 – Receive Style Guidance from the Client

Each business has its own level of customized branding and marketing identification. Some larger businesses – specifically those that have created a solid brand reputation have an established series of brand style guides that all vendors or subcontractors must follow when providing design services for that company.

Some of these style guides include:

  • Color schemes: Are there specific primary and secondary colors used by the company? Are they solids, gradients, or unique HEX color codes?
  • Fonts: Is there a specific font that is either proprietary or linked with the brand? Multiple fonts are often used in different applications, such as a primary font for headers and a secondary font for the call to action.
  • Branding or Logo: Does the company have an existing logo that is solid and can be used as the primary image to create the overall website design? If not, would they prefer the website agency to provide those services?

Objective #2 – Review Sample Websites the Client Prefers

Quite often a business is inspired by an existing website unrelated to their industry. Suppose there is a website – or series of websites that a company decision-maker or marketing team believes would work for their business. In that case, it's important to send those samples to the website design company. Along with sending the links – it's recommended to provide a bulleted list of key attributes preferred, such as the layout, navigation, color scheme, user functions, notifications, and graphic design elements.

Objective #3 – What is the Scope of the Clients Website?

While the website design agency is hired to help provide guidance on what pages you should have, how site visitors access it, and other structural elements, it's vital for the client to provide their desired inclusions. Since a business knows its industry best, receiving their initial input on the website layout or pages needed is a huge help.

Step #2 – Research & Consultation

After the discovery phase of website design, a professional web agency will go to work to begin the process of planning an effective strategy. Since all website design projects are unique, a strategy must incorporate several unique aspects.  

  • What is the goal or objective of the website? Is it to inform, sell, entertain, or meant to allow users to access data?
  • Who is the target audience? This information helps define the recommendations for layout, structure, and user experience functionality.
  • Will the website sell products to services directly to consumers? This will determine whether eCommerce solutions are needed.
  • Where will the website be deployed? If it's a US-based website, are multiple language translations required?

When the design firm has completed its research, it will provide the client with recommendations that include several objectives.

Objective #1 – Programming Languages & Framework Used

The first item that needs to be resolved is the technology used to physically build the website. This will depend on the feedback and data gathered during the first discovery phase. Multiple variables determine what technologies are used, such as bandwidth required, graphic design or user functions, target audience, website functionality, and more.

Objective #2 – The Website Wireframe and Site Map

This structural recommendation will inform the client what the designer recommends to pages to accomplish their online marketing goals. This is known the site map or the bones of the website design.

The wireframe is how the website will be designed. It involves structural design elements, such as the shapes of text and image boxes, content sliders, navigation, header and footer designs, and more.

Objective #3 – Design and Content Elements

A website is not complete without integrating content and visual design elements. Gaining valuable information during the discovery phase and completing robust industry-specific research will permit the website design company to provide recommendations on graphic design and content that will be educational, engaging, and convince users to a call to action.

Step #3 – Review and Agree Upon a Plan

As the website design agency provides its recommendations – the client will review and provide feedback on specific areas. For example – if the company that needs a website built does not have a strong brand identity or logo, they can request that the design company handle this task. If that's the case, the web design agency will go to work to create a few branding/logo options that visually articulate the company, their service or products, vision, and corporate identity.

Further, the two parties will discuss important details – such as budgetary restrictions. Sometimes the recommended site structure and plan provide a bit of sticker shock to a client – and will require revision to stay within their budget. These details will be hammered out, focusing on transparency from both sides before moving forward to the next step.

Step #4 – Initial Screen Design

Once all details are agreed upon, contracts signed, and the project officially kicks off, the website design process goes to the next level. Graphic design professionals will create one or two initial mock-ups of primary screens of the website – such as a home page and a primary functional page (such as an about us section or services offered page).

Before the mock-ups are sent to the client for review, the best website design agencies will provide some critical education to the client. Some of the specifics they need to clearly articulate to ensure the client understands the big picture include the following:

  • What's the scope or function of this page? A home page is designed much differently than supporting internal pages. Before a client reviews them, the website designer needs to educate them.
  • Who is this page targeting? Defining the audience who is likely to engage with that specific page – or individual sections on that page also provides website content education to the client.
  • Why were certain colors, fonts, and designs used? This helps explain the importance of branding and the consistency of brand identification.

Step #5 – Feedback and Revision

After the client receives the initial screens and design concepts, they will review and provide constructive feedback. Their primary goal with the first round of revisions is to ensure that the website design aligns with the vision. A few of the specific items that clients should carefully consider during this phase include:

Objective #1

Make sure the design has the look and feel. The goal of these first two pages is to nail down the overall look and feel of the website. Ensure the design agency has hit the nail on the head before moving forward to the next phases.

Objective #2

Verify the colors and fonts are within your branding guidelines (if applicable).

Objective #3

Review the user functions. Are the buttons, and other user interactive features infused into the primary website design within your customer's comfort level?

Objective #4

Content Structure. Is there enough content on the primary pages to tell your company story or convince users to choose your brand?

To help clients make informed decisions about the initial page designs, Goldfish Code delivers all designs in a clickable format using Adobe XD with hotspots that can be clicked to simulate navigating from one screen to the next and using the application.

Step #6 – Continued Mock-Ups till Conclusion

After the client provides feedback on the initial page design elements and approved revisions, the website design agency will proceed to create additional mock-ups of additional customized pages. This will include all pages outlined in the site map and approved by the client. T

Typically, the web agency will provide the additional mock-ups in batches of five – or in sections of the website – such as eCommerce, blogs, service pages, and more. This process will continue – by receiving feedback from the client, making revisions, and final approval on website design.

Step #7 – The Final Approval and Transition to Development

At this point of the website design process steps – the design phase comes to an end. However, most website design agencies will provide a client with a multiple-page, clickable version of their website. This will allow them to navigate specific links, to see how the website is designed to work, or provide a visual preview of the finished project.

When the client is satisfied with the design, the agency will move into the development phase. The best web companies to work with are those who will seamlessly transition design into development and post-launch project management – without delay.

Downloadable Web Design Process Template

To help you with this journey and ensure you have a clear understanding of what you should look for with any website design company you choose to work with, we've provided this downloadable website design process checklist.

Our Web Design Process at Goldfish Code

If you like what you've read above that's fantastic – as it's a good reflection of the design process we embrace at Goldfish Code. The key to ensuring that your web design process goes off without a hitch is smooth communication between all stakeholders.

We strongly recommend scheduling an initial consultation – or face-to-face / virtual meeting with the web design agency. When you speak to the Goldfish Code team, we'll explain all the steps of a successful design process and how we depend on your feedback and our communication process.

Some of the individual steps involved in our design process include the following.

  • First, we will ask you to provide essential style guidelines, such as required branding elements like colors, fonts, or other websites you like.
  • Our team will ask you to let us know what pages or website elements you need or would like added to the website's layout.
  • The Goldfish Code team will then research, review all data, and consult with you on best website design practices – such as which technologies or frameworks we'll use to build the site on the client-side and server-side.
  • If requested, our design team will provide some branding options for you to review.
  • We will then request feedback on our recommendations – so we can formulate the final plan, agree upon a budget, and begin the process described in Steps 4 through 6.  

Several website design projects fail due to miscommunication lapses, overpromising and underdelivering, or simply not clarifying specific details before starting the project. Attempting to hire multiple contractors often leads to delays, miscommunication, and budgetary nightmares. If you're looking for a proven website design company in the United States that can mitigate all these problems – Goldfish Code is the solution.

Final Points on Steps of a Successful Design Process

It is critical to hire a web design firm with the bandwidth to complete every aspect of creating a website – design, development, and deployment. Keep these important items top of mind as you learn how to choose the best web design company.

  • Always be open and transparent with any web design company about your concerns.
  • Don't be afraid to ask for references, examples of similar projects, and detailed specifics about their design process.
  • Make sure you feel 100 percent comfortable with their website design, development, and deployment process.

Follow the tips listed above and work with a company that will guide you through the website design process – from concept to launch. You'll save money and time and ensure the website exceeds your expectations.