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WEB105 » Launch & Beyond

Launching your Client’s site should not be the end—it is a transition into a entirely new maintenance workflow:

  • Who will maintain the site? What are their qualifications?
  • Who will be responsible for the post-launch content?

At this point, you should establish a point when the design, production and development stop and the website has been fully tested.

The Design, Production & Development Style Guides

Production and development elements need to be added to the Design style guide—sometimes referred to as a “red-line.”

The Design, Production and Development Style Guides need to be comprehensive as they will be used as a reference guide for the maintenance team when adding or modifying graphics, pages and overall content. Include any and all information relevant to maintaining the site:

designspecifications

Design Specifications by Mike Sinkula

Design Style Guides should include guidelines for:

  • Dimensions
  • Colors
  • Typefaces/Fonts
  • Photo/Illustration treatments

See Also: How To Create a Web Design Style Guide | Designmodo

Scripting Specifications by Mike Sinkula

Scripting Specifications by Mike Sinkula

Production & Development Style Guides should include code examples for:

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • JavaScript
  • PHP

Creating The Hand-Off Packet

The hand-off packet is the collection of all the assets, materials and documentation of the project. It should be burned to a CD-ROM or posted to your client staging area and include:

  1. All master art files; Photoshop, Illustrator, etc.
  2. All Fonts
  3. All stock or custom photos and/or illustrations
  4. All HTML pages and templates
  5. All Style Guides & Specifications

Tracking Documentation for Archives

All relevant documentation; contracts briefs, etc should be gathered for internal archival. This will help down the road with future bids.

Conducting A Post Mortem Meeting

The post-mortem meeting is an excellent opportunity to reflect on the project as a whole. It should be attended by all key members to discuss what went “wrong” with the project and how can these issues be corrected for the next time around.

Schedule Maintenance Training

Really… do I need to train these people how to use their website? The answer is “YES!” You will need to meet with your Client to explain the style guide, how to use the CMS, etc.

Launch & Going Live

With the site ready to move to the live server, all testing must be complete and the production must be frozen. Because there are probably still bugs to be slain, have a solid plan in place for post launch fixes as well.

Launching The Site

Plan to upload the website during non-peak hours to allow for downtime. Launch should interfere as little as possible with regular website traffic.

Registering With Search Engines

Since 85% of internet users use search engines to seek out sites, you should register your site with the popular search engines as soon as possible.

See Also: Add your URL to Google

Maintaining The Site

Only regular updating keeps content fresh and new which keeps users coming back to the site. Therefore, you should have a twelve to twenty-four month maintenance plan.

The plan should include:

  • dealing with glitches
  • usability issues
  • scheduled updates

Assessing Maintenance Team Capabilities

The individuals maintain the site need to be qualified! Having the same team maintain the (static) site that produced it is optimal. However, if you have used a CMS, you have done so to allow your Client to maintain the site themselves.

Depending on the size of the site and the scenario will affect the decision whether you need an in house part or full time person/team or an external team:

  • Revisit the maintenance survey; what were the goals? Daily updates? Weekly advertising emails? Press releases? Product additions?
  • A spreadsheet of what gets updated and when is a good idea

Measuring Success

Often, the success of a site is measured purely by traffic and hits. However, there are other success metrics:

  • Sales
  • In Store customer traffic
  • Reduction in customer service calls
  • Subscriptions to newsletter

Understanding site traffic and page hits as well as your demographic user basis helps the advertisers of the site meet their goals. This also helps companies understand which parts of the site are working and which aren’t.

See Also: Google Analytics | Official Website

See… wasn’t this class fun?

This portion of the Premium Design Works website is written by Mike Sinkula for the Web Design & Development students at Seattle Central College and the Human Centered Design & Engineering students at the University of Washington.

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