Taking on complex web development projects—websites with hundreds of pages, unique apps, and digitized content—can be daunting. Not only are there the normal technical and creative aspects to get past, but the sheer volume of the work can present logistical challenges. Additionally, big web design jobs usually have multiple personalities involved at the decision-making level.
Given all of these factors, it shouldn’t be a surprise that a lot of complex web development jobs tend to take longer than expected and go well beyond their initial budgets.
That certainly doesn’t have to be the case, though. Today, we want to outline a handful of steps you can take—in conjunction with your web design and development partner—to make complex web design projects simpler, smoother, and more efficient…
1. Begin with a Set of Written Goals
At the start of any big business or non-profit initiative, you should be clear about what you’re trying to accomplish. Gather the stakeholders involved and see if you can get everyone to agree on the biggest goals for the project. You might even list out primary and secondary targets based on their importance.
2. Decide Who Gets Input and Decision-Making Power
Ideally, you would be able to get input at the beginning of the project from anyone who will be using the finished website. However, as the process goes on, it’s important you identify who has decision-making power within the organization so any disagreements on creative direction can be resolved quickly and the project is install.
3. Create a Written Plan Before Work Begins
Just as you wouldn’t break ground on a skyscraper without a set of blueprints in hand, neither should you and your web development team attempt to create a large site without a written guide. Although your site map might need to be adjusted over time, you should have a pretty firm idea of what needs to be completed before any pages are being drawn.
4. Assign Content Creation Early
Other than disagreements amongst executives and managers, the biggest bottleneck in most complex web developer projects involves the creation and approval of content. If you have a great deal that needs to be written, drawn or filmed, assign those tasks early on. It doesn’t matter whether you’re getting them from within your organization or elsewhere. Just that you know your pages and images will be completed on time.
5. Consider Rolling Out the Website in Stages
Don’t feel like you need to launch your brand-new website as a fully-completed entity all at once. It’s entirely possible—and sometimes preferable—to launch your new apps and pages in steps. That allows you to test and refine as you go, and also to begin reaping the benefits of your new web presence sooner than you would if you had to wait for the whole thing to be finished.
6. Look Out for Project Creep
There can be a tendency amongst clients with big web development projects to keep adding new features and ideas on top of one another until the scope of the project has grown far beyond its initial intended goals. Be wary of this habit as it can lead to numerous issues with your schedule and budget, not to mention a finished website that feels somewhat unfocused.
7. Our Top Complex Web Development Tip
The biggest thing you can do to keep your complex web development project on track is simply to hire the right partner to manage the process. They’ll be able to answer questions, make realistic plans, and set the right tone for all of the steps and decisions that lie in the future.