A successful partnership involves aligning your business goals with our data-driven technical recommendations and agreeing on a clear plan. To this end, DesignHammer begins every project with a tailored Discovery and Planning phase. While the details may change based on your unique needs and objectives, the core discovery questions remain the same:

What are your organizational goals?
What obstacles does your project aim to overcome?
How will it solve them?
How will you measure success?

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1

Website Strategy

Website Strategy provides an action plan that will achieve your business goals. The best websites are tools that solve business problems, not just superficial sites that lack any depth of information. Our process starts by collaborating with your team to describe your organizational goals and identify the primary obstacles that keep you from achieving them. Using this framework our team will strategize with you to identify the technology solutions and digital marketing tactics best suited to achieve your project goals. Our team will then collaborate with you to define your metrics of success to measure the performance of your website in the weeks and months after launch.

2

Competitive/Comparative Analysis

Competitive and comparative analyses are in-depth reviews of other relevant websites to inform the content, functionality, and design for your project. Using SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) Analysis to study your competitors, we can see how they are accomplishing similar business goals through their website, and how you can optimize your strategy to stand out from the competition. It is also beneficial to perform a comparative analysis to identify industry current best practices, highlight excellent implementations, and assess where there are gaps in the landscape that you could fill. Analysis can include a review of user journeys, value propositions, calls to action, site structure, navigation, and potential functionality to help form the overall plan for your website.

3

User Testing

User Testing employs activities that solicit input from representative users on website content, organization, navigation, and user interfaces. If a user cannot easily find the information they need on your site, or get frustrated interacting with content, you risk losing them to your competition.DesignHammer employs a full suite of user testing deliverables including:

  • User Journey Exercises
  • User Surveys
  • Stakeholder Interviews
  • Card Sorts
  • Tree Tests
  • Formal Usability Tests
4

Search Engine Optimization

Everyone wants their content at the top of search results. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the practice that makes that happen, by optimizing site code and content that is rewarded by search engines with top placement. In our experience, focusing on SEO at the beginning of a project allows us to identify the terms prospective site visitors search by, so there is the most time to write content that will yield the best search results.

5

Analytics

Web analytics are critical in measuring the success of marketing/advertising/communications campaigns as they allow you to connect traffic and engagement to specific campaigns. By establishing a baseline for success early in the process, we can structure design and navigation to maximize target conversions on your site. This will also help determine what relevant analytics and business goals you want to focus on moving forward.

6

Technology Assessment

Determining your best technology platform options, features, and pricing can be overwhelming. Technology Assessment identifies available technology platforms to implement a specific set of features. We provide an analysis of the proposed technology to best deliver the necessary features for your budget and timeline, taking into account Return On Investment (ROI) and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).

7

Information Architecture

Sitemap and Navigation recommendations demonstrate the planned organization of the website and outline how a user is expected to find specific content within your user workflow. This is a key outcome of strategy and user testing as these processes provide insight into how users may interact with your site. Based on the findings of user testing, we collaborate to create data-driven navigation for your new site. DesignHammer will then create a sitemap that accounts for all expected content from primary pages to subpages, headers and footers, and any other standard features related to navigation.

8

Functional Wireframe/Mockup

Functional wireframes and mockups are low-fidelity sketches, drawings, or diagrams that provide insight regarding how a website or application might function. This allows you to visualize and experience intended navigation and expected site interactions. Functional wireframe and mockups are used as a discovery tool and are distinct from design wireframes which are a stage of the custom design process.

9

Website Accessibility

Accessibility is the industry term for making websites or other systems usable by people with disabilities, who often rely on assistive technology, such as blind users who rely on screen readers. While many of our clients are required to create accessible systems either because of legal regulations or organizational policy, we encourage everyone to consider accessibility for any project. To this end, accessibility requirements are covered in every project’s discovery and planning phase.

10

Project Specification

A Project Specification materializes at the culmination of the Discovery and Planning stage. It is typically a 25–75 page formal document outlining the specific content, navigation, features, and functionality of a project, including the schedule, and budget. Industry best practices indicate that the likelihood of a successful outcome is closely tied to the quality of the plan it is based on. We believe the attention to detail we apply to Discovery and Planning is what sets DesignHammer apart from our competition.