— Written By Tim Stringer —
This is the first in a multi part series from the development team here at Grapple with the story behind how your site goes from a visual to a fully fledged marketing tool.
By the time the site lands on my desk I’ve already been present at kick off meetings and multiple update meetings, I’ve probably also provided a timeline for development on the project although this is sometimes provided by our Technical Director.
The most exciting part of any web build for me is the initial build brief. Normally by the time I get to the end of a project I might have seen it for 4 out of 5 days a week for the last 4 – 8 weeks (or more) depending on the size of the project. So as you can imagine it can sometimes be a bit much.
For the build brief, ideas are bubbling, questions are being asked and all the new skills I’ve learned since the start of last project can come out to play. As developers we’re on a constant learning curve which might sound odd but that’s why we do this, we love to learn and we get to do this every day.
After the initial briefing, where we go through things like site structure and any specific functionality different from the last project, we’d normally start by getting the structure of your site into our chosen content management system (WordPress). Not every site or thing we build in the development team is built using WordPress but we’ve found it to be highly customisable and expandable which ticks a lot of boxes when looking for a CMS. This normally means setting up pages and menu structures so the site has some content that we can work with while developing.
Once the basic structure is set up, here at Grapple we like to start with a set of empty files on every project. We use productivity tools such as Grunt.js, Sass and snippets of code to optimise development time but for the most part anything digital we produce for clients are completely custom code and hand-crafted to your requirements.
Next up for me would normally be getting the big parts of any layout built things like the navigataion headers and footers, things that are sitewide and might give the site its identity. To do this I’d start with the mobile screen layouts and work upwards through differing screen sizes until I reach the large desktop layouts. As 99% of the projects we work on have a responsive nature it makes sense to work this way to ensure that things are built to work across as many devices as possible. Once these components are working it’s easier to get around the site and as such makes it easier to build pages from this point.
Being a developer I like logic and next up for me personally would be creating the home page as this is normally the one where some of the nice stuff like animations and special functionality happens. It’s the page most people are going to see first and this way I get the maximum amount of time to make sure it looks and works exactly as you want.
Next up … moving on to the bread and butter