One of the things we’ve been pushing hard recently at Blue Fish is that while our clients and customers do - in the end - receive a website and deliverables, what we’re really selling is a bulletproof process. The point of our process is to get the client away from thinking, “I need a new website” and urge them to think a little further outside the box. A website is only a piece of their overall identity and as such, our process takes us way outside the reaches of simply “What should this look like?”

We have some essential steps we take to protect our process for every single project, and today I’m going to talk you through a few of them.

Don’t ask all the questions, just the right ones

After we vet, onboard and get our clients more intimately familiarized with us and our processes, we start our discovery phase. In this phase, we more or less just annoy the client with questions. We have a list of questions in the vetting stage that include things like “Do you have Google Analytics?” and the ever popular “Who are the decision makers? (The ones that provide final approval.)” Once we have some of those preliminary questions answered we try to ask some more global questions via Typeform. We build out a Typeform survey and send it to clients to ask about their thoughts, feelings and needs within the project. The response to this has been tremendous, we highly recommend Typeform.

Content is King, Queen and Lord of Winterfell

This is becoming a more involved part of our process since we have the lovely Kara Wilbourn working with us on content strategy. We break down the client’s content into digestible chunks and analyze any repeats, redundancies or general weirdness. This allows us to kill drop down menus where we can and streamline content into maintainable, keyword sensitive pieces. One part of this is creating a spreadsheet that shows us every path down the rabbit hole - allowing further deletion and compilation of content, which again, makes it easier for site owners to maintain and add to their content stream.

Visual Inventories, or inventorying possible visual outcomes

This is a relatively new piece of our process. We start with Dan Mall’s Visual Inventory Template in Keynote that we have changed to make our own. We add different websites and even separate assets (buttons, icons etc.) and note possible voices and visual personas the different examples would show. We generally distill it down to three choices and our own recommendation along with an explanation.

From there we get approval and start making some solid design decisions. Hopefully this gives you both a window into our process and some thoughts on how you can refine and rethink your own processes.

Have any of you drastically or not so drastically changed your processes lately? Let’s talk about it below in the comments section or on Twitter!