When one create a website, you actually try to solve a problem.
And that problem is brought to you by the client. Without the problem, the customer would probably not be looking for you in the first place.
Now, many web developers, if not most, may tell to have the solution: a website! Because that’s what they do, they create websites.
But what they don’t do, is to dissect the problem, to look at it from many angles, and to make a bespoke solution that targets the real issues.
As such, we think it is very important to listen to the customer, much like a psychotherapist. Write evrything down, and let it sink in for a while.
Give yourself the time to see the issues from a new perspective every day.
Then get pen and paper. Because nothing is as free and liberating. With pen and paper about everything is possible. Even the impossible. Only the mind is the limit.
Draw. Write. Scribble. Scratch. Play. Visualize solutions. And then involve your customer. Show the client the visualisations, and get brainstorming. Let them modify your sketches, let them break it into a thousand pieces and let them play with the remains. Look carefully what direction they take your visual material into. Much like a psychotherapist. It will offer you the insight of their perspective. And when you know their perspective, you know why they have a problem. You will know where they get stuck.
And that’s where your technical knowledge comes into play. Only then. And only for a small part.
That’s when you will start designing the website in photoshop, extending the visualisations you made. You still believe everything is possible, even the impossible. But you use your technical knowledge to find a path to the solution, though incorporating impossible but amazing ideas. And then you have a wonderful image of a website designed in photoshop. A website that looks real, but isn’t interactive yet.
That was, what I like to call, the phase of magic. Now the solution has to become real. And that means transforming the wonderful images to code.
This is another step where many people fail. They can’t code. They set up a template. Or a CMS with a template.
That’s okay. So do we. It’s the fast track. But it’s only a small part of the solution. The bigger part is tweaking and reconstructing the CMS, which is also not too difficult for real web devs, but yes, this requires serious technical knowledge.
The most important part, though, is to make the magic happen. This is about writing or getting the code right, so you can extend the power of the CMS right to the core of the solution to your clients problem. A website should not be template-centric but solution-centric.