Web development is all the rage today. It has become essential for businesses to have a high-functioning website or web application to cater to the digital requirements of customers. Almost all companies, no matter the field of operation, are focusing on developing a well-designed site for marketing their services.
But the web development process does not only involve coding. With a hundred aspects that need to be taken into consideration, it becomes imperative to follow a structured process to avoid problems. A web development life cycle provides just that, a strategically designed methodology to achieve top-notch results.
There are 7 phases of the Web Development Life Cycle that you should follow to get a distinguished website. We will be discussing all the phases in detail, elucidating each and every step involved in the web development process. But first, What exactly does web development mean?
Table of Content
- What is Web Development?
- What is the Web Development Cycle?
- The 7 Phases of Web Development Life Cycle
What is Web Development?
Web development is the process of building websites and web applications that work on the internet. From creating a simple static one-page website to developing a full-blown robust web application and a content management system.
Web development includes the coding of the application logic, incorporating databases, designing user interfaces, and hosting the website on servers. Each activity involved in the process can be classified into server-side, client-side, and full-stack development.
Layers of Web Development
- Server Side
Server-side or Backend development incorporates all the processes that go behind the scene in a website. The management of databases, servers, and logical components are the main components of the backend. These are not tangible for the users, but without a strong backend development team, your website will be an empty page that can not do any tasks.
- Full Stack
Full-Stack web development encapsulates the whole development process, combining the frontend and backend. In this layer, you deal with the entire stack of tasks and technologies involved in the website development process. This means a full-stack developer is adept at UI-UX designing, database manipulation, server hosting, and coding the browsers.
These three layers together encompass the web development lifecycle. The cycle remains the same for both website and web application development. If you or your team is working on a development project, it is important to understand what a web development life cycle is.
What is the Web Development Cycle?
A web development life cycle concerns all the stages that go into building the website from formulating the idea to coding and designing to deploying and maintaining. It is the standard or methodical step to follow to achieve a well-functioning website.
The life cycle gives a basic outline for developers or project managers to follow to ensure minimum errors and optimal results. The common stages of the cycle are – Planning, Designing, Development, Testing, and Maintenance.
In this blog, we will be listing in detail the usual stages along all the stages of the cycle.
The 7 Phases of Web Development Life Cycle
Research and Analysis
Most people ignore this critical step in the development process. To ensure that your web design and development is on the right path, gathering information about the project and the client is crucial. Unless your developers have a clear idea of what they are working for and what the requirements are, they will not be able to provide the right solution.
Some of the common questions to ask yourself or your clients in the information gathering stage are-
- What is the purpose of the website?
- What type of website/web app will it be – informational, commercial, product, or service-based?
- What is your target audience?
- Is there adequate demand in the market?
- Why do users need your website?
- What requirements of the consumers are you trying to fulfill?
- What are the non-negotiable requirements for the website?
- What do you expect the look and feel to be?
- How and what will the website generate for your business?
- What features will the user expect from such an application?
- What are some features you wish to include?
During this phase, it is important to visualize what type of people your website is going to be catering to. Taking into consideration their age, gender, preferences, and needs, set goals and generate requirement elicitation documents. If this step is ignored, all the remaining phases of the cycle become irrelevant and cannot produce the desired outputs.
Planning and Strategy
The Planning stage involves strategizing all the aspects of the website including design, technology, content, and marketing. Based on the information gathered and analyzed in the last stage, informed decisions are made about the structure and features of the website.
In the Planning phase, a dedicated team is formed with each member having a defined role and delegated with clear tasks. Deciding on the content structure, wireframe(schematics and rough designs), choosing the technology stack and software development methodology are important decisions to take before website creation.
Technology stack is a set of programming languages, frameworks, and software that are used to build any web app.
Creating a sitemap, estimating timelines, defining deliverables, and allocation of resources are also essential parts of the Planning phase. Finally, you have to decide on the branding of your website before moving on to the Design phase.
The design stage involves designing website layout and brings in the creative UI-UX designers to the forefront. The layout involves designing a rough sketch, which may be graphical, to get a feel of the design of the website. The purpose of the layout is to present an information structure, enabling a visual tour of the content and base features for your clients.
The wireframe designed in the last stage is transformed into buttons, tabs, menus, dashboards, colour themes, typography, and graphics to create a base layout of the website.
Keeping in mind the audience research, design an interactive website that caters to their preferences and demands. Make sure your website or application does not become mundane. Include graphics, colors, and other media to attract users without deviating from the branding and purpose of your website.
Eventually, content is king. If you are unable to communicate with your customers and readers, no amount of fancy design can help you. Creating a communication channel through the user interface is the main aim of the content creation stage.
Content writing involves providing relevant information about your company in an easy-to-understand attractive manner. Adding calls-to-action, creative headlines, formatting, line editing, writing, and updating texts go on throughout the website development lifecycle.
This phase develops the branding and marketing of your site or web app and lets you define your website purposes through content writing. Content is the only way to interact with end-users and convert them into customers.
The development phase involves the actual building of the website. Developing the client-side and server-side of the website is accomplished in this stage. It is the most time-consuming part of the website development process.
The designs made in the early stages are transformed into interactive elements on the web page. Web designers integrate components and functions to the website skeleton, using frameworks and development tools.
If you want to keep up with the latest market trends, a mobile-based counterpart of your website is also recommended. Using mobile-friendly elements in your website design or developing a mobile application is a good option.
This phase involves developing the actual features of the web app. While the frontend designs the visual elements, dealing with the user side, the backend codes instructions to make each element perform the necessary functions.
Server-side encompasses the process of developing the server-side app, creating databases, writing the application logic, and integrating server and client-side functions. Developers use several technologies and programming languages in this stage.
Recently, Search Engine Optimization(SEO) is also added to the list of tasks of backend developers. Including these features can attain higher rankings for your site in search engines like Google.
Testing and Quality Assurance
After the website is developed, a set of rigorous tests are conducted to eliminate any bugs in the system. The Quality Assurance team performs repeated testing methods such as Unit testing, Stress testing, and Load testing meticulously, checking the functionality, usability, compatibility, and performance of the web app.
Project consistency is important to have a well-functioning site that provides a seamless user experience. Testing the working of all features on all devices and platforms is also crucial.
Apart from this, making small additions such as plugins and SEO-optimization to ensure a smooth deployment. Testing Engineers and developers work together in a loop till the QA team ensures the final website is ready to be deployed to users.
Deployment and Maintenance
Once you receive the stamp of approval from the QA team, the website or app is finally ready for deployment. Using File Transfer Protocol, the app is hosted on the web servers and is available to the viewers.
But the lifecycle is not over. Continuous feedback from user interaction lets you know the scopes of improvement. Accordingly, the life cycle is executed to make the necessary modifications. Apart from this, regular maintenance and updates are absolutely crucial to keep the site functioning perfectly and engage new users.
Every phase of the website development life cycle is significant, no matter how small or big the project is. Although coding is a very important aspect of any software development project, it is also imperative to not neglect other steps such as content generation or security checklists, or quality assurance team tests. Website development is a constant journey that can be made better every day.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which is the most important phase of the web development life cycle?
All the phases of the web development process are equally important. If there is a lack of effort in any of the phases, be it coding or maintenance, the website is affected. But the first stage is generally considered to be crucial as it involves understanding the client’s requirements and starting with the wrong foot, which could lead to months of work down the drain.
How to design a good website?
For designing a good website or web app, it is important to have proper research backing a good idea. With the strength of a clear business idea, a strong team of developers, and rigorous testing methods, you can easily create a high-performing website. It is also important to keep track of web development trends and stay up-to-date with your website design.
Are websites and web apps different?
No, they are different technologies that work over the internet. While websites are a collection of web pages that work on a web server, a web app is a software application that can be accessed through web browsers, but its tasks are performed on an application server.
Website development is a complex process that requires following a set course of steps to ensure adequate results. Each company deviates from the standard website development timeline, adding or removing relevant phases according to their project.
You can modify the process according to your project management strategy. But gathering relevant data and adequate planning is important for any web or software development project.
You can contact Moncubed for guided assistance from our expert development team in developing the perfect website for you. Don’t forget to mention in the comments your thoughts about the blog.