December 13, 2011

How we make a custom site

Before the existence of Pages, there was a lengthy process for creating a website in Drupal here in Arts & Sciences.

The steps for creating a custom site begin with a meeting with the appointed decision-maker(s) for the department followed by a mock-up of the design from our team. This is usually followed by change requests because, once the client sees the design we discussed, there are usually ideas to improve on it. 

After the mock-up is approved, Jess or Will begin the development. They build the functionality into the new site, implement all of the design elements like color blocks and slideshows, and they add some example content in a few areas. Next, the client looks at the design (as opposed to the mock-up they saw earlier) and gives approval or else asks for more changes.

Once we have the final approval to move forward, we begin moving the content from the old site into the new site (if there is an old site). Finally, we go over the new site carefully looking for any missing content, broken links or error messages. We ask the clients to do the same and to give us the thumbs-up for making the new site live. On an agreed-upon date, we move the new site onto the production server, redirect traffic from the old site to the new one, et voila!

This is still the process we use for departments, centers, and programs. It takes time, but the result is a site that provides just what the client needs. With Pages, however, we have the ability to offer fast, flexible, easy-to use and maintain sites to a larger portion of the community. These sites have some flexibility but are more "off the rack."