When it comes to working on a project, quite literally any kind of project, the hardest thing is often at the beginning and at the end. At the beginning, no matter how experienced we are at working on similar projects, there’s usually a lot of flailing around and grasping at straws and it usually takes a while until we can settle down on anything resembling a rhythm. This has been the case for me at Uni, on previous places of employment and now as I’m embarking on a personal writing project.
Once I’ve settled on a rhythm, I could easily knock out 1,000 words a day with a little bit editing thrown on top of that. It’s still a rough draft but that’s much better compared to when I first started when I spend about 6 hours trying to write only to end up with about 500 words that are completely no good. This writing project of mine is a personal thing so I have complete freedom in how I want to approach the project but for a web design project that comes attached with a deadline, you don’t have the luxury of working at your own pace and based on my experience working on professional projects, using a checklist could definitely help with that.
Keeping things grounded with a checklist
All those things I mentioned about flailing around and grasping at straws is because we tend to not know where or how to start at the beginning of the project. Things are still a bit too abstract and only once they have taken a familiar shape that we can then begin to really focus on working on the actual project. The problem is that simply waiting for this process to finish can be an unproductive use of time and web designers and developers have to come up with a helpful way of keeping things grounded, hence the checklist.
Think of it this way, using ‘finishing the project’ as a goal sounds a little bit vague and too far-fetched but by breaking down that ultimate goal into several smaller and more digestible, bite-sized pieces, you could keep things grounded and focus your work on more tangible, short-term goals. Checklists aren’t always a series of linear steps, they’re more of a tool to help you keep track of your own progress; a way to keep the unmanageable, manageable and here are 4 things you have to consider to help you kick off your web design project.
Have clarity on what the endgame is
One of the things that made the two-part Avengers film, Infinity Wars and Endgame, so satisfying despite the grand scale of the story and characters is because they’re so purposefully laid out. As a conclusion to a story that began in earnest a decade ago with the release of the first Iron Man film in 2008, Endgame managed to succeed in part because, I think, the Russo Brothers knew exactly how they wanted to end this particular chapter of this pop-culture behemoth and set the stage for the next generation of characters.
Okay, perhaps your web design project have considerably less stake than a multi-billion dollar franchise that now spans a grand total of 22 films but the analogy still works, you need to have a clear idea on the goal of this particular project. Having a clear goal in mind is useful since it keeps the possibility of shifting goalposts off the table and keeps you from going off on a wild goose chase. Remember, the success of a project isn’t determined by how good the results are but by how the results meet the intended expectations. What you consider going above and beyond the call of duty could simply be considered superfluous so try not to waste your resource on something unnecessary.
Prepare all of the tools you might need
Depending on the scale of the project, you might need the help of some external tools to manage the workflow of the project or even to work on the project itself. It is important to settle this matter early on as any avoidable disruption to the project can be hugely detrimental especially when they happen right after you’ve settled on a rhythm. To me, working on a project very much heavily depends on momentum and once it’s lost, it can be hard thing to get it going again.
Break the project down into several smaller tasks
It sounds simple but I’m actually amazed at how easy it is for people to miss this step. Even I have to admit that when I first embarked on a large-scale writing project, I didn’t actually have any objective other than to just simply write, which was a huge mistake. This is far from practical as it can be quite hard to keep track of the progress you’ve made and has the adverse effect of making the project seems bigger than it actually is, which as I know from personal experience is never good on morale.
By breaking down the project to dozens of smaller tasks, you can give you and your team a sense of instant gratification after finishing each task, which can help with the momentum issue I mentioned earlier. The world-famous Appalachian Trail stands at a dizzying 3,000 kilometers long and that isn’t the kind of distance the average person would be willing to hike all at once. However, the trail could be divided into several shorter sections of around 30 kilometers long, which is considerably easier to achieve. Taking on several sections instead of the entire trail at once is unsurprisingly, the preferred approach for most hikers.
Do some basic revision and optimization
75% of the time, major web design projects are done for a client so there’s bound to be a review process baked into the project as a whole but this doesn’t mean you can simply skimp on doing your due diligence and just hand off the rough result and call it a day. Dedicate some time to do some basic review of your project and to perform any last minute touches. For example, instead of leaving texts of incomprehensible Latin everywhere, why not try to include some basic examples of content so that the client could have a better idea on what the website would look like once it’s done?