A process not a project
One of the most common needs that bring businesses to us is a new website but the process highlighted below applies to all of our digital projects.
Many businesses come to us for a website and stay with us for their onward journey, becoming part of our Tribe.
Our tried and trusted process can be broken down into four steps. We call them Research, Define, Deliver and Launch.
Although numbering the steps suggests a linear process, the Vu process is actually a cycle. For clients who stick with us, the first launch is merely a stepping stone that marks the start of an exciting new phase of research.
Under each section, we’ve outlined the likely Vu services that come into play. Think of them as examples. We will firm up the specific services you will need for your project when we start working together.
For example, the deliverable of a website project may require video production or branding work, however, the deliverable of a video production project, is the video. Whatever is being created, care should be taken to research and define it effectively.
In addition, each of the four steps include an initial information gathering and a final presentation and sign off stage. This supplies us with the data we need, keeps us all on track and marks the beginning and end of each stage of the cycle.
Step 1: Research
One thing that sets Vu apart from many other digital agencies is the value we place on evidence. We want every pound of your budget to be focused on moving your business forward and that means knowing three things.
Who you are (your brand), who you are selling to (your audience), and the message you are delivering (your content).
You will notice that the services we provide at this stage are focused on exploring these areas.
We host various sessions aimed at optimising your connection with your audience. We can help you devise a marketing plan; create marketing personas; identify and communicate your purpose; align your project with your wider business aims and more.
Stakeholder workshops are a great way to get team buy-in.
Once we understand the motivation of the organisation, we can help you test the market through surveys and interviews to potential or current customers to gauge the response to the project.
Search engine optimisation (SEO) audit
Google (and other search engines) want to match their users with the content they are looking for. SEO is all about ensuring that search engines recognise that you provide the best content and user experience for customers in your niche.
Covering everything from the words you include on your webpages to the loading speed of your site to the websites that link to yours. In a nutshell: don’t leave SEO to chance!
Step 2: Define
Once we have all the facts to hand and we’re all up to speed on your audience and brand, it’s time to start planning and building. This is a very creative phase because most things are still possible and nothing is yet set in stone.
For website projects, a wireframe helps us to structure the layout of your application. It is extremely useful for sites featuring complex user interactions.
A technical look at systems integration or planning in those features that are necessary for your user experience (while keeping things in budget).
If branding is part of our work together, here is where you will work with our talented designers on exploring logo design, font styles and colours. We can then test branding concepts on your users and stakeholders, make changes and sign off when ready.
Prototypes and exemplar designs
You get to see what the final outcome of the project will look like. This might be in digital or graphic artwork form depending on what we’re building for you. We will allocate time for change requests before the signing off and asset creation stage.
Exemplar designs show a vision for what we are about to produce.
Unlike some of our competitors, we don’t leave you to flail around in the dark grabbing content for your website or digital project. We tie the content requirement tightly to your goals, set up a matrix to help you organise your time and even provide you with a dedicated content gathering training session.
If you know you won’t have the time, we can take that pain away. The written content on your website needs to speak to your audience while hooking into relevant keywords for your sector. We can work with you to create a writing brief for our resident copywriter.
Professional standard, in-house photography will take your brand up a level. We can handle all the planning and art direction and deliver ten high-quality images.
Online video has boomed over recent years and businesses are realising that their customers prefer to listen and see rather than scroll and read. With the growth of 5G mobile tech and super fast broadband, at the very least, it makes more sense than ever to allocate some budget on creating some short explainer videos for your key pages.
Step 3: Deliver
We’re now at the stage where we can start delivering the goods. Your main task now is to road test what we supply, provide feedback and sign off each deliverable when you’re happy. We recommend you set up a dedicated test team for this. And don’t worry, again, we’ve invested in the tools to make the process so easy.
A sprint is like a mini-project. Our team will prioritise sprints based on available resources and what makes sense for the project’s development. Example sprints might include building a content management system, moving chunks of data, graphic design deliverables or content creation.
Quality Assurance Testing (QAT)
Nothing is ever left to chance at Vu. After our first set of sprints our team will carry out thorough feedback testing, user experience (UX) tests and fix any bugs.
We will perform a quality review progress before we ask you to sign anything off.
Client Acceptance Testing (CAT)
Now it’s over to you. When all the sprints and quality testing are complete, we will set you up on our testing and bug-fixing system and you can fine tune anything we’ve missed. We allocate contingency time to manage any change requests. Sign off is in your hands.
Step 4: Launch
Before we go live with your project we want to be absolutely certain that we have met your expectations. Your role in this centres on communication. If you are crystal clear with us about your vision for your website or digital product, we will be able to launch smoothly and with confidence when the time comes.
For many projects it is about creating and delivering the goods, be it the fonts and various high res logos with the branding pack. We try to go that extra mile with training videos or instruction manuals.
For new websites, for example, we will need to redirect old site links to the new site. We will also take care of other so-called ‘domain level’ services so you don’t end up with any nasty surprises. We focus particularly closely on security before exposing your site to the Wild West of the web. Then there’s analytics. We connect you with programs that can track your visitor interactions. We want you to see in black and white how we’re helping you move up in the digital world.
Setting a bug fixing date
Hopefully, there will be no bugs but we give you the peace of mind of a 30 days warranty. If something isn’t working properly, we will set a date to fix it by.
Staff training session
We will get your staff up to speed on your new website or digital service. Our team will guide them through the learning curve and answer all their questions so they are ready to hit the ground running.
For the journey
If you decide to join our Tribe, you will get used to the service and cycles we move through with every request. It is all in line with our values of underpinning what we do with research and telling you the unvarnished truth; we will find the way to meet your digital goals.
We hope this has given you a useful summary of the Vu process. If you are interested in becoming another Vu success story, please take a look at our Services pages and fill out the form to chat to a Vu team member.