GreenNet web project basics

Every project is different but there are some consistent threads running through all the sites we build:

  • Engaging spaces for supporters to interact with your work
  • Effective tools for collaboration between workers
  • Clean, engaging designs
  • Intuitive navigation
  • Responsive: sites are optimised to work across devices (desktop, tablets, mobile)
  • Accessible content for both people and search engine robots
  • Simple data structures for organisations to update

We take a modular approach to web development which means that your site can be extended with additional features as and when you need them. Creating new features is about bringing together your organisational needs, our technical experience and a lot of joint creativity.

If you have an idea for a project that you'd like to see online, get in touch and let us know. We'll have a think and let you know what we think might work for you.

GreenNet web project process

1. Plan

We start our projects by working on a plan with you that responds to the problems you're trying to solve, the people who'll be using the site and the workers who'll be managing it. This is a time for you to explain what you are trying to do and for us to listen and think about the best tools for supporting that work. We explain our ideas to you and listen to what you think about them. We go on like this, detailing and revising our ideas and getting your response to them until we've got a plan that really hits the mark. The plan includes a list of all the things we'll be creating, diagrams that explain how those things will work, a budget for the project and a schedule for finishing it.

2. Design

Responsive Design using a mobile-first approach ensures accessibility across different devices and displays, from clunky old mobile devices over low bandwidth, to retina displays on the latest high definition screens. We consider responsive a standard part of our web design package. GreenNet has recently launched several responsive sites:

Design is a key activity throughout the development process, particularly during the planning and build of the website. At these crucial stages it is beneficial to involve a set of typical users to test and give feedback about the planned structure, visual design and interactivity. The planning stage teases out user needs and informs the best approach to the site architecture (a suitable and intuitive structure and clear labelling of content). We will produce site maps and wireframes showing content required for each page and work with you to develop a written brief, identifying comparators and competitors, audience and branding, in order to create the right tone and user experience.

All design work starts from scratch based on the results of the planning stage. The design will be informed by the site architecture, giving certain content elements a stronger emphasis and a higher priority within the page layout, in order to give different user types (such as regular users, casual visitors) easy access to the most relevant content. We will supply visuals showing how the design renders on desktop machines, usually two variations in the first instance. There are then two or three possible additional stages for iterations of the preferred design and for producing further page layouts.

3. Build

This is the technical development part of the project where we use the details in the plan to set everything up. We build most of our organisational and campaign projects with Drupal and we usually use WordPress for smaller blog-style websites. Whatever the project, we always use open source software. It's a technical development model where we share the solutions that we create for your projects, and benefit from the work that others have done in theirs. And by working with such widely used and respected technologies, you get the option to work with whoever you choose in the future. There are no licenses or secret technical recipes that tie you into unfair arrangements.

4. Test

Once the building is done, we provide you with documentation and training which guides you through using and managing the site. As you begin the critical work of populating the site with content and getting people to use it, we go through a process of structured testing and amendments of all the site’s functions and features, to make sure that they work as we planned at the beginning of the project

5. Maintain

Launching your web site may mark the end of a weighty project. It's also the beginning of a new section in the life of the site – where it settles into getting on with its users. This commonly involves comments, feedback and occasional bug reports – many of which can be responded to with small changes by our developers. The GreenNet web projects team is on hand to support you and your website after the launch party is over and the project completion notes are written. We use a simple ticketing system so that you can easily get our help with just about anything to do with adapting, updating, maintaining and training.