in Design / Development

A Complete Web Design Process Checklist: Never Forget Anything Again

Web Design Process Checklist: 48 Tasks You Should Never Forget

Building a website can be very complex and painstaking. To make sure that everything important gets perfectly done at the right time, web design teams, companies and designers often prepare a checklist to list out all important things and tasks of each web design stage in advance. So, they can just follow this checklist to get everything done, without any details and deadlines missed out again.

In this article, we’ve compiled a comprehensive web design process checklist based on the common web design process and hope it will help you and your team keep the entire web design process on track. Also do not forget to include the best tool to design and test your website in your checklist.

At the project preparation and planning stage

In case your teams and companies lose your time and energy in something useless, before your design teams and dev teams actually start designing and developing a website, you need to get all possible participants on board and discuss some guidable important things that will matter a lot during the entire web design and development lifecycle, such as the design strategy, SEO strategy, ultimate business goal, design style, and an executable timeline, etc.

Here are 5 important things that you should do at this stage:

1. Have all relevant participants on board, including designers, developers, copywriters, SEO strategists, clients and even stakeholders, etc.

If you just cannot get them all at the same time, try scheduling the meetings separately, but make sure that their thoughts are all heard and that they all have agreed on the same project goal, strategy and the like details.

Get all relevant persons on board to discuss the web design things

2. Discuss the project goals, including the marketing goal, customer satisfaction goal, brand promoting goal and lead conversation goal, etc.

Of course, the goals defined here sometimes maybe not so accurate and can be adjusted later based on the actual situations, especially after you’ve analyzed the marketing and user research results.

3. Decide on the design, content and SEO strategy, including the content tone (like being humorous or serious), marketing strategy, website optimizing strategy, link building strategy and so on.

4. Determine the hosting and domain that you may need for your website.
When discussing on this topic, ensure to listen to the thoughts of SEO strategists, since the hosting and domain can put an important impact on SEO.

5. Discuss the site pages and features Discuss with your team and list our key pages, features, integrations, supportive tools (like design tools, blogs, customer reviews, sitemap, online forms), links, tech support, and so on.

6. Create an executable timeline This timeline created here may not include all possible headlines throughout the entire design and development lifecycle, but at least point out some important moments, such as when to start creating sitemap and wireframes, when to start testing, when to start developing and when to launch the website. So, all participants in your company can complete their part on time without chaos.

Also check the detailed task list to simplify your web design planning.

At the audience and marketing research stage

After agreeing on the future goal and strategy with your team, the next step is to do user and marketing research to better understand the target audience and market to lay a solid foundation for the later web design and development phases, just because, in order to create a user-centered design that web users truly love, nearly all important decisions that you need to make in the following stages should be based on the results of these user and marketing research.

Here are 5 basic things that you should do at this stage:

7.Analyze competitors Simply find out all similar products that already exist on the market, especially some successful ones, test them all out one by one to see what features they have provided, what pain points they have resolved for users, what user flowers they follow to help users achieve their goals, and which part of functionalities is the most appealing to users, etc. Take notes of what works for them and see which one or how many of them will also be suitable for your website project.

8. Analyze the market share and potential And then, analyze the market share of all these similar competitors, find their strengths and weaknesses, and evaluate the possible market share that your company can get in the future.
Also make a good plan of what you should do or what strengths your website proejct should provide to achieve that market share.

9. Do live chat interviews After knowing the market, you need to do user and client research to better understand the audience. Live chat interviews are always the best and fastest way to get their feedback.

Live chat interview helps you collect the most valuable feedback

Directly interviewing the real users helps you collect the most valuable feedback

In case of wasting any minutes and seconds, you should discuss the questions and prepare a script with your team together before the interviews.

10. Use professional techniques and tools to gather data about users and their needs, such as some proven user surveys and questionnaires, card sorting, diary studies and some useful tools like online survey, typeform and Google form, etc.
11. Create personas, user scenarios and user flows After completing the user research, the next thing for you is to analyze all research data, and try to create relevant personas, user scenarios and user flows. Also, share these things with your entire team and company to establish the same understanding of the users.

Create personas to depict the personalities and characters of the target users

And you may try this free startup market research checklist in PDF to better plan the market research. As with the user research, find answers to 101 questions to better know your target audience.

At the web design stage

When you all get a better understanding of the target audience and market, you may already have an idea of how your website design should be arranged and designed. So, start to design your website interface one by one then.

Here are 5 of the essential things you should do at this phase:

12. Create information architecture and sitemap In case your design team forgets some important pages and details, first create the information architecture and sitemap to present all key pages and clearly present their hierarchical relations.

13. Sketch out all ideas roughly In case you or your design team may forget some great ideas, use pen and paper to straightly draw out all possible ideas. Share these sketches with other teammates or directly brainstorm ideas together.

14. Define the languages, visuals, fonts, logo, typography and other details To ensure that your entire design will create consistent designs and web pages, before you all start to designing anything, also first define a brand design system, including the languages, visuals, fonts, typography, logos and other details. An online design system manager will help you and your team save a huge amount of time.

15. Create wireframe and prototype When all design assets are defined, your design team can start to wireframe and prototype all interface details one by one to present all ideas. To ensure that your ideas are precisely delivered to other teammates, clients and stakeholders, you may add interactions to bring life to your static wireframes or prototypes, and collect their first-hand feedback to iterate your ideas over and over again.

Some professional wireframing and prototyping tools like Mockplus will help your team save hours and days at this phase.

Free online shopping website prototype template created with Mockplus

Free online shopping website UI kit created with Mockplus

16. Determine on the target devices 8 out of 10 persons use their tablets and smartphones to purchase things online. To make sure that your website can be accessed from mobile devices, you may need to pay attention to responsive design and also add some mobile-friendly gesture interactions, such as the swiping, sliding and even voice interactions, etc.

Also, check this solid web design checklist to ensure that all your design tasks are perfectly completed at this phase.

At the content creation stage

Apart from the visuals, layouts and compatibel devices, the interface content is also another vital part that can determine whether your website will succeed or not.

So, here we’ve listed 6 things you should do when creating web content:

17. Create inspiring and infectious slogans, headers, titles and subtitles Slogans, headers, titles and subtitles catch users’ eyes soon as long as they enter the website. So, to hook and retain them for a much longer time, always take your time to create more inspiring, infectious, emotional or creative content for them all. Simply put, you should not only just use simple and familiar words to deliver your product and brand messages, but also use fresh ideas or tones to attract users.

18. Create clear and enticing CTA copies CTA copies, to some extent, directly determine whether users will click the button to place an order or learn more product information. To create more leads for your website, also try to make clear and enticing CTA copies.

19. Make sure all key pages have the right content For example, for the homepage, ensure all selling points of your products are clearly presented, with appealing images, a clear visual hierarchy , fun gifs and videos. For the About and contact page, remember to leave your contact. For the FAQs page, also include all possible questions that users may ask. The FAQs page of the competitors are good examples for you.

20. Craft the content of error pages and empty page states Error pages (like 404 error pages) and empty page states explain what’s going on and guide users to quickly resolve the problems or directly switch to other web pages and sections. So, never ignore the content design of these pages.

Pay attention to the content design of the 404 error page

21. Do not forget testimonials and reviews Testimonials and reviews from satisfied customers and users explain how your product or service resolves their problems, and also gain first-come users’ trust quickly to encourage them to purchase anything there smoothly. So, when designing the content of your web project, also do not forget the testimonial page.

22. Consult SEO teams to include all important keywords People find the best products and apps by entering relevant keywords on Google. So, to ensure your website will be searched by the target users, also consult your SEO teams to include all possible keywords that users may use, when writing the web content.
You may also follow this content quality checklist to evaluate the quality of your web content in advance

At the web testing stage

Before moving to the web development process, you should also first test and iterate your design draft and prototype to see whether all details work as well as you imagine. You are highly suggested to invite the real users, clients and stakeholders to test all details and collect their feedback to evolve your design to the best state.

Here are 5 things you should check when testing your web design:

23. Test the web navigation systems Test all top and button navigation bars, sidebars, floating bars and buttons to make sure that your entire navigation system works to guide users to browse through your website moothly.

24. Test all interactions, animations and transitions Test all page interactions, transitions, gif animations, loading animations to ensure that they all work well.

25. Test the user flows Minick all possible user scenarios, go through and test all user flows to see whether they all are executable.

26. Test all functionalities Test all important functionalities to see whether your design goes as well as you think.

27. Test the accessibility Also test the accessibility to ensure your website is accessible to all visitors and users.

At the web development stage

After working out a final web design draft, it is time for your design team to hand off all deliverables (like design drafts, prototypes, assets, measurements, code snippets and so on) to developers so that your dev team can start developing soon.

(To better communicate and collaborate with the dev teams, you may use a handy design collaboration and handoff tool to get your design team and dev team on the same page via a single link.)

Here are must-do things at the web development stages:

28. Secure the domain and set up CSS Go get your domine name before it is gone, of course, based on the thoughts of SEO teams. And the CSS(Cascading Style Sheet) is also important to ensure that your entire product development process runs smoothly.

29. Front-end developing Now, get your font-end team to start coding the web details, such as the navigation, layout, structure, interactions and so on. No matter which programming languages your team use, always communicate the details with designers.

30. Backend developing Start the backend developing as well. Make sure all data would work well on the live servers.

31. Deployment and performance Before launching, also try to deploy the codes on a local server to see whether all details work perfectly.

Web development

Also, use this web development process checklist to have full control of this web development stage.

Data security and backup

In case of losing data, when developing a website, your dev team should also pay attention to data security and backup.

Here are 4 things you should do at this phase:

32. Check whether your website requires an SSL The Secured Socket Layout (SSL) certificate helps to keep an internet connection secure and safeguards sensitive user data, like banking/credit card details, user account and password details and the likes. It is a must for websites that require users to input such sensitive data.

33. Install monitoring scripts if necessary In case your website data will be lost or leaked for some reason someday, you may also install monitoring scripts to keep track of your website. Some anti-ware software also helps.

34. Create a backup copy of the final website for backup Ensure to create a backup copy of everything on your website, before your launching. Also keep updating it regularly even after the launching.

35. Determine whether to password protect your website content and other credentials
You may also follow this step-by-step checklist to secure your website.

At the SEO optimizing stage

And now, it’s time for your SEO team to see what they can do to rank your website in a much higher position before you launch it. For example:

Ensure all pages have titles, meta descriptions and keywords To help users find your website through different search engines like Google, make sure all your web pages have been added with titles, meta descriptions and keywords.

Create a dynamic XML sitemap Also do not forget the sitemap that will help people overview your website pages and find what they need as soon as possible.

Make sure all page urls are relevant to the page content Page urls also can affect the SEO optmization. So, make all urls reflect site info architecture as well as relevant to the page content.

For more points that you should check at this phase, you may read this complete SEO checklist.

At the quality testing stage

When you’re done with the SEO, then run all your web codes on a virtual environment and take a quality testing as below:

39. Test browser and device compatibility Ensure that your website is compatible with different devices and browsers.

40. Test all HTML/CSS codes properly Validate all HTML/CSS codes in virtual environment to see whether they all get the effects you expect.

41. Test all internal and external links Test all internal and external links to enture that all web page links can direct users to the right places. Also timely remove or replace dead links.

42. Test all social media buttons Test all social media buttons to see whether users can easily click them to learn more about your product and brand, share a good article or content, and even directly follow your social media account.

43. Test all integrations and other details Test all possible details on your website, such as the layout, typography, integrations, visuals, responsive design, SEO and all others.

Also, ask 50 questions to evaluate the website quality before the launching.

At the web lauching stage

Up to now, everything gets ready. Finally, it is time to launch the website.

44. Double check all pages, links, integrations, images and animations Make sure all pages, links, integrations, images, animations and other details are checked more than once.

45. Proofread all web content Ensure to remove all spelling and grammar mistakes.

46. Test the website performance Test how long your website will take to load on different devices and browsers. Ensure the loading time is acceptable to common users. Of course, the faster your website loads, the better Google rank you will also get.

47. Recheck the website backup Back up all website data well in case of any unexpected data loss issues or problems.

48. Launch and maintain your website Even after launching your website, your work is not ended. To create a website that really attracts users and increases sales, you may need to keep updating the website content and functionalities according to user feedback and current web design trends.


Designing and building a website can even take forever if you do not have a plan or checklist made beforehand. This checklist gathers all the important things that you should do at each stage of the web design process, so you can easily select or unselect inner tasks to create your own list that best suits your project.


Bogdan is the founder of Top Design Magazine. You can find him in Bucharest-Romania so next time you want to drink a beer there and talk about web and stuff, give him a message.