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Have a plan

We have provided a basic outline of the phases and project activities that you should undertake as part of your web development project.  Before you request a new development site, be sure you have a plan in place.   

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Website development process

Figure 1: Sample development process.  (Click on image to enlarge).

  • Get a full list of your site's pages (this can be requested via Get Help)
  • Review your sites google analytics (Contact University Relations to get Google Analytics for your site)
  • Determine brand requirements (i.e. what colours can I use?)
  • Outline project needs, goals and objectives (e.g. promote a new program, increase program applicants, feature distinguished alumni, improve access to courses, etc.)
  • Identify primary and secondary users (and goals for each)
  • Gather all new content or required documents
  • Review requirements/deliverables from Discovery phase
  • Make content decisions: Keep, Edit, Delete
    • Use the list of site pages and google analytics to assist in this process
    • If you have pages that are getting very few pageviews, it might be time to remove that content from your site, or integrate it with another page
    • Use the ROT method to help reduce the amount of content on your site
  • Conduct competitive reviews
    • Look at other sites with similar content; make note of what they are doing well, and what they are not doing well; assess what good practices might be useful to users/visitors
    • Look at how other Ryerson sites are organizing and lalabelingheir content
      • Use the same best practices
  • Look at your content with accessibility (AODA) in mind.
    • Review, revise and reduce existing text.
    • Use clear and simple language when writing for the web. This will make your content easier to read for a broader audience, including those with cognitive and learning disabilities. 
    • Where can you add headings to improve scanability and provide semantic structure?
  • Write new copy
  • Develop information architecture, external link, opens in new window (IA) 
  • Start sourcing high resolution imagery
  • Document any required redirects (if redesigning an old site)
  • Learn about the AEM development environment
  • Get approval on everything before moving to the next phase!
  • Request development site
  • Develop navigation and functional wireframes (i.e. page layouts) based on planning phase deliverables
    • Note: Creating navigation and layouts is very easy to do in AEM; there's no need to mock these up in visio or any other application. You will be able to share your DEV URLs with your stakeholders for review.
  • Choose layouts and content placement based on needs/goals/best practices as found in competitive review (i.e. Discovery/Planning phases)
  • Develop visual design (review the Web Style Guide)
  • Select colour palette/sample images for sample pages
  • Review and seek approval from stakeholders before doing a full-build
  • Create new site structure, based on information architecture developed in planning phase/design phases
  • Choose navigation style to be used on the site
  • Configure navigation and site colour in page properties of homepage template
  • Determine what templates are required for each page
  • Create all news pages with proper page titles
  • Once pages are created, determine page layouts (use layout components)
  • Add all copy and imagery to web pages
  • Digital Publishing (DPU) will release site during scheduled release period
  • Redirects will be implemented after the site release
  • DPU will add new users to site permissions
  • DPU will notify client once site has been released

Client should:

  • Review live site
    • Run a link checker
    • Run accessibility check  (focus on alt text)
    • Check every page for spelling, missing images, etc.
    • Check all links, including navigation
    • Check cq author permissions in production (
    • Make any necessary changes
  • Communicate to stakeholders
  • Training
    • Draft as-built or training documentation for colleagues
    • Train colleagues on how to login, find, create, edit and activate content
    • Outline more complex features in detail, such as news lists and events
  • Post-launch changes
  • Request Google Analytics

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry