One of the greatest challenges in working on a web project is that so much of the planning work feels abstract, and the building of the site itself is mostly behind the scenes.

If you’ve ever done any type of home building or remodeling project though, you already have the understanding you need.

With web work versus building, you don’t get to see the workers in their hard hats, digging a foundation, connecting to utilities, framing, running wires and pipes, HVAC, and all the other steps involved in the process. But the process has a lot of similarities.

Both processes involve designers and architects.

The architect helps you determine what you are building in the first place – what the purpose will be, whom it will serve, how many pages or rooms, how many windows or doors, or in the case of the web site, call outs (which are like Point of Sale materials in the brick and mortar business world)

The designer helps you determine what it will look like – what colors, what the details will be, what will go in the pages or rooms.

Both processes involve engineers and developers.

The engineer helps figure out what the structural requirements are – how many visitors the building or site will need to be able to handle. What the best materials or code will be for the specific requirements.

The developers actually build the site, factoring in the design, the functional requirements, the architecture, and the specifics of the particular environment, whether it’s the siting and building code for construction or remodel, or specific browser and platform needs for a new web site.

There is also the most important resource – the client. At the end of the day, in the case of a construction project, he or she is moving into the building with furniture, pictures, welcoming guests, living in and with the end project. For a web site, the parallel is the content – text, images – how you share your brand, welcome visitors and share your brand.

Finally, there is the project manager, making sure all the different pieces come together as smoothly as possible and facilitating communication between the construction team and the client.

One of the huge differences in being able to see the work itself, as with a construction project, is that when a client asks for the bathroom to be moved from the southeast corner of the house to the the northwest corner AFTER the house has been built, it’s pretty clear what’s going on and why when the general contractor comes back with a new estimate and bill.

Thats what makes the planning process so important and what ultimately engages the client in paying close attention to the blueprints before anything is built. Even there, the best laid plans run into snafus.

It’s exactly the same with the web.

You don’t see the workers tearing out walls and redoing plumbing, electrical and HVAC, repainting walls, moving furniture, rehanging pictures, etc… but the same rules apply.

At eMagine, we place strong emphasis on the planning and documentation process to help ensure that what your final build goes as smoothly as possible. Because the process itself is abstract and you can’t see the hard-hatted workers plugging away, it’s easy to discount the importance of “measuring twice, cutting once.”

But paying close attention to the early stages of your architecture and design process will help assure the smoothest possible process when it comes to your site-warming party, and keeps your project on budget and on time.

Just think of a house.