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Pre-Launch Checklist

You’ve located your layout.  You’ve selected superb design elements. You’ve carefully coded everything, its seconds before launch and you hesitate.  This is a good thing.  That’s healthy hesitation holding you back, and it’s the sign of great design discipline.

It’s this pause before launch that gives the designers an opportunity to triple check a few things.  These are the acts that lead to perfection.  Somewhat inevitably they also lead to satisfied clients, and visitors impressed enough with the work they see to make a purchase, write a comment or at least return again in the future. 

In this post, we will look closely and carefully at several things to do before launch.  This to do list is vitally necessary for websites built to perfection and for those who endeavor to live up to their potential, not to mention the expectations of a visiting audience.

Content Edit and Link Check

It’s funny how the smallest things can make such huge impact. Visiting sites with poor grammar and punctuation mistakes can really take away from any design – whether wonderfully aesthetic and fully functional or not.  Once you read through a site, checking for spelling errors, inappropriate diction or irregular phrasing, also go back and read it again. This time for visual mistakes, Are your paragraphs too bulky on the page?  Are your headings scan-able?

Writing for the web

Next, check the links you’ve done. Do they actually work?  Again, there is nothing more frustrating to the user than being forced to follow a link that returns an error message or a generic search page.  Links should be phrased well enough to explain where they’ll take visitors once clicked, and then it’s a good idea to have the links actually take them there and not somewhere else.

W3C Link Checker

Will Your Site Launch in All Browsers?

It can’t be avoided.  Some aspects of your pre-launch check may seem a bit tedious.  However, consider the time and effort you spend in pre-launch mode as a wise investment – the future effectiveness and reception of the site depend on it.  Taking, the time to check that a design works in the most popular browser types ensures that a wider audience can partake of its goodness.  Here’s a good list of the browsers that usually dictate this pre-launch check.

• Explorer 6, 7 and 8
• Chrome
• iPhone
• Safari
• Firefox

SEO-Related

Have you ever wondered how the titles and descriptions from web pages make it to the search engine results?  It’s done by meta-tags.  This means that titles and Meta tag descriptions are extremely important.  They’ll give visitors a great first impression when done properly, so make sure that the titles match the content of each page well.

Does It All Function Correctly?

The patience of many visitors gets tested the most when websites function improperly, so make sure that a functionality check is a permanent fixture on your pre-launch checklist.  One of the best ways to understand the level of usability you’ve achieved is to sit with someone else as they walk through the site, so that you’re able to observe the behavior of a real user.  Then, note your observations and adjust accordingly.

Silverback – guerrilla usability testing

Conclusion

What’s listed here are just a few things to do prior to launch, and there are so many more.  For a great pre-launch checklist try Dan Zambonini’s Ultimate Website Launch Checklist.

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