My Development Process

Recently there’s been a load of discussion about the flow of development different companies use in order to make websites or applications. From the 37signals team, we had the process of:

  1. Paper Sketches
  2. xHTML + CSS

This is almost similar to the process I use, however I introduce another step; But before I get to that, I’ll explain traditional, and possibly most well known method. It goes something like this..

  1. Brain Storming
  2. Rough Paper Sketches
  3. Refined Sketches
  4. Photoshop mockup
  5. Prototyping in HTML + CSS
  6. Full blown development

This process has worked for different people for a number of reasons, for one, it’s well structured and gives plenty of time for thought. Two, It’s a way to collect and streamline thoughts before actually starting anything in hard code or pen on paper.

I can’t say i’ve found this method to ever work very well for me; I’ve tried to use it a few times, not because i suck at photoshop, but because i like to be too precise, there’s too much detail i can put into a drawing. A sketch on the other hand, i can easily change, modify and rearrange.

My Process goes something like this..

  1. Research and Inspire
  2. Rough paper sketches
  3. Dimension sizes of things on using tracing paper.
  4. Work from paper straight into xHTML + CSS templates
  5. Add in server side code and javascript as required.

The reasons this works for me is because before i start anything, i make sure i have very clean, clear and good looking sketches, this means the the photoshop stage is pretty much in the sketch stage. Then I just take a step to the right, and go straight into the code, head first.

What are your thoughts on the process? Do you work similar to me, or how do you work?


  1. Nice tutorial and interesting point of view

  2. I used to use the old photoshop method as well, but once I forced myself to use the 37signals method it really cut down on development time.

  3. @crazy675 I found that used to use a method where I’d jump straight to code, but the problem I always had was I’d change things; so by doing paper first, i can get all my ideas out; and the research just helps them flow out.

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