Thanks for being a good client and asking good questions about how things work. We hope that the material below answers all your questions about the design approval. It is based on actual questions that most of our clients ask at this stage. If at any time this is not helpful, just give us a call. We would be glad to help you by phone as well.
What am I approving?
You are now reaching the stage where your design is ready to be made into a live beta site. This new phase is called the beta site phase and is the second of three job phases. Before we start to create your site, which is very complex, we need to make sure the design looks right. So the question is “What am I approving exactly?” Good question.
The main thing you are approving is the position of the pictures and text. In other words, the areas that makes up the text and pictures. Since your content is dynamic, you can change both the pictures and text yourself. So, if you have a particular picture on a certain page, and you don't like it, or you have a better one, no problem, you just change it. The same applies to the words of the text of the page. You see a certain phrase or title, and you don't like it, you just change it.
What can't be changed?
In general, it is very difficult to change the sizing of the pictures. If we put a header picture at the top of a web page and it is a particular size, let's say 600 pixel wide by 250 pixels deep for example, that size must always remain the same. If a larger or smaller picture is put in place, it could change the relationship of the text area to the picture area, which may make the page look imbalanced.
The same is true for text formatting and styling. Let's say your typical secondary page has one title that says, “Welcome to My Company”. The title has certain style attributes. The font has been specified. The size of the font has been specified. And the color has been specified. To change these with a global variable (changing all the text on all the pages at once) by the designer takes a fair amount of time. Therefore, this would be billed as an hourly extra. Of course, you can go back yourself and change text attributes during the beta phase for free. But we recommend getting the text styles to a point where you are happy before you go to the beta phase.
Note also, that navigation and even page names can be changed. At this stage, we are not interested if you call the second item in the navigation “about us” or “about” or even “Our Company”. What you call the link and where the link takes you when clicked is up to you. You decide this during the beta phase and the insertion of your copy. The beta phase is for figuring things like this out. You will figure out what to call the pages and what the links on the navigation say in this phase.
What you are approving in the navigation is the number of links and the number of pages on the site. If you have three items in the navigation total, that is what you will have in the beta site. If you have twelve, then you will have twelve in the beta site. But it is very hard to change this after the design approval and this would result in an extra charge. So you want to be sure how pages you need at this stage.
You Are Approving a Layout
In summary, what you are approving is the layout of the web pages. Since all the text and pictures are dynamic, it doesn't matter what they are saying since you can change them later. What matters are the sizes of these areas. The size of the page. The relationships of these area to each other. Remember also that all of the secondary pages expand vertically to accept any length of text. So, the page can be as vertically long as you like.
It is the margins to the left and right of the text need to remain the same. The number of columns of text needs to remain the same. The picture sizing and placement needs to remain the same. But we highly encourage changing and adding new text to your site after it goes live. Google loves this and usually rewards sites that change and freshen their content.
The Importance to Understanding All This
It is important to understand what you are approving since major changes could cost extra money later. If there is anything above that you don't understand or that is not clear at this point, we highly encourage you to call us. One phone call that clears up a simple matter now, may save a lot of money and confusion later. Please feel free to call us if you have any questions at all about this.
Below are a couple of additional links to other questions that or related to the above material. Feel free to look at these and see if they could answer any additional question you might have.
Changing Pictures, and Text Links as it Relates to Scope of Work