The Design Phase can consist of 2 parts – the functional design, and the visual design.
The functional design is an overview of what your website will do behind the scenes – it is usually created using a sitemap such as this one Sitemap Sample. It will outline all the different pages your site will have as well as how they interact with each other.
Once the functional design is approved, a prototype will be made up – this is a bare-bones website used to test the functionality – making sure all the pieces work together as they should. This will contain all the elements in the sitemap, but will not contain any of your branding, images, etc. The prototype is only to make sure all the required pages are in place, and that they all interact the way they should.
Once the prototype is approved, the visual design can begin. You will need to have some ideas on types of websites you like, those you don’t like, and any ideas on how you would like your site to appear. If you aren’t sure what you want it to look like, your developer can show you a few sample websites for you to choose from.
Once the decision is made on the visual design the development phase can begin.