Development process for biopharma websites

processPOST SUMMARY: Pharma product websites are too important to let an agency develop in a vacuum. DTC marketers need to be involved from strategy through testing and optimization yet very few organizations don’t invest the time and effort to develop a great online experience.

1. Discovery

An in-depth exploration of current-state activities, assets, process, metrics and future-state needs and wants. This phase typically involves business driver interviews and discussions to understand the approach to date, as well as the vision that the project stakeholders hold for building upon previous success..

2. Business Assessment

Review the business, financial and marketing issues that are driving the project. Project objectives, deliverables, milestones, assumptions, risks, communication process, and change control procedures are discussed and defined.

3. Brand Assessment

In addition to business requirements, we must also map efforts to brand requirements. The ability to deliver a compelling and consistent brand experience is critical to forging bonds that help drive our desired customer behavior. As such evaluate the key brand initiatives to understand the positioning and promise against which the site must deliver. This will inform everything, from creative design to information architecture and content planning.


4. Strategy Development

Develop a strategic plan that addresses the business and brand needs to formally set direction for our effort. Formally define and communicate the business and marketing objectives, strategic approach and measurement criteria.

5. Solutions Definition

Translate findings from the strategy and recommend into tangible requirements. Here the complete requirements are defined: what we are going to do, and how it will be measured. The documentation that is provided for this stage includes requirements, high-level site map and user flows.

6.Solutions Design

Create the specifications: solution design, role of each development team member, and timetable. Identify specific pages or templates needed, the individual elements that make up the pages, and how those pages will fit together.


7. Project Plan

The project plan is the bridge between the strategic and executional components of the process. It is the culmination of all the business and brand planning that captures our target markets needs and objectives of the project along with the technical and functional specifications we believe are necessary to bring the vision to fruition.

8. Creative Development

Creative teams (many of whom would already have been involved in the planning stages) will be briefed on creative deliverables and begin the development process. Included in this effort will be client input sessions, creative concepts and designs, copy deck, style guide, creative reviews, and initial discussions regarding usability and testing.

9. Build

Development and testing of a solution is based on approved requirements, specifications and designs. Deliver the optimized graphics, code, test plan and test cases, and a fully tested solution.

10. Usability, Testing and QA

Throughout the development process, we should always engage our target audience in usability testing. This may range from, for example, proprietary rapid usability testing for quick, top-line learning about particular issues, to more in-depth, task-based usability with one-on-one interviews, for which we may build click models to solicit real-world feedback. This is a critical stage of the development, and informs the final build. Upon completion of the initial build, we should immediately begin testing and a quality assurance process. This will consist of multiple rounds of testing and review, in which we should come as close as possible to replicating the ultimate live environment to ensure relevant testing of all components. This effort will extend beyond internal teams in a collaborative effort with client IT and other relevant stakeholders to ensure a compliant and functional end product for our customers.