What is the Alpha stage in website development?
If you have employed us for Website Development services your project will have a variety of phases. And one of those phases is called the Alpha phase. This document was written to help clarify what you should expect from this phase.
Alpha, in development, means that we’ve invested the majority of the labor that will be required to complete the project, but that it is not complete and there are known issues. We share it to reassure clients that we’re working diligently and making measurable and sufficient progress.
After Alpha is the Beta phase, at which point we’re usually complete with the project apart from coordinating with you, the client, to get the last of the content in place, perform a final internal review ourselves for expected final bug fixes, and to schedule a final review date by you after those two things are done so we can publish.
Here’s what you should expect when reviewing the Alpha version of your project:
- There are known issues, and we are not complete with our work. Alpha comes before Beta. Once we enter the Beta stage that means the website is nearly complete – pending a final review of typically minor and subtle bugs or revisions.
- Why share the site when we’re in Alpha? We choose to share this with clients as proof-of-work. Much of the work we do during website development does not have a visual representation (such as writing code for a feature that is not yet finished, writing training materials, time spent testing on mobile devices, time spent documenting tasks that need to be completed, etc…). So we share the visual progress once we hit that stage to reassure clients that we’re on task and working diligently.
- We have not tested this on mobile devices yet but will begin that process now.
- There may still be pseudo content (text, images, etc…) on the website. We will coordinate with you in the near future to help you gather and implement the appropriate content.
- We do not need your feedback yet.
What can you do today?
- You can preview the website on your desktop or laptop.
- If you were provided a username and password in your update email then you can login to the back end to explore everything. Please note that we will provide you proper training, some limited written documentation, and an interactive tutorial for more detailed training-on-demand.
- You are free to modify the site in any way, but it will be overwritten the next time we update it. You do not have to worry about breaking anything or interfering with our work as we have complete and regular backups.
What are you saying has been accomplished?
Unless specified in the update email you received we have:
- Completed, or nearly completed, converting the front page into a template. More specifically, a WordPress Page Template. This means that it went from being a picture you could only view and could not interact with, to a living, breathing website that you can interact with.
- Ex. If there is a newsletter subscription form you could submit a test.
- Ex. If there is a slideshow you should see it animated or add new content to it.
- Ex. If there is eCommerce functionality such as add to cart, view cart, checkout, etc… you should be able to interact with that.
- Please remember these example may not all be fully functional.
- If you have employed us for a standard website or ecommerce package and the front page is completed, or nearly completed, this means we’ve invested approximately 75% of the total labor that is required to complete your project. Although it may not look that way, this is true and it means we’re at least that far along in the timeline. So if you’re at 4 weeks into development, then you have approximately 2 more weeks before the website is submitted for final approval.