All successful websites start with a good planning. Planning out all the details of a project ensure that the client is getting exactly what they require to meet their needs.
In order to plan out a web development project, whether it be a small or large scale project, it all starts with the Definition stage of the Design Process.
The master plan for the project begins with a project proposal or creative brief. This document helps everyone involved with the project a clear guide as to what will be created and the goal/outcome of the project.
Working with a team. Many web development projects (especially large scale ones) are built by a team of designers. Each team member may have a specific role, the graphic artist may be in charge of layout and design, while the web programer is the main coder for the site. Often times there could also be a copywriter / content developer, and media specialist.
Defining the Site’s Purpose
The first and probably the most crucial part of the planning stage is to define the purpose of the site.
The question being asked here is “Why is this site being built?”
In order to answer this question one might have to consider what is the goal that the site is trying to meet.
The overall purpose of this site is typically broad while the goal is a measurable outcome. The foundation of your planning should start two or three short goals for the site.
The following is an example for an imaginary site:
- Better Bean Coffee would like a website to increase sales and customer loyalty.
- Increase in-store sales by 35%
- Increase new customers by 10%
- Increase return customers by 15%
The Timeline When coming up with the goals for the site it is important to consider the timeline for them to be achieved. It is often impractical to say for example that sales should increase by 50% within one-week of the site launch. Unless you are really lucky that kind of return on the site will not happen. Instead consider lengthening your goal timeline to 2-3 months. Also note that unless you are actively marketing your site, no one will know that it’s online.
The objectives refer to the methods used to achieve these goals. Considering the goals from the Better Bean Coffee example above several different objectives could be set.
- Provide images and detailed information about in-store products and services
- Provide positive testimonials/reviews from current customers about the products
- Offer online members club for returning customers that includes a discount on various products or purchases