- About the Importance of Planning
- Before Designing a Website
- Needs Assessment
- Results of the Lack of Planning
- Aligning a Website With the Marketing Plan
- Project Roles
- Website Content Needs to be Determined
- Questions to Ask a Client
- TASK: Create a Catalogue of Questions
- Screenshot of In-class Work
About the Importance of Planning
Why do we need to plan a large-scale or even smaller-scale project? Let us look at something we might be able to relate to: imagine you have purchased a house in Melbourne (I know you may think – ‘at these prices, how unrealistic is this example’…), so anyway, let us imagine you were lucky and received a well deserved payment from your previous job and are in the position to purchase a house in Melbourne. The house needs some structural work and changes before you can move in. You also want to built a second floor with 2 additional bedrooms and a bathroom.
Now, let’s cut a long story short: you need to get a morgage from your friend – the local bank and contract a builder to do the job.
What will happen without plans/drawings of the changes and new structures? What will happen if you do not specify facts such as:
- amount and locations of power points
- amount and locations of light switches
- where do you want the dining area?
- what heights do you have in mind for benches?
- cupboard finishes
- floor finishes
- wall finishes
We get the picture. No project can be completed if you do not have a plan. Plus, you never know when you are finished unless you define a clear outcome!
Before Designing a Website
When you are designing a website there will be a number of pages, technical aspects, payment systems, membership options, design considerations and many other characteristics that need to be considered.
’10 hours spent on a needs assessment can save 30 hours of development time’
It is a common fact that clients don’t necessarily understand the efficiencies gained by up-front assessment. Discovering the needs of a client halfway through a project can lead to:
- extended development time
- cost overruns
- missed deadlines.
Results of the Lack of Planning
Usually the lack of planning can lead to:
- the web designer is forced to make decisions based on assumptions, which may lead to significant mistakes
- the design team and client will be bogged down in back and forwards communication, this is a waste of time and can be annoying for everyone involved
- back tracking can lead to misunderstanding and dead lines may be missed as a result
- extra work may lead to a gowth of project cost
Aligning a Website With the Marketing Plan
The website must work in sync with the overall marketing plan. The needs assessment for the website might overlap with the other efforts and approaches of the marketing department, which is fine.
Note that the established branding and marketing of the business should inform the structure and design of the website.
Every project is different, but these are the typical roles in a sizable Web project:
Internal stakeholders (aka “clients”), who represent all primary aspects of the business:
- Project manager;
- Copywriter or editor;
- Web designer
- Web developer
Website Content Needs to be Determined
As you prepare to add content to the website, think about who will contribute. In a five-person business, it might be just two of you, and that’s fine.
In a large business or organisation, 5, 10 or 15 people might be contributing content. The time required to edit and proofread both copy and visual content grows exponentially in proportion to the number of people who contribute content.
Questions to Ask a Client
TASK: Create a Catalogue of Questions
- In teams of 2 spend 15 minutes developing a list of questions that you would need to ask a client for a website before you could commence planning the website. We will discuss your catalogue of questions in class. You will be able to improve on your list and afterwards …
- post it here as a comment! (Make sure to include both your names, but only one of you needs to post) .
The examples of the Design Process form last week may help you with this, so find below the links again and a third one:
Here is another example for the design process that can be used for Web Design: Design Process for Web Design 2 (Source: Dreamweaver CS4, R.Rate & J.Campbell, Natcoll Publishing 2009)
Last week’s Design Process for Web Design 1 (Source: Go Wild Web, Carol Green, Natcoll Publishing 2006)
Last week’s Design Process for Graphic Design (Source: Go Wild Photoshop, Jamie Campbell, Natcoll Publishing 2006)
Screenshot of In-class Work
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