When doing any sort of project, one of the main areas that is often neglected is the planning, yet it’s actually the most vital element to any successful website project.
Where to begin?
There are key areas that need to be focused on during the planning stage of a project but it begins by understanding the purpose of the project. Make sure that collectively any key stake holders are on the same page as to what is trying to be achieved, available budgets and required deadlines. Setting out these elements will allow the rest of the planning to be focused staying within your parameters.
What are your goals?
For any project it is important to outline key goals and these should be tangible or assessable items that you can track and evaluate over time. Such as ‘Increase sales’ this is easy to set a value as to what your target should be, also how and when you will analysis progress.
Who are your target audience?
Quite often your own audience isn’t given enough consideration during decisions that are made around your website. Personal preference takes hold way too often, however to combat this outlining personas based upon your target audience will give you a way to confirm that any functionality or visuals always fall back to meeting the needs of your customers.
What should be on your website?
So you’ve outlined your goals and your target audience, so you know what this website needs to do. Now it’s time to make sure that you actually deliver on your needs and this is beginning by defining the required functionality and the all-important content that will be available to your users.
Now that you know what is going to be on the website you can begin the content hierarchy plan where you will determine based upon your customers and goals what order of priority the information should take.
How should it look?
We always recommend a design workshop where you collate things you like and dislike, discuss these and produce a mood board to help the future designs and work of your website.
Based upon this you can also begin to wireframe out how the site will look functionally, allowing a plan already in place for designs to be built upon. It is also important that brand guidelines are defined around the use of colours, typography, imagery and company vision so they can be adhered to throughout the process.
What comes next?
With all the goals set, your audience defined, content agreed and the look and feel discussed it’s time for you to formulate the overall project plan, check any estimates to make sure you’re on budget and schedule. Then confirm the next steps, but by doing this work upfront it means everyone is on the same page as to what is being delivered and the priorities behind decisions being formed.