by Dwight Cook and Lynn Eriksen
Individuals that have never built a web site before often wonder what it takes to get a web site that is effective for their business or organization.Over the years we have distilled a few basic questions we like to ask our customers and ourselves when starting a new web project.
Why will people visit my web site?
You'll need to let them get informed, and to interact as well.
Think of your web site as Telephone 2.0 - it should allow for communication with you and engage in the business process. Users return to sites that are easy to use, attractive, informative, relevant and allow them to save time.
- Who is my target audience?
Knowing your audience influences the structure and appearance of your web site.
You might design your site for marketing or business process depending on your needs. Always plan to use your web site as a place of doing business or community.
- What do I want my site to do?
If it can take the place of answering the phone, you want it on your web site.
Interactivity can be anything from a simple contact form, a paypal store, an advanced e-commerce web site, or a custom business solution.
- How much do I care about aesthetics?
Have a good idea of what you want you site to look like
and how much time/money you are willing to spend.
The appearance of your site should 1) match your branding (colors, logos, etc.), 2) be easy to read and navigate, and 3) fit your budget.
- Who is the decision maker?
Web sites need a central decision maker to keep things moving along.
Our experience is to usually request a central decision maker during the site design phase, then allowing change requests from more contributors after the site is finished.
- When should it be completed?
The time it takes for completion depends on the size and complexity of your site.
Smaller web sites that have several pages and a small number of forms can be completed in as little as 2-3 weeks. Large web sites that use lots of data and have complex interaction take longer.
Following this approach can help you get a firmer grasp on the main issues surrounding web site design.