Perhaps you’ve thought about building your dream home—the spacious rooms with spectacular views from every window, the colorful flowers in the garden, and the dinner parties you’ll throw for your friends. You might have a folder with photos of homes that inspire you, and brochures on cabinets and floor treatments stashed away for future reference. Maybe you’ve even sketched out a few floor plans when the urge has struck you in the middle of the night. On the other hand, maybe you’ve never really given your home much thought, but now it’s time to build. Perhaps you don’t know where or how to start, or even what questions to ask.
Building a new web site, or revamping an existing one, is not unlike working on that dream home, in that in both projects, careful planning is essential. When you plan well, you’ll save time, money, and undoubtedly avoid many sleepless nights. This chapter will provide helpful checklists to get your web site project off to a good start—they’ll help you plan your site, and prepare for the creation of a web site style guide.
Planning to Stay on Schedule and Within
While I cannot promise the same for your dream home, it is possible to launch a web site on schedule and stick to your budget without losing sleep or suffering excessive stress. The secret is to spend some time planning the project carefully right from the start. Establish a realistic schedule, and then follow it through by including all the specific details and tasks in your plan. Before you can plan your site, though, you need to know how to plan effectively so that you can optimize the time and budget you have available.
If you look closely at professional, successful web sites that serve their users well, such as Amazon.com, you’ll find that the details of these sites’ offerings, functionality, audiences, and so on have been considered and addressed, and that the sites work flawlessly. In fact, Amazon.com works so well that visitors don’t even think about it. Instead, they’re free to focus on the reason why they’re there in the first place—to shop for products or research a potential purchase before they buy.
Making time to undertake effective planning, ensuring rock-solid organization, and providing continuous attention to detail are vital steps if you’re to create and maintain a successful web site that allows visitors to focus on the real reason for their visit, rather than petty frustrations over the workings of your site. Deciding how to go about your web project is the first step towards its effective planning. The following points are the steps you will need to take to get started.
1. Choose a focus, and keep it simple.
2. Delegate decision-making tasks.
3. Plan ahead.
4. Allow plenty of time to plan and develop your new web site.
At The Web Division we know which methodology to use for our web design projects.