Category: analysis and planning


It’s end of Week 3 and some more homework submitted. Yesterday in class, we discussed previous homework’s and the importance of quantitative data the will you, as a web designer/developer would use to measure your progress toward the “Smart” goal. As Adam pointed, it may not matter that much if  it’s your own website, but it does with a client. Where I am concerned, I always presumed this would be a definite time-line. You I did put some thought in it and yes quantitative goals such as”40 people to fill request form” or say, “A certain now of hits or views on a specific page in the website” could classify as quantitative data and you would need to define or help the client focus on these quantitative goals rather than just time-line.

This week was drawing some navigational site diagrams and charting out the functional requirements of the website work flow. A navigational site-map outlines the flow that a user might take in navigating through your website. I had fun playing with the newest trial version of Microsoft Visio. I have used it before but the current version always makes it easier and I figured there’s no better time to try it than now 🙂 I looked up http://webstyleguide.com/wsg3/3-information-architecture/4-presenting-information.html for more information – a helpful article.

The other document was the Functional Requirements/Feature Plan document. The idea of developing this one is that another web professional who could understand the needs well enough to build the functionality with almost no additional information. I did get down to some detail on this one and yes, took a lot of my time. On the positive side, it resolved a few issues. It gave me an idea how the site map and requirements go hand in hand. Also I now knew how many pages I really had in the website and how the web pages linked to one another. I also chalked out some wireframe diagrams  on what I really needed constant on the template,  in terms of content on each page.

Here are a few other links I have been reading:

http://blog.craigslist.org/ ( Craigslist CEO blog….interesting!)

http://online-social-networking.com/ (An interesting approach on social media)

A great Memorial Day weekend spent with family…now back to bloggin…. and of course working on Week 3! I won’t say I did not do any part of the homework but some of the external information architecture links posted by Adam were indeed thought provoking. I would like to share my thoughts (while lazing in the sun next to a pool!!!) on these:

  • http://www.boxesandarrows.com/view/site_diagrams_mapping_an_information_space
    Wow! I thought site diagrams were going to be a piece of cake!!! Well, now that I am back on ground (was flying high thinking I could easily ace these site diagrams) I am not so sure 😦 I learned a lot from the article and intend to use some concepts in my homework for Week 3. The diagrammatic approach is very important in Information architecture , the information has to be concise and precise.
  • http://evolt.org/article/Web_Site_Architecture_101/4090/635/index.html
    A simplistic approach to help you understand how effective navigation can help a website. I think this comes as a boon to web designers like me who waste a little too much time into details that do not matter 🙂 What matters is getting relevant information in the quickest time to the user, Having 20,000 pages is not the solution! The “Aside:” comments and the scheme diagram is useful to understand the navigation concept and laying out your web-pages.
  • http://www.digital-web.com/articles/ia_as_an_extension_of_web_design/
    I like how Joshua (the author) likes to integrate the two aspects: Information architecture and Web Design. It’s hard to see these two getting married, often people tend to side one over the other but both in their own way play a key role. I think it is interesting to understand how both can work their way into the common Wed tasks as he described: Navigation, Layout and Code. I also like the idea about not having boundaries and keeping both roles open to experiment. That way, we don’t have preferences and that will surely expedite the web development process.

I created  a separate post for these two topics as I intend to elaborate even further. The first few stages  (if you adhere to the six stage process) are a little tedious, you find yourself generating a lot of information wondering whether it will ever come to good use. I did it anyway.

Adam did pass on a sample website time-line but since I am reading Web Redesign 2.0/Workflow that works I really enjoyed the section, “Creating Schedules”. Interestingly, they made an overview schedule as well as a detailed one. I now understand why. The overview helps you to break the schedule into months (if longer) or weeks. The detailed one becomes a concise day-to day list of action items — as quoted in the book. Here it becomes important to keep track of scheduled date and the actual date when it was completed.

The other topic – Why goals now? Did we not just complete a preliminary questionnaire where most things come out clear? What if goals change?
Defining your goals is important. One of the reasons is you as a web designer/developer could have a different goal than your client and you may not even know it. Putting your goals and getting client feedback on these goal definitions will give you a clear blueprint on feasible and valid goals. How you can help the client facilitate and support the goal (or to what extent) is important and the link http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/TristanLoo5.html gives  a good idea what these  smart goals have to be:

The acronym S.M.A.R.T. outlines the set of criteria that your goal must follow in order for it to be a well-focused and achievable goal. That set of criteria is:

Specific: Do you know exactly what you want to accomplish with all the details?

Measurable: Are you able to assess your progress?

Attainable: Is your goal within your reach given your current situation?

Relevant: Is your goal relevant towards your purpose in life?

Time-Sensitive: What is the deadline for completing your goal?

It also is a good idea to create a priority list for which goals you want to achieve.

You would think figuring out your target audience would be easy…isn’t it? A bunch of people waiting all day to view your website exclusively!!! LOL!!!!

It took some active dialog with the client to figure out what audience we are catering to. It was only after we looked at our short term and long term goals, could we narrow down who primarily would be our audience and the list did surprise me. A few months back when we discussed this topic, the audience part got concluded as, “well, potential clients”. But today after homework # 2, the answer is different.
I guess you may think you’re just a web developer/designer, but directing your client (and thus your website) plays an important role. It helps you understand how and whzat you will focus on when you start the website. It also helps the client get a direction on what the focus should be , while supplying imagery, content, etc.
We picked three kinds of audience. One existing, one potential and third is the kind that have been past collaborations but never taken seriously as a target market.

What have I been upto in week 2?
Last week started slow and steady, trying to get it started with the assessment stage: a preliminary questionnaire looking briefly at what goals and scope your website would cover. The second part of the process looking at competitor websites and analyzing their strengths and weaknesses and in that process discovering yours.

This week we’re looking at the second stage of Analysis and Planning where we study three different aspects of the web development process (reference links from Adam):

I looked these up:

http://websitetips.com/planmanage/

http://www.squidoo.com/findchoosewebdesigncompanytool

Now we talk business 🙂

This is challenging, especially if it’s a corporate website. I am still working on this and getting it ready as of now – will blog more after the deadline.

Till then….