This is the first step for building a successful website. It allows you to explore some of the most fundamental issues of site development. For example:
• Why are we doing this?
• What value will our website produce (from the investment we are making)?
• Who is our audience?
• What do they want?
Nobody is forcing you to create a website. You do it because you want to. The hope is that you have a convincing and compelling motive in mind before you begin.
There are many excellent reasons for developing a website. Some of the most common include:
• To earn revenue
• To influence people
• To create cost savings.
Setting the scene
Such a review could include:
• Industry & market trends: What your peers are doing.
• Technology: What new content & design options are available.
• Online society & culture: How audiences are behaving online.
The cost of development
It is also important that stakeholders understand constraints on development.
• A high quality deliverable.
• High speed turnaround.
• Low cost.
Setting smart goals
• Specific. Goals must focus on a particular field of activity and not be so broad as to be meaningless.
• Measurable. It should be possible to gauge when a Goal has been achieved.
• Achievable. There is no point setting a Goal that cannot be achieved.
• Realistic. A target must also be realistic.
• Timely. Finally, the Goals must be timely, meaning they should be bound by a timeframe.
Who do you want to use your website? What do they want?
Those are the key questions you need to answer about your users.
There is often confusion about who the users of a website are. This frequently arises because data about online traffic misleads people into thinking their websites are a success, when in fact they are failing.
Researching User Needs
Without doubt, the best way to establish the needs of a website audience is to get out and talk to them. This ensures the planned site will reflect ‘actual’ user preferences—not those you think users want. Some of the most popular research techniques include:
• Online survey.
• Focus group.
• Examine website feedback.
Based on all the data gathered, you can then create Personas.