Recently I was reflecting on past projects from the last year or so. Some projects were successful, others were not as successful. By successful, I mean equitable for our client and the end users of the product were satisfied. Looking critically at the successful projects and the less successful ones, certain things started to become apparent as to what it takes to make a project end well. This post will be one of several outlining certain characteristics of successful projects.
Envision the end goal first
Building a site has much in common with other building projects. Think of building a house. You would not pour the basement until you know what type and size of house you are building. Web projects are a lot like that. The first step is envision what the end game is. In the case of building a house, you may define the end goal as a 4 bedroom, 2 bath, 1500 square foot ranch. Generally, web projects should start with a similar goal, such as “A place for my customers to know the status of their project with me” or “Let my customers know my schedule”. When in doubt, try this template: This site will help <noun> <verb> <noun> well.
For example: “This site will help vacationers find weekly camp rentals in Maine well.”
Identify your user
This sounds easier than it is. Too many folks think the end user of the site is themselves, when it is not. Sometimes, the end user is the direct person that has engaged us, but about 75% it is not. About 75% of the time, the end user is the customer of our customer. In the above example, “vacationers” were the user.
Identify their goals
Once you have the end user, you need to know what their goal would be in using your new site. Sometimes these are simple, like to find a phone number, address and hours. Other times these goals are not as simple, such as reminding my renters when their rental is done. In the above example, “find weekly camp rentals in Maine” was the goal.