Before creating a design or programming functionality, a new website needs a clear plan. Not taking the time to plan is one of the biggest mistakes you can make when developing a new website. Skipping past planning a website and jumping straight to website development can result in a website that doesn’t meet your needs, isn’t user friendly, or that busts your budget because of the need for a total redesign.
Don’t risk your success by ignoring the importance of website planning. The saying, “failing to plan is planning to fail” holds true when it comes to planning a website.
Effective website planning involves three different phases that help:
- Clarify ideas
- Define measurable goals
- Satisfy user needs
- Get accurate quotes & timelines
- Communicate visual concepts to investors and developers
- Test your concept before it’s developed and deployed
1. Defining the Plan
Clarifying ideas and refining them into a plan is a discovery process aimed at defining website objectives, content requirements, and user groups.
- Website Objectives – Measurable goals that answer the question, “What will the website accomplish?”
- Content Requirements – Detailed statements that answer the question, “What will the website do?”
- User Groups – Detailed descriptions that answer the question, “Who will use the website?”
2. Drafting the Architecture
Web architecture categorizes, organizes, and prioritizes the navigation of your website by blueprinting the structure through site mapping, task flows, and wireframes.
- Site Map – Shows the overall organization of your website.
- Task Flow – Shows how users will easily navigate through the pages of your website.
- Wireframe – A digital skeleton of your website that blueprints where everything will appear to users.
3. Designing the Prototype
A website prototype is a functional model of your website created for testing purposes. Web prototyping shows you how your website will function so you can easily make changes before development.