As I mentioned in Part 1 of this series, it is easy to have miscommunication and missed goals if the right questions aren’t asked and the right information isn’t provided early in the development process. Here's three things it's important to consider as things begin to move along.
Communicate Needs & Goals
As you are working with a web agency, it’s important to make sure they understand the goals of your organization. Not just for the website but why “xyz feature/functionality” is important to the business process or user experience.
As an organization it is ideal to know exactly what your main goals are for your new site. Depending on your industry, this can include everything from capturing leads, selling tickets and registering attendees and exhibitors, to closely interacting with your audience/users, and more.
At this point in the website strategy process, try not to get too hung up on design and placement. Design is VERY important but it’s like trying to paint the walls of a new house with only the studs in place… just too soon.
Automation is King!
Within your organization or business you probably have data in multiple places within multiple servers. There’s a good chance that you’ll want some of that data to be accessible to your website users. Not only that, some of it may actually come from your website via a contact form, etc.
Other areas of your site that present a great opportunity for integration include membership directories and calendars of events. Wouldn’t it be nice to have all of this data that is already stored in your management software automatically populated on your website? It is possible to integrate data from systems such as your CRM that will allow this information to display on your website without requiring data entry in multiple places. This also insures that the content on your website remains fresh and up-to-date.
During the strategy process, look at the systems you use and see which have the ability to integrate using an SDK/API. This can save you lots of time and headaches in the future.
Responsive is a NECESSITY
PC’s, Laptops, Tablets, Laptop/Tablet Hybrids, Phablets and Smartphones. With the wide variety of devices on the market today we have many different screen sizes and orientations to think about when creating a website. Not that long ago, when building a website you had to build your desktop version and a separate mobile version. Remember the old URL’s like “m.google.com?”
With the advent of responsive design, websites are now built just once for all types of devices and screen sizes. Even as you resize on a desktop, the design will move elements and menus to accommodate the available real-estate in your browser window. Making sure your website is responsive is not only a time saver but also a cost effective way to create the best possible user experience.
Check back next month for the final entry in this three-part series when I’ll be discussing technical documentation and how detail is king!