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Web Development Essay

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Planning a Web Development Project

Presented by: Kelly Goto [email protected] [email protected] (415) 957-7701 session url

Cool cover illustration by Eunice Moyle



The Project: Introduction


Before You Start: The Client


The Proposal: The Development Process


Estimating: Time and Resources 4.1 4.2 The Budget: Estimating by Hours The Budget: Estimating by Task


Creative Brief: Defining Scope


Competitive Analysis: Informal Research


Forms & Worksheets: Blank Forms to Use


The Proposal: Detailed Overview 8.1 8.2 8.3 Proposal Format: Informal Letter Proposal Format: Detailed Plan Expectations and Follow-Up

©1999 Gotomedia, All Rights Reserved


T H E P R O J E C T: I n t ro d u c t i o n

Setting the Stage: Determining Scope You have a potential project that has just dropped into your lap. The client (or your boss) asks you the deadly question: “How much time is this going to take, and how much is it going to cost?” What is the first step you take SETTING THE STA G E

in identifying the actual costs and timing associated with the project? How much information do you need up front in order to generate a realistic proposal? What other elements do you need to incorporate into the proposal to ensure you can say “yes” to the project without getting into over your head? This handout has been developed to help you make the right decisions and organize your existing information in a comprehensive manner allowing you to properly identify scope, budget and timing to “set the stage” before beginning an actual Web project.

Before actually starting a Web site, there are several steps which can be taken to ensure the success of your project.In this session,we will cover the key elements in determining size, scope, budget and scheduling for your project. We will also cover additional items such as conducting an informal competitive analysis, and writing a creative brief. Whether you are an independent designer wearing multiple hats, or an internal Webmaster overseeing a team of people, many of the processes outlined here can be implemented into your existing workflow. INCLUDED IN THIS SESSION

How Much is Enough? How much time do you put in before you actually are awarded the project? What additional components have you budgeted and scheduled for, including competitive analysis and usability testing? The answer is directly related to time and money. You have been given a task. What does your expertise and time allow in order for it to be successful? By taking preliminary action to properly define the project and set up proper expectations with the client, you will save yourself time and trouble in the end. The more experience you have in creating sites, the more predicting and troubleshooting you can do to save yourself unnecessary expense. The problem is, we don’t often take the time to properly define the scope of a project. You can use the time now, or later. It is up to you.

Items which will be covered in this handout are as follows:


©1999 Gotomedia, All Rights Reserved

B E F O R E Y O U S TA RT: T h e C l i e n t



Use the questionnaire supplied in the handout for “Web Design Workflow”to send to your client prior to starting the job. Modify questions to fit the specific needs of the project you are working on. Questions are organized into key categories, including:

Send the Client Questionnaire At the earliest opportunity, send the potential client your customized questionnaire (see “workflow handouts” in earlier session) to gather information and estimate the scope and details of the project. The individuals or companies who take the time to answer the questions in detail score higher/on the “good client bad client” scale. The client questionnaire and answers generated in this process are an important step in understanding the overall scope and direction the client wishes to take.

MESSAGE PERCEPTION ACTION TECHNOLOGY MARKETING ADMINISTRATIVE You will get initial thoughts and feedback from the client regarding style and tone, competitive sites and audience.

Screening Your Project and Client Avoiding a bad situation is much easier if you do the legwork up front to make sure you are making good choices with the projects you take on. Identifying the scope and goals of the project will enable you to make a good decision and see if a project is a ‘fit’ for you and/or your team. One of the most important factors to consider with a new project is the person you will be working with to supply you direction, information, content and approvals. This can be an internal or external client. It is best to have one contact who is responsible for final sign-off and approval. This will help eliminate confusion and communication breakdown.

©1999 Gotomedia, All Rights Reserved



B E F O R E Y O U S TA R T: T h e C l i e n t


Working with an understanding and responsive client helps to make the development process a positive one. Having realistic expectations and an understanding of the process is a bonus. A good client understands the overall picture and works with you as a team player to make the Web site a success. THE BAD CLIENT



A good client has some of the following attributes: t Is goal oriented: focused on the big picture t Answers questionnaire in clear and detailed manner t Supplies an RFP, or clear outline of goals and scope t Understands the Web environment and the development process t Gives final sign-off and approval t Is in agreement on deliverables, schedule and budget t Is responsive to email and phone calls t Has a “team”approach t Gets you content on time t Is part of the solution instead of the problem

Not necessarily a nightmare client, but some things to watch out for: t A get it up quick attitude, unrealistic schedule requests t Doesn’t know what the content should be, but wants it to “look cool” t Asks to create a demo site, “the real one will come later” t He/she cannot give final approval or is not putting you in touch with the decision makers t Doesn’t have time to fill out the questionnaire t Small budget, swift deadline t Non-responsive, cannot make decisions, does not em...

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