A web site ruled by form is like a house without a blueprint.
A web site ruled by function is like a custom built house carefully designed by an expert architect.
Through examination of web development strategy, web developers can see that successful web projects are built upon goals, which thereby illustrates the irreversible dominance of function over form in commercial web design.
This essay will show the strategic phase of web projects built on a functional foundation of goals, research, project management, and design.
Environmental scans give managers a comprehensive perspective of problems in web design.
“ The goal is to come up with a mix of basic driving forces that suggest the most likely future, and some insight into potential change drivers that may lead to alternative future outcomes (Hines & Bishop, 2006, p. 55)”.
Form-based thought leaves managers without any suggestion of the “basic driving forces” and vulnerable to the unexpected.
Form- and function-centered plans do not give managers a map to the exact changes of the future, but “insight into potential change drivers” does allow for tactical changes in form.
Patrick Lynch and Sarah Horton say, “[t]he project manager acts as the primary contact between the web team and the sponsor and manages the overall communication among creative, technical, and production elements of the web site team (2009, Ch. 1, p. 2)”.
“ Enterprise architects must decentralize decision making to enable innovation [...] In decentralized organizations innovation is dynamic and change is organic” (Burke, 2008, Table 1 ).
The “decentralized decision making” to techs, designers, and other staff chosen based on their abilities still allows the crew meet the previously defined goals and create a vision in the best way they see fit.
Emergent management places priority on function, and allows form to emerge from the crew upwards.
The discouragement of iterations in the development and test phases forces final ideas to be implemented. The form is not permitted rule and landmarks are met.
In the house analogy, second-guesses of construction work eventually encounter the inspector as a limit to work. At this juncture, work either passes inspection and meets a deadline or fails and breaks a deadline.
Deadlines for development Design is the bridge between strategy and production in time- and team-based management. After the heavy research in the scan and forecast phases, the vision of the site begins to form. Vision connects the forecasting to the present, gathers assumptions, consequences, and long-term strategies (Hines & Bishop, 2006, Ch. 4).
Site design should be centered around usability as the core principle.
“ Results indicate that Web site design quality in the context of e-commerce is related to four major dimensions: information and service quality, playfulness, system use, and system design quality ( Liu et. al, 2001, Key dimensions )”.
Business sites can compensate for their lack of playfulness with a stronger emphasis on the other three dimensions.
Final plans use short-term goals to bridge vision with action (Hines & Bishop, 2006, Ch. 5). Planning allows for emergent architecture, choice branches, contingencies, diversification, and takes advantage of a company's unique attributes (Id., p. 171-186).
Technology design identifies the technology strategy for the site — platforms, standards, technologies, and how they can all interoperate.
The physical host of the web site is budgeted in the project management phase by the core team. The other decisions in regard to web host, content management, and security are left to the expertise of the techs.
Action urgently responds to changes and reinforces all other guidelines by the realization of milestones, reaction according to plan, and follows the system repeatedly (Hines & Bishop, 2006, Chapter 6).
“ The user interface and visual design of the site may be much more visible to the user initially, but if the underlying organization of the site and its content is poorly constructed, visual or interactive design will not fix the problems (Lynch & Horton, 2009, Ch. 3, Introduction section)”.
The last phase presents a finished product to the end user, usually the public.
Rooster Teeth Productions is an example of how perpetual modification can continually improve a site (et. al, 2009, p. 10). RT is a “combination of product feedback and social site features.”
The modification is made possible by constant research performed voluntarily by the end user.
While site construction has scheduled deadlines and road marks of completion, dynamics sites build flexibility into the site for new features. Developers who allow form to follow function strengthen the best characteristics of each.
This research paper has shown the strength of a function-based foundation. By research of a customer and global awareness, web managers can form function-driven goals.
The irreversible dominance of function over form in commercial web design is shown in emergent management, ease of user interface elements, and continued flexibility.
The essay has shown the stability of web projects built on a functional foundation of goals, research, project management, and design.
With a strong foundation in function, a web manager can rest assured in a room decorated by form that the house of the site has become a well-designed home.
References Boar - Feiler Boar, B. (2001). The art of strategic planning for information technology. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. Retrieved June 30, 2009 from http://www.netlibrary.com/ Burke, B. (26 August 2008). Architecting the emergent enterprise: New game, new rules. Gartner, Inc. Retrieved July 4, 2009 from Gartner database access: http://www.gartner.com/ Feiler, J. (2000). Managing the Web-based enterprise . San Diego, CA: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers.
References Haefliger - Liu Haefliger, S., et al. (2009). Modding as rating behavior in virtual communities: The case of Rooster Teeth Productions. ETH Zurich. Retrieved June 20, 2009 from http://www.smi.ethz.ch/ Hines, A., & Bishop, P. J. (Eds.). (2006). Thinking about the future: Guidelines for strategic foresight. , DC: Social Technologies, LLC. Liu, C., Arnett, K.P., Capella, L.M., & Taylor, R.D. (2001). Key dimensions of Web design quality as related to consumer response. The Journal of Computer Information Systems, 42 (1), 70-82. Retrieved July 4, 2009 from Proquest database access: http://www.proquest.com
References Lynch - Warner Lynch, P.J., & Horton, S. (2009). Web style guide (3 rd ed.) . Retrieved July 1, 2009 from http://www.webstyleguide.com Van Duyne, D. K., Landay, J. A., & Hong, J. I. (2007). The design of sites: Patterns for creating winning web sites . Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall. Retrieved July 3, 2009 from Google Books: http://books.google.com Warner, J. (2001). Managing web projects for Dummies. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing, Inc.
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