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Placeblogger World HQ!
(now with free coffee)
Lisa on LinkedIn:
Lisa on Twitter:
I am learning to love Facebook, so
friend me I need the support to
stick with it
Who this is for
• Non-programmers who want to build a new website or
add features to/extend an existing website
• Project leaders who will be working with others on
their team to set up and run a website and web
strategy for a project
• Site editors and admins who have a day-to-day role in
building and running a community information project.
• If you ever want to step up to design, launch and run
• This was originally prepared to share with project
leaders for Knight Community Information Challenge
projects. For info on how you can get funding for your
project, see infoneeds.org
Phase 1 Write a Site Plan
Planning for Success
Phase 2 Define roles to build out your team and begin recruiting and
Teambuilding networking. Let others read appropriate parts of your site
Phase 3 Technical development on your project begins. Begin writing
Site Development your Launch, Social Media, Content, and Metrics plans!
Phase 4 Launch! Use your launch plan to have a great Day One. Keep
Launch a log of the first day, and begin a bug tracker.
Phase 5 Start writing down your performance against operational
Operations goals – are you getting the number of posts you want per day?
Comments? Twitter followers?
Phase 6 What are your standards and goals for community building?
Community building What are you doing each day to interact with your
community, on your site and elsewhere? What about in-
person, one on one and events?
Because if you tell a developer
Or an editor, or a journalist, or a
“I want a site with citizen journalism
where local businesses can buy their
own ads and I want people to blog but
I want to be sure that nothing gets
onto the front page that we don’t
want there and oh we want our twitter
feed to appear somewhere and we
need to link our Facebook fan page
and we want people to be able to rate
comments and share links and upload
photos and maybe we need something
that works on mobile phones…”
You won’t get the site you want.
You’ll get whatever the developer
feels like giving you.
Resistance to writing things
I haven’t convinced many people to
write site plans
But the ones I have convinced aren’t
driven crazy and their projects succeed
Not writing a site plan
• Is the single biggest risk you can take with your
• Is entirely unnecessary.
• Keeps you from really digging into your project
and finding out what it’s about – writing a site
plan is about THINKING IT THROUGH and
• Keeps you from building the kind of project
momentum that is crucial in winning over board
members, community organizations, partners,
Without a site plan you can only
succeed by accident
Succeeding on purpose is SO much
more fun. Here’s how.
• Team Bios/Project Inspiration
• User Stories
• Tree Diagram/Sitemap
• Feature List
Write a pitch
One sentence that describes your
project in a clear, concise, and
Team Bios/Project Inspiration
Developers want to know who
they’ll be working with, and why
this project is cool and important
List other websites that have been influential
in your thinking about your project as well as
sites you use everyday, and sites whose
design you like
3-4 one paragraph descriptions of
typical users of your site, why they
come there, why they’d stay
A tree diagram showing your main page
and the major landing pages of your
site (don’t forget admin pages!)
The big long list of features. Some people
start with the list and then do wireframes,
others do wireframes first and then list
everything you can click on and write down
what it does.
Simple sketches of the front page
and landing pages on your site
What is a wireframe?
• A wireframe is a grid with boxes suggesting the layout of
a web page.
• Inside each grid is a UI element called a “design pattern.”
• We encounter familiar design patterns on the web every
• Search bar, calendar picker, search results, tabs, login
• You can present the same data in different ways – stories
could be in a list or in a carousel (one story is shown,
with left and right buttons to scroll through stories)
I ♥ Wireframes
They give you an excuse to go out
and buy cool office supplies
• Gridded paper 11X17 (Staples sells them)
• Mechanical pencils
• Package of fine-line multicolored pens
• Diet Coke
UI pattern sites show you examples of
common web design patterns
QUICK GET A PEN!
• Yahoo! Design Library
• Share back – put your wireframes and
design patterns out there
Placeblogger’s original site plan
was 14 pages long and had 8
Accessories for the fashionable site plan
• Launch plan – what will you do on Day One?
• Content plan (how many items per day, what
type, how many tweets, FB posts, who will do
• Metrics plan (you should share this with your
developer up front so they can build in whatever
analytics you’ll be using)
• Support/Operations How often do you back up?
Who removes spam? Who moderates content on
what days of the week? Etc.
• “Painless Functional Specifications,” by Joel
Spolsky (READ THIS IT’S GREAT)
• Original site plan for Placeblogger (14 pages
plus 8 wireframes)