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Mapping Your Way To Site Success: Site Plans for Proj
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Mapping Your Way To Site Success: Site Plans for Proj


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  • 1. Mapping Your Way To Site Success: Site Plans for Sites at Every Level of Development, from Idea to Postlaunch Lisa Williams placeblogger
  • 2. Screenshot of Placeblogger
  • 3. Placeblogger World HQ! (now with free coffee) Cambridge, MA
  • 4. Lisa on LinkedIn: Lisa on Twitter: @lisawilliams I am learning to love Facebook, so friend me I need the support to stick with it placeblogger
  • 5. 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 another project. • 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
  • 6. 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 plan. 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?
  • 7. Why have a site plan? placeblogger
  • 8. Because if you tell a developer Or an editor, or a journalist, or a volunteer… placeblogger
  • 9. “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…”
  • 10. You won’t get the site you want. You’ll get whatever the developer feels like giving you. placeblogger
  • 11. Resistance to writing things down I haven’t convinced many people to write site plans But the ones I have convinced aren’t driven crazy and their projects succeed placeblogger
  • 12. Not writing a site plan • Is the single biggest risk you can take with your project. • 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 DISCOVERY. • Keeps you from building the kind of project momentum that is crucial in winning over board members, community organizations, partners, and volunteers.
  • 13. Without a site plan you can only succeed by accident Succeeding on purpose is SO much more fun. Here’s how. placeblogger
  • 14. Entry points • Pitch • Team Bios/Project Inspiration • Influences • User Stories • Tree Diagram/Sitemap • Wireframes • Feature List
  • 15. Write a pitch One sentence that describes your project in a clear, concise, and compelling way. placeblogger
  • 16. Team Bios/Project Inspiration Developers want to know who they’ll be working with, and why this project is cool and important placeblogger
  • 17. Influences 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 placeblogger
  • 18. User Stories 3-4 one paragraph descriptions of typical users of your site, why they come there, why they’d stay placeblogger
  • 19. Tree Diagram/Sitemap A tree diagram showing your main page and the major landing pages of your site (don’t forget admin pages!) placeblogger
  • 20. Feature List 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. placeblogger
  • 21. Wireframes Simple sketches of the front page and landing pages on your site placeblogger
  • 22. 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 day: • Search bar, calendar picker, search results, tabs, login box. • 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)
  • 23. I ♥ Wireframes They give you an excuse to go out and buy cool office supplies placeblogger
  • 24. Chopin Liszt • Gridded paper 11X17 (Staples sells them) • Mechanical pencils • Package of fine-line multicolored pens • Twizzlers • Diet Coke
  • 25. UI pattern sites show you examples of common web design patterns
  • 26. QUICK GET A PEN! • • • • Yahoo! Design Library • • Share back – put your wireframes and design patterns out there
  • 27. Placeblogger’s original site plan was 14 pages long and had 8 wireframes placeblogger
  • 28. Hang it on the wall and back up
  • 29. Screenshot of Placeblogger
  • 30. 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 what) • 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.
  • 31. Resources • “Painless Functional Specifications,” by Joel Spolsky (READ THIS IT’S GREAT) • Original site plan for Placeblogger (14 pages plus 8 wireframes)
  • 32. Thanks! Lisa Williams placeblogger