Website Strategy & Planning


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Updated for Joomla and mobile considerations, this talk examines the 5 planes of user experience from Jesse James Garrett. How should you think about your website? What questions should you ask? How will you measure success?

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Website Strategy & Planning

  1. 1.   Jen Kramer • Joomla Day San Francisco • September 2013
  2. 2.  • ‹#› “I need a house, and I’d like blue paint and beige carpet. How much will that cost?”
  3. 3. • ‹#› “I need a website and I want responsive design. How much will that cost?”
  4. 4. • ‹#› What do you need? How many pages? What is your budget? Timeline? Do you want to edit your own site? What features do you want to include? Does it have to work for mobile? Do you want Joomla or WordPress?
  5. 5. • ‹#› Oops. Now you’re in trouble. Especially if you bid a fixed- rate contract.
  6. 6.  • ‹#› And does Joomla really make this process different?
  7. 7. • ‹#›  The basic questions are always the same and in the same order.  You can make the questions more specific or more general as needed.  Follow the plan and your site will turn out great with less bumps.
  8. 8. • ‹#›  Developed by Jesse James Garrett,
  9. 9. • ‹#›  That’s planning your interior decorating without developing the floor plans first.
  10. 10. • ‹#›  You’re not. You’re actually saving them time and a bundle of money. But that’s often hard to understand.
  11. 11. • ‹#› Questions: What do we want to get out of the site? Who are our users? What do our users want? What experience are we trying to provide? How will we measure success?
  12. 12. • ‹#›  An x% increase in the number of visitors  Reduce tech support costs by y%  Convey the mission and vision of our project and enlist sponsors  Sell our top 20 products to a wider market  Increase our visibility in the marketplace by establishing our expertise  Reduce phone calls for store hours and location
  13. 13. • ‹#›  Get as specific as possible o Good: 18-24 year old males in urban areas of the US with shoe sizes 12 and up o Not as good: Young people with fashion sense “Anyone who might be interested” is never the right answer.
  14. 14. • ‹#›  What are their specific limitations? o Specific website needs: arthritis, wear glasses, colorblind o Type of internet connection: dialup still reigns supreme in rural areas o Old computers? New computers? Most recent browser(s)? Netscape 4?
  15. 15. • ‹#›  Be entertained; share photos, stories; reconnect with old friends and colleagues  Get that @#$%^ printer driver installed and working  Find out how to sponsor your project  Purchase a widget at 11 PM in their PJs  Find the widget thought leader and see what they think about X  When does the store open and where are they exactly?  Tell me more about that thing I read about in the paper this morning  Do you offer X service? X product? How much?
  16. 16. • ‹#›  Efficient  Simple and straightforward  Meandering, wandering  Cheerful and peppy … and does that intro movie really support that experience?
  17. 17. • ‹#› Deep thought: No one ever says they want to make a frustrating, difficult website. But frequently, under the banner of “branding”, organizations do exactly this. Remember that an excellent CMS graphic design supports content, by working with it, rather than constrains content to arbitrary branding rules.
  18. 18. • ‹#›  It’s not all about Google Analytics… o (train your clients to use and interpret their GA results)  Reduce phone calls about store location and hours by 10% over the next 3 months. o Associates will track number of calls over next 3 months.
  19. 19. • ‹#› Make “store location” more obvious on the home page o And how will you do that? o And how will you measure the results?
  20. 20. • ‹#›
  21. 21. • ‹#› Questions:  What features will the site need to include?  What kind of detail will those features have?  What tools, skills and personnel will we need to build the site?  What is the timeline for building the site?
  22. 22. • ‹#›  Client edits content  Blogging/comments  Discussion board  Random quote  Countdown clock  Banner ads  Google ads  Recommended links  Calendar  E-commerce  Online chat  Contact form  Newsletter signup  Polls  Survey  Social bookmarking  User profiles  Zip code locator
  23. 23. • ‹#›  Client edits content  Blogging/comments
  24. 24. • ‹#›  It Depends.  You’ll need to evaluate them on: o Desired features from client o Joomla version o Pre-alpha/alpha/beta/full version? o Subscription? Support? Upgrade path?
  25. 25. • ‹#› Is Joomla right for this job? o The reason there are thousands of open source CMSs is because not every CMS is right for every job. o Do you even need a CMS at all?
  26. 26. • ‹#›  Do I need some help? o Graphic designer to create a custom design vs. canned template o Joomla extension vs. custom engineered extension o Client-provided content, or am I writing the content, or do I need a pro? o SEO assistance? o HTML/CSS assistance? Custom template construction? o Something else?
  27. 27. • ‹#›  There are entire courses and certifications devoted to project management.  Figure out the launch date, and work backwards to the present to establish milestones for completion.  Make sure the client knows what they need to deliver when.  And make it a week earlier than that.
  28. 28. • ‹#›
  29. 29. • ‹#› Questions:  How should the content be organized?  What are the navigation button names?  What about mobile considerations?
  30. 30. • ‹#› In Joomla, there are two considerations: o What does the site map look like? o What functionality needs to be considered: ACL, blogs, other content organization
  31. 31. • ‹#›  Think of this as an org chart.  This is the hierarchy of your pages in your website.  It can be displayed as an org chart, or as a bulleted list.
  32. 32. • ‹#› Home About Location & Directions Photos Physician Directory Physician Profiles Testimonials Primary Care Surgery Area Resources Cultural Attractions Schools Recreation Real Estate Newspapers Links C of C Visitors Bureau FAQ Career Opportunities
  33. 33. • ‹#›  Home  FAQ  About o Location & Directions o Photos  Area Resources o Recreation o Links • Chamber of Commerce • Visitor’s Bureau
  34. 34. • ‹#›  Card sorting
  35. 35. • ‹#›  Everyone has their own theory and philosophy.
  36. 36. • ‹#› Positives  Set all articles to “uncategorized” – no thought required  Client doesn’t need to worry about assigning correct category Negatives  Can the client find an article to edit in the article manager?  Can’t use category blogs/lists  ACL may be hard to configure without categories
  37. 37. • ‹#› Positives  Easier to find content in the manager  Savvy clients find categories more intuitive Negatives  Client may get confused with too many categories  Potentially too much slicing and dicing
  38. 38. • ‹#›  Organize them so you can find what you need, and so can your client.  Thoughtfully make use of category blogs and other category based organization.
  39. 39. • ‹#›  You will need a mobile-compatible version of this site.  Will you need separate information for a mobile device? o If so, how is that information structured? o Separate mobile site, a mobile app, or responsive design – and base your choice on your content, not on the technology.
  40. 40. • ‹#›
  41. 41. • ‹#› Questions  How should forms and other interactive screens look?  Where should important information be located?
  42. 42. • ‹#› Questions:  What will the finished product look like?  What colors, fonts, and logo will we use?  Sanity checks on layout, user understanding of the site, etc.  Mobile testing
  43. 43. • ‹#› Two choices with Joomla: o Canned template (RocketTheme, others) o Build your own template based on a graphic design
  44. 44. • ‹#›
  45. 45. • ‹#› Positives  Cheap to develop with a free or low-cost canned template  Template almost always works correctly.  Generally reasonable graphic designs.  May come with built-in mobile compatibility via responsive design or separate mobile template. Negatives  Not a unique look  Limited in regions for adding modules (even if there are 30 regions)  Helps to know HTML and CSS for modifying the template  Can be tricky to understand what the template designer did and why
  46. 46. • ‹#› Positives  Unique, perfect look for the client  Changeable and moldable to the content  No extra code – does only what it needs to do  Exactly the mobile approach you want  You can charge more  Negatives  Expen$$$ive  How good are your graphic design skills? (Or do you know a graphic designer who can design for Joomla?)  Can you convert the design to Joomla templates? (Or know someone who can?)
  47. 47. • ‹#›  Yale University School of Art  Shop in Paradise  Zinc Bistro  OXO  Evaluate the site you chose: o What does the owner want to get out of the site? o Who are their users and what do they want? o What experience is provided? o What would you keep? What is the site doing well? o What, if anything, would improve the site?
  48. 48. • ‹#› Jen Kramer Waltham, MA Phone: 802-257-2657 Twitter: @jen4web Facebook: • Slides available at