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Web site goals & objectives

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One of the biggest problems when building a web site is how to work out
and communicate what your site is going to do and who is the site for.

Web site goals & objectives

  1. 1. Type Stage Related Required Revised •D2 Project plan Version 1 ‣ Activity ‣ Evaluate •D3 Business Analysis March 2008A12 Document Business Define •D4. Specification Concept Develop Document Document Launch & maintain Web site goals & objectives “ Make something people want.” Paul Graham, yahoo. University of Melbourne web What are you trying to achieve with your web site? One of the biggest problems when building a web site is how to work out and communicate what your site is going to do and who is the site for. Clear goals for a complex project You can save time and money by focusing on 2 key questions at the start of Project goals for the original Palm your web project and keeping them in mind as you do progress: Pilot PDA, in total: What use is the web site to the visitor (the user)? 1. Size. Fit into a shirt pocket. Light  enough not to feel unwieldy  What use is the web site to you as an organisation or team? 2. Cost. Less than a luxury paper organizer ($300 US). Your aim is to balance both your needs as an organisation and the needs of 3. Simplicity. As simple as paper. your users to make a useful, usable web site that helps you save time and Turns on instantly. Uses simple money whilst helping people do things better. conventions. 4. Sync with PC. Use the PC as a Objectives & goals common point of interaction. Before you redesign or create a web site you need to be clear on what both Source:www.codinghorror.com you and your team want to achieve. Without this understanding you can have confusion and waste time and resources creating a web site that sucks. Some typical uses of a web site are: 1. Marketing - promoting what you do and products or services that you offer 2. Sales - selling your products online 3. Business support - providing support information for an application or business process 4. Reducing help requests via email, phone and feedback forms 5. Educating and informing: providing learning resources 6. Community: building a forum or community The key question is always: “Why should this web site be built at all?” Learning from others As you draw together these web site objectives, its a good idea to review what your competitors are doing. Competitors are “people doing the same things as us somewhere else”. For example, if you are looking at a human resources web site its a good idea to look at similar university HR web sites to see what functionality and content they offer. Ok - now what do I do? Overleaf are are some key questions; work through these and you will be able to create a list of objectives or goals. These goals should be easily available to everyone on your web team - you can also refer to these goals when making future decisions on the content and functionality of your web site. Look out - it’s a trap! ★ Don’t be tempted to skip creating your site goals and objectives People often want to jump straight to creating the web site; unless you have worked out the needs of the users and organisation first, this usually leads to failure. ★ Is this a case of technology in search of a problem? Are you wanting to apply the latest “cool” technology or buzzword without clearly knowing how they are going to help you? Be wary about using technology if it does not relate directly to any of the site objectives you have. Online: www.web.unimelb.edu.au/resources/dreamweaver/ i Contact: webdesign-team@unimelb.edu.au
  2. 2. ‣ Activity ‣ Evaluate Web site goalsA12 Business Concept Document Define Develop Launch & maintain & objectives Asking the hard questions Each goal or objective should be written as a single sentence in clear English (no web or business mumbo jumbo) that describes something you want the web site to do. Your site goals should be specific and should describe a tangible action that you can measure and report on. Here are some example goals for a site helping students apply for a course: University of Melbourne web “The web site should increase the number of applications from suitably qualified future students” “The web site should minimise the cost of processing applications” Business goals - what does the business want? Start by thinking about the your business or organisation goals - how will this web site help your team do things better? Is it your goal to sell, inform, support, promote, communicate or educate? Some examples of business goals are:  We want the site to …. sell products or services  We want the site to …. increase the number of successful transactions  We want the site to …. save us money; by getting people to use our web site instead of other ways of doing things  We want the site to …. keep people informed as to what we are doing User goals - what do the customers want? Next consider the goals of your users:  Who will use the site?  What scenarios or features are essential for your visitors?  What problems does the site solve for these people?  Why will these people use the site? (as opposed to other ways of doing these things) How will we measure success? How do we know if we are successful with our web site? Some examples of things that can be measured to show success are:  Increased business - the web site has more sales, subscriptions, sign-ups, usage  Increased visitors - more people are using the site  Increased number of repeat visitors - more people are returning to the site  Decreased complaints or requests for help - people are using the site to find help instead of contacting your team. Putting it all together After drawing together all your goals and objectives, you can start thinking on how you can meet them. These objectives will help you will create the following documents:  d2. Project plan A short overview of the project, including budget, timeframe, technology, risks and assumptions.  d3. Business Analysis Document An outline of the business needs and objectives of your web site.  d4. Specification Document Also know as a requirements document, the specification outlines the web site should do when completed. It describes any functionality, as well as any constraints of the system, but it does not say how the functionality should be achieved. Learn more  Book: “Web Project Management: Delivering Successful Commercial Web Sites ” - by Ashley Friedlein. ISBN: 1558606785 Classic book on the subject, although showing its age in some areas.  Online: “Never Get Involved in a Land War in Asia (or Build a Website for No Reason)” by Greg Storey Clear and brief article on writing clear and brief site objectives and strategies. http://www.alistapart.com/articles/landwarinasia/ Online: www.web.unimelb.edu.au/resources/dreamweaver i Contact: webdesign-team@unimelb.edu.au

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