When we at Intechnic build a website for one of our internal projects, for example for our Virtual Room Designer Visualization Software, we go through several steps in planning the site to ensure that it’s informative, fulfills its purpose in a way that people find easy-to-use, and to ensure that the project has a definite beginning and end. Being the case that we’re doing this same web 2.0 development and design for many of our clients, we thought that anyone planning a website could benefit from these two steps in starting a site design…
1. Once we have a purpose for building the site, e.g. for the Virtual Room Designer software, we think about the information people are going to be looking for. In this case, we knew people would need information on the software itself, its applications (for manufacturers, retailers, etc.) , and its features. We then chose to use drop-down menus to make it possible to navigate to more detailed sections and we also knew we needed to show a demo and have a contact form.
2. We then put together wireframes for a couple pages. For example, the basics of what a content page should have – header, footer, menu, and body. It’s not necessary to decide how all the pages will look right away because integration with the content management system makes the text editable and a structure management system lets us add more pages as we have more information to put on the site.
As a result of doing some marketing research, thinking through the types of information we’re going to have on the site, and putting together wireframes, we have a good idea of how the actual site is going to be layed out.