At the very start of the project is the Consultancy Phase as mentioned in a previous post listing the seven steps

The purposes of the Consultancy Phase are to determine and clarify the business goals of the client, the needs of the intended customers and the scope of the project.

Client business goals

In order to understand the client goals, Consultancy has to cover exploring and understanding the client sector of activity, his position in this landscape, especially on the Web.

Client’s overall strategy should be considered so that purpose and goals can be narrowed down, defined and translated for the Web. Particular attention will be paid to the marketing strategy.

A revealing question is why the client wants a website. ‘Because everybody has one’ is the wrong answer; this must lead to serious analysis.

Know the customers

Consultancy must include learning and understanding who the end user is.

The website is not for the website designer nor is it for the client, it is for the customers, for the avoidance of doubt, customer is the client’s customer.

Customers come onto a website to satisfy a need; to do so he/she will have to perform a number of tasks.

What is the technology at their disposal? E.g. do they have Broadband, optical cable, slow wire connection? Are they consuming the web mainly on mobile phones or tablets, or on desktop? And many more questions, the answers to which will influence the design of the website.

An example of how the target audience will influence the website design: imagine a website that offers apples, oranges and bananas for sale.

Designing the website for a greengrocer the structure might be

  • Fruit
    • Apples
    • Oranges
    • Bananas

For customers concerned with freshly picked local fruit

  • Fruit
    • Local
      • Apples
    • Tropical
      • Oranges
      • Bananas

For customer concerned with pesticides

  • Fruit
    • Organic
      • Apples
      • Oranges
    • Transitional
      • Oranges
    • Conventional
      • Oranges
      • Bananas

For a botanist

  • Fruit
    • Pyrus
      • Apples
    • Citrus
      • Oranges
    • Musa
      • Bananas

Scope of the project

The scope of the project has to be clearly defined. A clear definition of the project scope will avoid scope creep taking place. Such a situation is unsatisfactory for both the designer frustrated at working for free and the client not being satisfied at working with a reluctant designer; to be avoided as creating wasted time and accrued delays.

In conclusion

Armed with the information obtained, the designer is in a position to decide on the features the website will need to satisfy the goals and requirements demanded of it.

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