Requirements Analysis
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How to perform a requirements analysis for your planning process to create great website designs…

In your analysis, you'll learn how to determine what elements are required for your design. You'll also know how to build in your differentiation and your purpose. By keeping your customers in mind, you'll also ensure that all elements are focused on providing useful and interesting information.

The objective of your analysis is to capture the visitors that have come to your website from your marketing channels and indicate to them that they are at the right website. Use familiar icons and provide links for further information.

Here is the 7 step design analysis process:

1) Design with Differentiation in Mind

By getting right back to the basics of why you are involved in your business, you’ll be able to discover the passion you never thought you had. Link this with your motives to produce something unique to you.

> Strategy builder > Know your passion > How to differentiate you from your competition

Use your uniqueness within your design by choosing images and headlines that highlight how you differentiate from your competition.

2) Design with a purpose

The purpose of your website will dictate the core characteristics of the design.

If your website is primarily a lead generation tool, then consider using large clickable areas of the layout for ‘Quick Quote’ or ‘Enquiries’. This will make the call to action very clear for the visitor. Identify the main benefits of your products and services to your target customer type and use attractive images and headlines with ‘find out more…’ links or arrows to encourage them to read beyond the homepage.

If your website is primarily a resource tool for your existing customers, then consider what information they need. If news and events are important, make sure there is sufficient space to display a small image and leading headline for each news article. If product information and usage is important, then consider how to categorise your products and use attractive product images to help them to navigate to their desired product. If a helpdesk area is important together with an FAQ area, consider a large area for links to these areas.

Whatever the purpose, list all the elements for the homepage you can think of that your customer types will need to make their search for their desired information clear and simple.

3) Design for usefulness

Identify your niche and capitalise on this by presenting areas of your website that offers information only you hold. Use large areas to indicate the importance to a particular subject. If you have something unique, then demonstrate dominance by allocating a large area to this.

You can use size to categorise the information you present to your visitors and indicate to them which information they should see first.

4) Design to be your marketing hub

Consider all your marketing channels and all routes your prospects will take to get to your website. If you know where they have come from, for example a magazine article, an advert, a flyer, the search engines etc., you need to guide them to the information of interest.

If your visitors have come to your website because of an offer published using traditional marketing, then you need to make sure that more information about the offer is available.

5) Design to be customer centred

Be valuable and informative to your target customer type. By knowing what your customers are looking for and what questions they are asking, provide clickable areas that offer attractive responses to their questions.

6) Consider the level of content required and determine the best way to manage the content

Each industry has a different level of maturity on the internet. Depending on the industry you are in, you may have stiff competition in terms of the level of content and quality of their websites in order to successfully compete.

As long as you design with your customer in mind and have answers to the most important questions, then you can grow the content of your website over time.

Choose the depth of your website you are initially comfortable with and design a menu that works with the content you plan to write initially, but with scalability in mind.

Break down your website into categories, and choose the category to which each page belongs. Pages can belong to more than one category – in fact this is a good thing as it links the categories together to allow the visitor to navigate to related items.

7) Determine the practicality, complexity and useability when considering adding any unusual requirements or features

Websites that include, Flash, AJAX, complex javascript or any other type of embedded code will require a lot of effort to ensure that it works with all browsers on different platforms such as PCs or Apples. Before deciding on using these features, decide whether they are adding any value to the customer. If they are – great! Make sure your design works with these features and not look like its been shoe-horned in.

Focusing on your end goal and developing a strategy to get there will mean a faster development process with less re-working and less disappointments. If you fail to plan, the consequences are that your website will never reach the professional levels required to actually attract your visitors to make an enquiry.

Summary
Analyse your requirements and decide what is needed. Create a design you are happy with and fulfils those requirements. Make sure all the information is available to handover to your graphic designer and your developer – even if it is for yourself.
Further Info
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