Web Design Strategy/Planning (Research)

Before considering the practical aspects of creating a website, there are some important fundamental questions you need to ask yourself first.

What do we want to achieve through this website?
Who exactly is this website for?
Who's our target audience?
How do we best communicate with that audience?
What information needs to be included, and how should that information be structured?


The more planning & preparation you do, the easier it is to make informed decisions when it comes to creating an effective website. Another advantage of thorough planning comes when you bring in the professionals; you can save a great deal of time (and money) by having everything ready and in place for them. You must know your users and how they think and function before you can create a usable website for them. Therefore, early in the web design process you should use research methods to learn more about your users.

4 Planning Points to Focus On
Know Your Goals and Research Them
Understand What’s Broken on Your Current Site
Discover What Web Pages Already Work Well
Examine What’s Already Working in Your Industry

Types of Research
Quantitative research- Information scientifically measure through experimentation and statistics (Numbers)

Qualitative research- Information based on opinions, thoughts and experiences (Observations)

Approaches to Web Design Research:
User Segmentation- Identify subgroups of the population based on unique characteristics

Demographic analysis- Examine statistical data on the people groups and categories within the target audience

Psychographic/behavioral studies- Locate articles and profiles published about the segments and groups within the target audience

Surveys- ask the users, or at least a significant sample of them, opinion questions and identify relevant issues, patterns and trends

Focus Groups- Gather small groups to voice opinions on relevant issues, patterns and trends. Seek explanations for opinions

Individual Interviews- Spend time talking to representative examples of the user audience

Which Research Approach To Use?
To learn about business needs and goals
-Surveys
-Focus Groups
-Individual Interviews

To learn about existing websites on the subject
-Work from Client's / Stakeholder's List
-Keyword Searches
-Searching Industry Sites and Publications


Resources
Getawebsite. (2010). Website planning. Retrieved from
http://www.getawebsite.friezedesign.co.uk/plan.htm

Elander, K. (2013, September). Research approaches. COMM 420. Lecture conducted from Harding University, Searcy.

Search Engine Watch. (2013). 4 important points to research before launching a new website. Retrieved from http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2253666/4-Important-Points-to-Research-Before-Launching-a-New-Website