Web Research and Planning

How can research results translate into a Website strategy?

The type of research you find about the topic you are making a website on can affect your website strategy because it’s going to determine what kind of information your website will contain.
The research step can include surveys and field research to find out what the potential consumers want out of your website. This can change your website strategy entirely in that the consumers might want something different than you had planned for your website in your original strategy.
Field research concerning other similar sites or sites in the same genre as yours or about a similar topic can help you decide the kind of route you want to take with your website strategy. You can see what other sites have to offer their audiences and that can help give you ideas about what you might want to include in your website and what approach you would like to take.
Basically, the research step can help you establish a much more informed website strategy because you’ll be much more knowledgeable about what is currently available and out there on your subject as far as other sites go.

What kinds of research are needed before creating a website?

  • Reasearch other websites
  • See what you like best
  • styles
  • functionality
  • layout
  • size

Determine your Needs

  • Do you need eCommerce, blogs, forums?
  • Keep your budget in mind
  • Gather your Content
  • Do you want a descriptive homepage?
  • Company History page?
  • etc.

Research your Users

Ask a selected group what they would prefer:

  • card sorting
  • survey
  • navigational tests

Who are the groups to be researched and how can the research be conducted?

-The groups that need to be researched depends on your audience. It can vary, but the group needs to be small in order to receive the correct research.
-The research can be conducted through surveys, one-on-one interviews, focus groups, etc. It just needs to be a on closely personal level. The more personal the research, the more personal your information will be.
-Basically what it all boils down to is that the more personal and detail oriented you research is the more you will get out of it. In order to get on that personal level you must conduct the research in small groups.

Examples of deliverables created by the Planning and Strategy phase of the Web Design Process include diagrams, blueprints, and website wireframes (visual layouts that embody the basic framework of a website). These schematics are helpful to web designers in simplifying the design process and organizing the functions of the developing website in a way that is easy to understand.

Designing a website without a blueprint is much more difficult. Blueprints help web developers recognize design flaws and confusing website elements, and the alternative to fixing these problems in the planning stage is correcting them in the actual implementation of the website (which is much more difficult because it involves rewriting entire sections of HTML or CSS through trial and error).

The beauty of a wireframe is that in this form, the developer is able to focus on the raw information and layout of the site, without worrying about the site’s pictures and colors. Wireframes can also be used to improve an existing site by taking a screenshot of the current site and then sketching in new elements.