So, you are ready to move ahead and start dialog with some vendors about redesign of your existing website. One thing to keep in mind is that what you communicate be it verbally, email, or visually – there is always a chance that what you see in your mind’s eye as the end result is not what your vendor understands. A simple way to minimize that gap is to come up with a thorough requirements document or project scope document.
More is best when outlining your desired results:
- Make sure you start out with high level desired results and functionality. Let the vender determine best practices and solutions to achieving your desired results.
- Don’t be afraid to push the limits and express as much fanciness as you think you need to make a great first impression and achieve your goals.
- Some details are good to list out like how many news articles you want pulled into the homepage and how many are sticky or will remain in a set position.
- Ecommerce is not simple, but there are many options to doing the same thing. Make sure you list out as much details on the user experience as possible.
- Learn how the platform looks and behaves by default. Knowing a little about say WordPress can save a lot of heartache down the road.
- Aesthetics is not everything, but it can help solidify other parts of the design and subsequent build. Call to actions are a good example of this.
- Who will be minding the store once it is live? Make sure they are involved early on in the process and value their input.
- Maintenance, upgrades, and comments moderation are generally afterthoughts. Don’t let this be you. Know you have to keep things up to date.
A checklist then can consist of:
- high level outline of desired website look and feel
- high level list of desired functionality [not technical but what you want the user to be able to do]
- some details about aesthetics likes and dislikes
- details on target audience
- any samples of your branding materials brochures and newsletters and mailers
- questions for your vendor on maintenance and on going support
There are two ways to set put together a requirements document; do it yourself or do it with your vendor. Without a tight set up requirements up front be prepared to deal with a moving budget. If you want a tight and cohesive project budget, you need to make sure you are outlining requirements up front. Need help with this initial task? Let us know… We’d be glad to help!