Discover Process in Website Design Part 2

Posted by Donna Rouviere Anderson March 03, 2015

I am always wary of decisions made hastily. I am always wary of the first decision, that is, the first thing that comes to my mind if I have to make a decision. This is usually the wrong thing. I have to wait and assess, looking deep into myself, taking the necessary time.

— Pope Francis

I'm not a Catholic, but I'm with the pope on the above quote. If you want to have a successful web design and development career, don't just do any web project that a client approaches you about. Once you have determined what your client wants (see the previous blog), thank the client and tell them you will get back to them as soon as possible  to let them know whether you can take on the project. Then sit down with your staff, including designers and developers, and have a candid chat about whether all of you want to take on the project and why.

Here are the issues you need to discuss and decide:

Is the project worthwhile doing, considering all of our other current projects and its monetary value?

Do we want to do it? Is it exciting and inspiring to us? Will we enjoy doing it?

Will it contribute to the general creative direction we want to go in? Does it work toward at least one of our company’s goals?

Does it meet our company's financial needs?

What is its scope? Are we willing to pay the price to do it well?

What will it take to achieve it? Discuss this in specific, measurable terms.

Does the project depend on us or on others outside of our company for success?

Can we handle it? Are we and the client together qualified to do this project well?

Will the project trap us into committing to any goals that we can’t achieve or control? Are we clear and specific about what we can deliver. We can’t have absolute control over search engine ranking, the size of the market, the popularity of the client’s product or service or the overall success of the client’s project and we shouldn’t promise that we can.

Does the site have too many goals? We can have more than one, but if the site has too many, it won’t accomplish any of them well.

Discuss and consider the risks involved with the project one by one. The following are common risks that can occur in almost any web project. Assess them in the context of the project and consider what ones are significant and what measures you could take to mitigate them.

  •             Insufficient time
  •             Insufficient skills
  •             Insufficient resources/funding.
  •             No cost/benefit analysis.
  •             No feasibility study.
  •             Key information not written down or clarified.
  •             Moving to a new phase without completing one or more of the earlier ones.
  •             Erratic client.
  •             The project even if successful wouldn’t meet the needs.

If one of your people who will be involved heavily in the project is strongly opposed to doing it, consider that a risk as well.

Is the project in line with our core values. Is it ethical? Do we care about it?

Given all of the above, do we feel at peace about getting involved in it?

Should we do this project?

If not, file information on the project away and notify the client immediately so that they can find someone else and you won’t waste any more time on it.

If yes, notify the client and get any necessary instructions to proceed with a proposal or the next appropriate step.

Next week’s blog: We’ll take a break from website workflow for two or three weeks and look at the discovery process in a professional photography workflow.