Before a web design company can even begin to think about designing a website, they must first make sure that they understand the clients website requirements. A famous Greek philosopher once said that ‘We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.”
The main part of the website requirements gathering process is doing just that, listening.
We follow this rule and before we begin to plan a website for our clients, we listen to what they want to achieve, where they want to go and who they need to target. Once this information is gathered, we are then able to go away and put the website requirements into a more concise format, so that our web design, development and online promotion teams understand what needs to be done. This web requirements document, or website plan, will form the basis of the web design project so that both parties are clear about what will happen.
Website requirements gathering
Typically, the process will start with a face to face meeting between the web design agency and the potential client, although this can be achieved remotely using emails and phone calls. Here are just some of the questions
that the prospective web agency may ask;
• What does your company do?
• Describe a typical or perfect client or yours
• Where are you in your market place?
• Can you give me five of your main competitors
• How big will your website be?
• How do you plan to keep your website updated?
• When will the website need to be launched by?
• Who will be responsible for the website project?
These are just some of the questions you can expect to answer when identifying your website requirements. However, your web design company should also come up with ideas. They have the knowledge and experience to identify ways in which your website can stand out from the crowd. As an example, we built a website which offered a simple search facility. As well as providing the results, we also collected the information and this was then used to improve buying decisions, resulting in cost savings and improved sales based on real data.
Why you need to develop your website requirements
If the website users have a specific need, how can your website best serve these needs? The web company should outline any potential features to make your website stand out in the website requirements document. It is crucial to capture the ideas at the requirements stage so that they can be built into the website from the beginning rather than later. Adding additional development at a later date can prove more expensive than at the requirements stage.
Failure to go through the website requirements process, will mean that it is very hard to identify all the ways in which the website can be successful. This will result in an under performing website and a missed opportunity.
Identifying User Requirements
Behind any rational web effort should be a formal structure and methodology known as a project plan. Identifying user requirements forms a major part of this essential planning which needs to reflect the objectives, including price, performance, and reliability, of the final website. A requirement is as such an objective which has to be met, no questions asked. The identification of user requirements can be implemented as a tool to determine and evaluate the quality of a website and whether initial goals and strategies have been met. Identifying user requirements supports the establishment of reliable strategies such as:
• the clarification of any possible ambiguity
• the careful definition of the project scope
• not allowing for developers to merely assume what it is that the end-user wants or needs
• benefits such as savings can be enjoyed by clients
• costs for development can be approximated
• competition is identified and improvement on their capabilities can be subsequently offered
User requirements most typically described the relative needs, tasks, and goals of the user of an individual website. There is therefore a need to define, document, and describe the requirements of the end-user of this website. It should also be taken into consideration that needs and requirements change over time and a website must be initially designed to accommodate these changes through updates and further additions. Problems may occur in the case of a website not being able to keep up with developments occurring in the website industry.