Topic: From the beginning, now...

I'm having a tough time getting a standardized formula for how to begin a project from nothing. I'd like some help.

Scenario--You've just signed a deal with xyz company to do a complete website design for x amount of dollars. This company has no existing website. They have no letterhead, but they do have a logo. So how do you go about collecting information from this company to put on their site, deciding what needs to go on the site/what doesn't (assuming that they've given you that kind of autonomy) and basically the whole process after the contract. I need some help quick!

Thanks guys. You're a blessing.

You can teach what you know, but you'll ultimately reproduce what you are.

Re: From the beginning, now...

For us it starts in the proposal phase. We spend a lot of time developing an accurate document of what they want with some detail. Once all that is agreed upon, we tie our Agreement (contract) to the proposal and work off that.

We develop a content schedule of content/photos/resources we may need to to develop the layouts and the site in general. Depending on the size of the project and what we've agreed to we develop at least one layout and go through some series of revisions to get a final layout approved. Again, depending on size of project and type we might develop the home page and several subpages for them to review.

During the layout approval phase we are laying out the site structure and database integration scheme and starting to put together the CMS. If they don't need a CMS then we don't do this. smile

After the layouts are approved to front end gets coded in straight HTML and then ported over to be dynamic using PHP is it's applicable for the project.

Then we send it out to a Beta Test team to pour over the site and give us feedback on all aspects of the site. Usually the client is reviewing it during this time as well.

Then we launch and do turnover

Then we spend the money.

- Obvisously most projects vary based on Scope and timeline, but this is pretty close.

I dream with an XML intereface

Re: From the beginning, now...

Micah -

osugodfan wrote:

I'm having a tough time getting a standardized formula for how to begin a project from nothing. I'd like some help.  Scenario--You've just signed a deal with xyz company to do a complete website design for x amount of dollars. This company has no existing website. They have no letterhead, but they do have a logo. So how do you go about collecting information from this company to put on their site, deciding what needs to go on the site/what doesn't (assuming that they've given you that kind of autonomy) and basically the whole process after the contract. I need some help quick!

You must have some idea of what the project will entail or your wouldn't be able to come up with the agreed upon price.  At any rate, there are some key questions to ask the client at the beginning:  1) What is the purpose of the site? - online brochure, communications portal, e-commerce, etc.; 2) What is the client's intended audience? - consumers, other businesses, teenagers, etc.; 3) How much will the client be involved in the development and/or updates of the content?; 4) What websites have they seen that do what they want their site to do?; 5)Is the client Internet connected?  Believe it or not, there are businesses that want an Internet presense though they can't view the site themselves (we have such a client now); 6) How often will content change?

That's the basic list, from which other questions will arise depending on the answers.  Hope this helps.

That's my 2¢.  :^{>

Honored to Serve for Him - Tom ('Mas) Pickering <)><

Re: From the beginning, now...

tank wrote:

For us it starts in the proposal phase. We spend a lot of time developing an accurate document of what they want with some detail. Once all that is agreed upon, we tie our Agreement (contract) to the proposal and work off that.

We develop a content schedule of content/photos/resources we may need to to develop the layouts and the site in general.

critical stuff right here. you need to have some sort of a site map/design doc to know exactly what the site/project will entail and what content you'll need, and then need to figure out what content is pre-existing and what you need to acquire/have written/photograph/etc. this may take a few meetings to sit with them, figure out why they need/want a site, it's purpose, target audience, etc. i've heard of some designer/developers that have a standard sort of questionaire (somewhat like what mas posted) that they give their clients that covers a lot of this info.

Last edited by chrisfig (2006-10-24 06:56:09)

chris (fig): i'm not random, i'm tangent oriented... : www.tangentoriented.com

Re: From the beginning, now...

Chris -

chrisfig wrote:

this may take a few meetings to sit with them, figure out why they need/want a site, it's purpose, target audience, etc. i've heard of some designer/developers that have a standard sort of questionaire (somewhat like what mas posted) that they give their clients that covers a lot of this info.

We actually have one of those and it has proven an intimidation to our clients, who prefer to work through those issues face to face (or the e-mail equivalent).  We're working on a less overwhelming list of questions for the next version.

That's my 2¢.  :^{>

Honored to Serve for Him - Tom ('Mas) Pickering <)><

Re: From the beginning, now...

good to know, thanks tom. i havent ever done anything other than a very informal questionaire, generally asking my potential client to list a few sites that they love and a few that they hate...good to know both what to aim for and what to avoid smile

chris (fig): i'm not random, i'm tangent oriented... : www.tangentoriented.com

Re: From the beginning, now...

I fill out a client worksheet with the customer. This is a list of questions that I put together based on material that I found online, such as this article by Veerle, and suggestions from my father in-law, who has a background in marketing. I bring my laptop and ask them the questions one by one, maybe prompting them based on what we have already talked about. I prepare my proposal based on this, and include a copy of the worksheet. I let them know that the website will be developed based on the propasal and the worksheet. I have posted a copy of it here. This is a recent one I did for a law firm. I just fill it out in Excel for now, but I want to make it into a form on my site, and give clients the option of filling it out themselves.