The consultancy phase is where we come to understand your organisation better and a strategic direction can be established. In the kick-off meeting we will need to collect a variety of information that will inform how we approach your project.
What does your organisation wish to achieve from this project? This list of objectives will need prioritising so that they can be used to inform the decision making process.
Business objectives need to be transformed into measurable success criteria. E.g. an objective to increase sales could become a measure of success that specifies a 20% increase in repeat orders within 6 months. Without measurable goals it is difficult to know whether the project has generated a return on investment.
Once we have our success criteria, they need to have associated calls to action. These are the things that we want users to actively do in order to measure success.
To motivate users into taking action, we need to understand those users better. A clear, prioritised list of user groups needs to be established and everybody should have a solid grasp of who these people are.
Each user group will want to achieve different things from your site. The kick-off meeting should establish what those things are or schedule testing early on to clarify user requirements. The focus should be on identifying what tasks they need to complete to achieve their objective.
Stakeholder interviews are a useful way of gaining valuable feedback and giving a sense of inclusion in a project. The kick-off meeting should establish when the stakeholder interviews will take place and with whom.
A list of competitors needs to be decided for review as part of the competitor analysis. A decision also needs to be made regarding the criteria are going to be examined within the available time.
A list of sources need to established for the analytical review (e.g. Google Analytics) and access needs to be arranged.
The list of deliverables for the consultancy stage needs to be reviewed and a brief explanation of each deliverable provided.
Design focuses on the site's aesthetic look and feel. This is separate from discussions on content and site structure. Design tends to be a subjective discussion so it is important we establish a clear direction as soon as possible.
Everybody is a design critic. That is why we have developed a specific approach to the production of simple and engaging design. In this introduction we will explain how design is produced, the role of the client, our use of design testing and why we like to keep the number of people involved in design sign-off small.
We will discuss what brand guidelines already exist (typography, colour palettes and logos) and whether these will need adjusting to work on the web.
We will review other examples of design that may in someway relate to the project. This may include print material, advertising campaigns or other online work.
The use of imagery is a key design component. We will discuss what existing imagery already exists and where new imagery will be sourced. We will also discuss different approaches to imagery to best engage the user.
We will bring examples of design elements that could inspire the project's direction. We can then discuss these as a group to help spark discussion about the direction of design on the project.
We will discuss the personality the design should project to users. Should it be young and trendy or older and conservative? If your organisation was a famous person which famous person would it be? These kinds of questions prompt the direction of the design.
We will establish what elements will be included in the design sign off process. This may include moodboards, wireframes, and design comps. We will also establish which key pages we wish to mockup before entering the main build phase.
Content discussions are probably the most important part of the kick-off meeting. This is where we establish what content and features the site will include and how the project will structurally fit together.
As part of the collaborative approach we like to adopt, we find it is helpful to have an initial discussion about information archiecture. We will take you through a series of exercises to establish what the top-level sections of your site could be.
If time allows, wireframing key pages gives us a great head start on a project and gets everybody working together. Out comes pen and paper, and we start sketching out how key pages might work.
Pulling together content for a web project can be time consuming and difficult. Maintaining that content over time is even harder. In this section we will talk about some of the challenges surrounding content and things you will need to consider.
Content doesn't stop at the website anymore. Twitter, facebook, youtube, linkedin... all of these components are as much a part of your online brand as your website. In this section we discuss your broader strategy and how this may impact the project.
We conclude our content section by discussing deliverables. Who is doing what from a content perspective and by when? This relates to our deliverables but also what we need from you. Unfortunately a great web project cannot have content dropped in at the last minute.
The design is signed off but that is the tip of the iceberg. There are many templates to implement as well as error messages, modules and much more. In this section we get down to the nitty gritty of your web project.
In order to make sure your website works for as many people as possible we use a technique called progressive enhancement. In this section we explain what it is and why although more people will have access to your website they might see slightly different things.
Every project has its surprises. Those little oddities that are trickier than you first think. It might be an interactive map or an entire web application. In this section we seek out those non-text page elements and make sure we have defined them properly.
Accessibility isn't just about meeting the needs of the disabled or ticking check boxes. Its about SEO, mobile devices and so much more. In this section we will discuss everything from WAI guidelines to site validation and what is right for you.
With mobile access to the web set to pass desktop by 2014, it is important to take mobile seriously. However, there are many different approaches to it. In this section we discuss mobile access and what we are going to do for your web project.
So many browsers so little time! Testing and bug fixing your web project on browsers is time consuming and expensive. That is why we sit down with you and confirm which testing setup most suits you to maximise your ROI. Having access to your browser usage stats would be really helpful for this section.
Internet explorer presents some unique challenges to your web project that we will explain in this section. We will discuss the best approach for your project and why sometimes giving IE users their own unique experience can be the way forward.
Our web project might look great and have stunning content but we need to talk tech too. There are lots of questions about the underlying technology that need to be decided.
Does your web project rely on integrating with another database or legacy system? Is some content that you want to use trapped in an existing form that needs converting? Lets confirm the details now so we can get things working smoothly.
If we are not sorting out the hosting for you then we are going to need to know about your hosting environment. You don't want us building the entire project just to discover it won't run on your server!
When it comes to the interactive elements in your web project the devil is in the detail. Let's try and nail as much of that detail on how things work as possible while we are all together.
A great web project is about more than what the user experiences. Its also about the admin functionality behind the scenes. We need to understand what functionality you require to run things as smoothly as possible.
Do you need any reporting on your web project? Does it need to generate an excel report? Does it need to play nicely with Google Analytics? Lets work out the reports you need to track the data you require.
Nobody likes to think about project management but without it projects becoming frustrating really fast. Our final section of the day nails the what, when, who and how of your project.
Lets talk timelines. Now is the time to examine each of the tasks to ensure that what we’ve agreed is doable following our discussions today.
Hopefully we haven't got to this stage in the day without doing introductions. However, now is the time to establish who we need to speak to about what within your organisation. In particular we need the primary point of contact and who will have the power of sign-off. Are there any bigwigs in the organisation we need to impress?
Usability testing lies at the heart of our approach. After all if users are happy then everybody wins. We would like to discuss some ways we can weave usability testing into your project even if budgets are limited and timescales are tight. It's amazing what is possible.
As the kick-off draws to a close its time to flag any concerns anybody has about the project. What are the risks? What does success depend upon?