website planing

First Things First

Concentrate on content first. What’s it all about?

Next, worry about functionality. How will it work?

Style or presentation should be last on your list.

If you want to publish on the Web, take a look around. Spend some time surfing the Web and see what’s out there. You can find plenty of examples of bad design and poor planning.

If you see something you like on the World Wide Web, steal it.

I don’t mean you should steal intellectual property, of course. But there’s nothing wrong with taking a look “under the hood” of a Web page and seeing how it’s done. In most browsers, you can view the source code by choosing View > Page Source.

Go ahead — try it right now, on this page.

Project Management

Half of planning your website is project management, which is all about making life easier for yourself.

(The other half of planning is design, which is about making life easier for the people who use your pages.)

It’s essential to develop a workflow. There are a number of steps in the process of creating and maintaining a Web page, and every project is different. Planning will help you realize what those steps are.

A few other pointers before we begin:

  • Surf the Web. See what’s out there.
  • Don’t be overly ambitious.
  • Don’t try to re-invent the wheel.
  • Do set aside some time for planning.
  • Also set aside some time for learning.
  • Realize that maintenance is continuous.
  • Have fun with it!

Use Pencil and Paper

Your most important tool for digital projects are good old pencil and paper. Often you’ll do your best thinking with these tools.

I planned this site using a Prism Steno Book and a Sanford Uni-Ball Microtip. Here’s a sample:

Write a One-Sentence Summary

You should be able to summarize your project in a single sentence. If you can’t do that, then you probably need to spend some time focusing your thoughts.

Here’s the one-sentence summary for this sub-site:

These pages will support the “Planning Your Website” seminar and will contain tips for Xavier University faculty on how to plan their web pages, including both project management and design issues.

Here’s the one-sentence summary for the Center’s website:

The CAT website will be a resource to Xavier and Partner School faculty in the areas of CAT initiatives and general faculty development.

Make an Outline

To help organize your thoughts, it’s often helpful to make an outline of all the content that you plan to include. I made an outline for this project, and used it as a table of contents — providing an index to all the material.

Make a Flow-Chart

The user’s experience may closely parallel the linear progression of your outline. Then again, it may not. Hypertext allows for a non-linear experience.

You should draw a flow chart to show how you want users to navigate through the content. The chart can be very simple and still very effective for organizing your thoughts. Consider the differences between these two charts:

Chart 1 Chart 2

posted by santosh kori

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