ANALYSIS : DESIGN : DEVELOPMENT : IMPLEMENT : EVALUATE
At Media Intentions we begin making your website by first having a meeting with you to discuss your project. We want to know your purpose, target audience, functionality, website-theme, and deadlines. The budget for a website varies depending on your needs.
The making of your website is much like building a house. If you want marble floors and customized cabinets for your home, then the budget will change appropriately.
Websites require time, creativity, and expertise. Regardless of your budget, we help you build a strong foundation so that if your dream website is too expensive, then we build a first phase website that fits your budget. This phase 1 website will be designed with templates, and industry standard web design tools so that when it is time to budget Phase 2 that the growth takes place smoothly and efficiently.
Here are the systematic steps we take to plan the design of your website or multimedia project:
Our mission is to find out who we’re designing a website for. What will they do with they website? Will they be watching, reading, shopping, entering data, or simply playing a game?
What tasks will the users need to accomplish?
What is their demographics?
In order to meet the goals of a website, such questions, need to be answered because the graphics, colors, interactivity, font convention (size, and color), and depend on such findings.
Content (information architecture)
Information architecture is the science of figuring out what you want your site to do and then constructing a blueprint before you dive in and put the thing together.
You will need to answer two questions:
What pieces of content does the site need?
What sorts of functionality will be required?
Think of it this way:
If you want to build a spaceship out of Legos, you need to pick out all of the pieces you will be using. These pieces represent the content. If you want your Legos to do things, you need to choose which motors and processors you need (yes, Legos are computerized in this exercise). These pieces represent the functionality.
In order to harness all the ideas about how the site will work, create a list of the content and functional requirements. Then reach a consensus on how this content will be grouped and labeled. A side effect of this process is to create a content list or inventory, which is the basis for the site structure.
Context analysis is important to us, becuase it lets us know how to design the website. For example, if we’re designing a website for students in a school where computer monitors are 15″ with only 640X480 resolution, then the size of the graphics, and the width of the webpage(s) will have to accomodate it.
Will 85% of users use the website via webtv?
Will the website be used as a kiosk?
Will users have super fast bandwidth (fast internet connection)?
All design relies on contexts, both cultural and medium-specific ones, to communicate a message. For example, in a traditional print magazine, the reader immediately knows a bunch of things about it – how big it is, how to turn the pages, how to read the table of contents. We’re only just beginning to figure out stuff like that with Web sites. Some examples include the underlined words that make your cursor turn into a hand – those are hyperlinks. Or the strip of color that runs down the left side of so many Web sites – that’s part of our navigation vocabulary for now.
Once we gain results from the analysis phase, we begin a rapid prototype (or a quick skeleton sample of the website). Since rapid prototyping take very little time, we can get a feel of the structure of the website. Then we bring at least 5 end-users to see where the confusion, errors, and problems are. This method eliminates 85% of usability flaws, and basic errors of the website. Plus, the end-users are usually happy with some pizza, and soft drinks.
We then go back to the drawing board, and correct / redesign the prototype with the corrections and suggestions in mind.
Once we establish a robust design that everyone’s happy with, we proceed to the development phase. Here, we add the colors, proper graphics, proper sounds, interactivity, database, forms, and elements that are needed.
Then we test the finished website as thoroughly as possible to catch bugs, errors, or technical problems.
Once the entire website has been developed, we then place it online, or in the real situation as planned, and followup with constant testing to catch errors, bugs, or any problems.
After a small period of time, the evaluation phase begins. Here, we conduct a formative evaluation to analyze if the users’, and clients’ goals are being met.
We call about 10-15 end-users to a “pizza party” in a room of computers, and have them perform tasks using the website.
We take lots of notes, discuss the results with the client, and take action in order to improve the website.