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10 Steps to Effective Web Site Design Checklist

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WHAT TO LOOK FOR WHEN DESIGNING YOUR WEB SITE
Get asked a variety of versions of the basic question, What elements are necessary to develop a good Web site? No matter what verbage you use to ask the question, the answer is basically the same, so I've provided you with a simple checklist of 10 things that you might want to consider when developing your Web site.
They are:

  

1

SITE GOALS
Before you begin your project, you must understand what the intent of the site is. What do you and/or your clients expect to achieve by having a Web site on the Internet? Establish goals for the site, the more specific, the better. Once you (and your clients, if you're doing the site for hire) have a clear picture of the site's purpose, you can move on to the next step.
  

2

TARGET AUDIENCE
The site's Target Audience, that is to establish for whom the site is intended to reach. Will it be for inter-office use, public or wholesale sales, recruitment, entertainment for kids, official business, communications, the elderly...? Try to narrow it down as much as possible, so that you know what tone the site should have to appeal to the most specific intended audience. (If a site is to appeal to many different TAs, then you might consider making different themes within the same site to appeal to each TA.)
  

3

DETERMINE INTERACTIVITY
This is how site visitors will "experience" and interact with the Web site. Determine, in advance, how you (and/or your clients) want users to view, react to, and interact with the site.
  

4

COMPETITION
Check out the competition. You want your site to be the best of it's kind. What does the competition have to offer? What are they doing wrong? How can your site do it better? In what ways will your site have the competitive edge?
  

5

DATA FLOW
It's important to consider the flow of data within your site. If you're building a content-heavy site, you need to divide the data into bite-sized chunks that can be divided into sections that will become categories (or "main links" within your site). Some prefer using index cards to organize their ideas, personally, I like drawing flow charts on giant rolls of butcher paper.
  

6

DATA DELIVERY
Determine the methods that you will use to distribute the site's content. You may need different forms of delivery for different kinds of data distribution. Consider dynamic content, video streaming, and other methods that may be appropriate for delivery of your data.
  

7

SITE NAVIGATION
Here's where your site starts to take shape visually. When deciding on the visual delivery, you're also deciding what your delivery layout mechanisms will be. Will your site have main navigation at the top of the site? Along one side or the other?
  

8

VISUAL DESIGN
This is your sites first and last impression. It's time to determine your site's color scheme and other graphic representations. If working on a corporate site, you may need to coordinate graphic design and/or layout with the graphics department.
  

9

REDESIGN
Don't be afraid to get lots of input on your site's design. And don't get too fond of your site's first design. Pushing your site through different design phases helps to simplify and (hopefully) make the site more effective as it matures.
  

10

SITE LAUNCH
By this time, you're ready to present your site to the rest of the World Wide Web. You should have all the major bugs worked out, its been tested by a variety of humans in the previous section and revisions have been made where appropriate. Now, that you've built the best site of its kind, let's see how it stands up in real life.

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