20 
Plan 
Define the audience and purpose 
The most important part of any Web project is defining the site s audience and purpose. 
An organization can have talented, well-trained people working on its site, but without a 
clear vision to guide them, the site will be ineffective. Before a site is built, the people in 
charge should have a good idea of who ll be using it and what it should do. 
  
Lack of focus cripples site 
 A 
college I know sent almost a hundred of their faculty and staff to a week of Web training. 
These people went back and built some decent pages for their offices and classes, but the 
whole site was still confusing. I wasn t sure if it was for the students or the people who 
worked there. This college may have spent a lot of money on training, but they still had a 
crummy site.  
Troy Telenko, Business Development Manager, ACT Training Corp. 
Ask the right questions 
At the beginning of a Web project, the Site Coordinator should sit down with the 
Decision-Maker and ask: 
 Who will be using the site? 
What should the site do for the organization? 
Getting definitive answers to these questions isn t always easy. Sometimes defining the 
site s purpose requires clarifying the purpose of the organization. Sometimes redesigning 
a Web site involves redesigning corporate strategy. Even if this takes weeks or months of 
high-level wrangling, don t proceed until the site s audience and purpose are clear. 
Answering the questions above is crucial to building an effective site. 
Web teams and corporate strategy 
  Sometimes the answers won't come from corporate strategists, managers, or 
directors. They'll come from a more humble source: the members of the web team 
who are, incidentally, often fairly junior members of the organization.  
Louis Rosenfeld,  Information Architecture and Corporate Strategy: The Tail Wags The Dog  
WebReview: www.webreview.com/wr/pub/1999/06/04/arch/index.html 
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