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
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
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
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