From Concept to Completion: Week 2
October 27, 2009 in From Concept To Completion
If you recall, we met with Dunnellon Historical Society two weeks ago to learn more about their organization and what they hoped to achieve with their Web site (read that post here). Today, we’re going to discuss what happens in our office after the initial client meeting. Since a lot of ideas usually get laid on the table during client meetings, a big part of our job afterward is taking those ideas to the cutting board and deciding what makes sense and what can be done within the scope of the project. From there, we compile a set of documents that are sent off to the client detailing our recommendations. For most of our projects, four different documents make up our initial planning phase—Project Specifications, Content Inventory, Design Notes, and Wireframes.
Project Specifications is a high-level document that provides a quick overview of the project, addressing everything from hosting considerations, domain registration, and choice of content management system (CMS). If any special functionality will be present on the site, it is also mentioned in the Project Specifications document.
Too many Web designers make the mistake of designing their sites around dummy content, only to find that the final copy doesn’t fit the design at all. At Flourish Web Design, we take a proactive approach toward getting content from our clients as early in the design process as possible. In the case of the Dunnellon Historical Society, much of their content will be pulled from existing brochures and press releases. While exact verbiage may change slightly during the project life cycle, what we seek to accomplish with the Content Inventory is providing a reasonably accurate picture of what the content will look like early in the design process.
The Design Notes provide a textual description of the layout, typographical and color choices that our design concepts will pursue. This ensures that our designers and clients are on the same page before any “digital ink” is laid down, saving money and time in the design process.
Many clients have a hard time picturing the layout of their site from a text description, so we also include wireframes in our initial planning phase. Wireframes are simply rough visual mock-ups of the Web pages that we are going to design. They are black and white only, and their main goal is to give clients an accurate representation of the hierarchy and proportion of elements on the page.