WEB105 » Defining the Project 3
Defining the project is a step that most young web designers don’t realize they need to do. If you do not clearly define your project, you are doomed to fail.
A) Discovery (cont’d)
Discovery is still the sub-phase where you begin to understanding the client, the project and needs of the users.
The Client (User) Specifications
It is your responsibility to clarify what your user audience can and cannot handle.
If your target audience is everybody-with-a-computer-and-then-some, users with older technologies must be accommodated. High-Bandwidth requirements would frustrate and alienate someone on a slow modem and would cause the user to abort the page-load:
The Client (User) Specifications will help clarify issues such as:
- What percentage of your audience is still connected via modem?
- What percentage of your audience has 17” or bigger monitors?
- What percentage of your audience has the latest flash plug-in?
- What browser are they using?
- What platform are they using?
It is the project manager’s job to determine what the audience can accept technically and then scope the project accordingly.
The User Profile
We need to understand that we are not designing this website for ourselves – we are designing for other people. By creating a User Profile of a typical user that may come to our site we will begin to understand what our potential users want and need out of our website:
Paige McCormick is an elementary art teacher, artist, and girls’ Little League Track coach in Portland, Oregon. She is 35 years old and lives in Northwest Portland near Forest Park with her dog Ruth Ann (Ruthie), who is a year-and-a-half old.
Paige owns her house and spends a great deal of time fixing it and gardening. She has a very busy and active lifestyle. When not working. Paige spends her time outdoors running, mountain-biking and playing with Ruthie.
Paige is an enthusiastic dog-owner and goes out of her way to provide for her dog. She has given up on stuffed animal toys — they’re so cute, but Ruthie guts them immediately and eats the fiberfill. Paige casually studies dog behavior and training techniques. She enjoys living near Forest Park as it provides an excellent place for Ruthie to romp and chase squirrels.
Paige has a 56k modem but is thinking about upgrading to DSL service soon. She uses a Mac G3 and considers herself very computer-savvy. She does a significant amount of her shopping online which she finds saves her a great deal of time, although sometimes the shipping is a deterrent. She appreciates the automatic monthly deliveries of dog food.
She loves smaller pet shops that specialize in items that appeal to her aesthetics and dislikes large warehouse style pet stores such as PetClub although she admits they provide necessities at a reasonable price.
The User Profile covers:
- Demographics: gender, age, education level, marital status, income, etc.
- Tasks: describe a typical task the user might perform on the new site? (For example, register, log on, search for information, buy a specific product, send their email address, or call for more information.)
- Persona Template | Wireframes Magazine
- Develop Personas | Usability.gov
- Personas: The Foundation of a Great User Experience | UX Magazine
- Anatomy of a Search Persona | Apogee Results
- The Anatomy of a Good Persona | Parker LaPla
- Personality in Design | A List Apart
- Using Personas To Help Create Better Web Sites | 8 Gram Gorilla