This is an overview of how I approach the analysis of large web development projects. Just like everything else in the world of tech, new web site analysis methodologies continue to change by adding, removing or revising steps, renaming themselves, and finding new buzzwords to make them shiny.
"Now with Heatmaps and Clickmaps!"
Don’t get me wrong, somethings evolve and change for the better. Ultimately what you want is to get from point A to point B effectively and efficiently and with the least amount of effort (re: cost).
Presented below is a high level outline of how I approach the analysis of large web development projects. This methodology is practical and pragmatic. Some clients may find it intimidating, however, the important thing to keep in mind is that this, or for that matter, any, business analysis methodology is not meant to be a straightjacket.
Ultimately a methodology is simply a set of tools. You choose the right tools for the job and you don’t necessarily use a tool simply because it’s in the toolbox.
In essence, web site business analysis methodology involves studying the website, understanding user needs, optimizing content and functionality, and making data-driven decisions to enhance the site’s overall performance and achieve business success.
With that in mind here is an overview of tools (or phases) in my methodology toolbox. If you’d like more detail about this methodology (and there is a lot more) don’t hesitate to get in touch.
(1) Environment Definition
Environment Definition is all about defining scope. In the steps shown below, step A defines the goals of the new site – what we are aiming at. Step B defines the environment in which the site exists – what is internal to the site and what is external. Step C outlines the available technology (ex: site hosting). Step D reviews the current site – what is and is not working.
(2) Information Architecture
Creating an effectively organized site requires an understanding of who is visiting the site (A), what information the audience(s) seeks (B), and the messages the organization wants to communicate to the audiences (C). When redesigning an existing site it is also necessary to review current site content for continued relevance and usefulness (D) and it is helpful in any situation to review other sites for best practices and architecture ideas (E).
(3) Site Design
At this point we know what we need to say and to whom we need to say it. The design phase will answer the question: How do we present it? The analysis from phases I and II will guide the development of the new site design by dictating the structure of the site’s navigation, providing input into what does and doesn’t work from the current site and listing best practices and ideas from external sites.
(4) Technology & Preparation
The technology and preparation phase is about setting the groundwork for developing the new site and ultimately for transitioning from the current site to the new one. It includes setting up the host infrastructure, creating basic server security, identifying special content and systems, identifying technical support staff and preparing the content.
(5) Site Development
Phase 5, Site Development, takes the understanding we’ve built of our content architecture, final design and our knowledge of the site’s technical environment and builds the new site.
(6) Go Live
Putting all our hard work out there for the world to see and use!
Resume & Skills
Ideally this site highlights my skills and experience and demonstrates my mastery of the design and development of web sites and apps. However, you'll also find links to a traditional resume and list of skills below.