(warning: this is an older series of articles from a previous blog in my younger days. I was a little more abrasive then, but still… it got the point across)
Let’s face it. Your website is terrible.
You’ve been losing visitors and don’t know why.
We’ll explore the things you missed so your site will suck a little less ass.
CMS systems, have made people lazy. Virtually everyone “knows a guy” who makes websites. But are they good? Basic design principals have been thrown out because a program does it for you. Piss poorly at that.
People. Having a website is not enough.
Architects don’t build skyscrapers without a blueprint so why should building websites be any different?
Information Architecture when applied to web design is that blueprint. It’s the process of organizing information and developing hierarchies based on the needs of both the users and publishers.
In Architecture, the designer asks questions about the function of the building, it’s occupants, and the image that it should stand for. Once this information is gathered the Architect will produce sketches and designs.
Ask yourself these questions before you even think about writing code:
- What is the mission or purpose of my organization?
- What are the short and long term goals of the website?
- Where is your target market going right now to solve similar problems?
- Who is your target market? (make lists)
- Why should people come to your site?
After you’ve answered these questions ( I recommend working with a group) separate your target market lists and save those for another day. Group the goals into categories. Then rank the importance of these categories.
When you are done with all of this, create a design document that clearly notes everything you have discovered, contains lists, and hierarchies of both user goals and site goals.