Plan & Design Your Website - Step 1

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Plan & Design Your Website

Planning is the first and most important step for the success of your e-business. Omitting this step is like building a house without plans. The more time you spend planning, the less time it will take to setup your e-business.

Often people think that planning is impractical because of the time it takes and the skill required to do it effectively. This thinking needs to change because a good plan can be incredibly effective. When you know the basics of the planning process you can save both time and money in the long run. Besides, you don't need to be an expert to use it to your advantage.

Planning is the process of determining what you want your website to do and creating the detail before you jump in and put it all together. In this section we will be looking at all the things you need to consider when designing your e-business website.

Firstly, we will define your site's goals, get input and gather the information you will need to create your master plan. Next, we need to work out who your audience is going to be. This is a critical step because the prettiest site on the Internet will be useless if no one wants the information presented there! We will then look at organizing your website into pages of content and establish the functionality that the site will need to have. Creativity will come into play when you form the site skeleton and map out your navigation. You will finally generate layout grids, design sketches and webpage mock-ups in preparation for the "website build".

Planning is the cornerstone of a great Web site. It is the blueprint upon which form, function, metaphor, navigation, interface, interaction, and visual design are built. Planning is the first thing you need to do when designing a site.

This series of six lessons will guide you through the planning process and demonstrate how easy and powerful planning your e-business website can be. The information contained in these lessons will be useful to you regardless of the size of your website and the amount of time you have to set up your e-business website.

Upon completing each lesson, you will put together a section of your "design document". This document will serve as a road map for your website's construction and make future updates easier. It will also show clients and management that you know what you are doing.

Lesson # Description
1 Defining Your Site Goals
2 Defining the User Experience
3 Competitive Analysis
4 Website Content
5 Website Structure
6 Visual Design