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Visualizing project scopes for new team members

Friday, May 9th, 2014 by Servage


Data Gatherings for Website Report

When a client approaches us for a website design project, our work process begins at that moment. Our first task is to extract the concept and/or business needs from the client. We then research the target audience, determine keywords or aims of the website, draw plans, visualize usage scenario, and engage in a bit of guerilla UX research. Wireframes, prototyping, and programming will soon follow in the later stages of our website development process.

Senior staff and experienced web programmers are concerned with establishing a well-defined game plan or following standard methodology. For the less experienced team members or newly joined personnel, it can be challenging to keep pace within these established patterns. In this post, I provide some useful tips for how senior staff can help newbies visualize the big picture of the website and the company project.

Preliminary Research

As mentioned above, we engage in some preliminary research before beginning the web design process. From a technical perspective, we first gather vital data, which will influence our web development process and guide our project toward success. If we share this initial data in a comprehensive report, then our whole team, including newbies, can visualize the whole picture of the website much better. Additionally, all team members will have opportunity to contribute their creative ideas from the get go, and possibly fill in gaps that arose from this early research.

Data Resources

Data generally comes from three resources:

  • personal data or qualitative research data
  • community data or from quantitative research data
  • and network data or data from website Analytical tools.

Gathering personal data and user behavior may be a bit tricky if our users are far away. Basically, the closer our users are to us, the better our data will be in regards to their personal choices and their interactions with our site pages.

Because community data collection involves mass movements, we must rely on surveys, as well as feedback gathering techniques pertinent to the nature of our website. We are likely to spend our time and money on both free and paid surveys. This quantitative data impacts our vision along with personal preferences, offering us an opportunity for statistical analysis which provides sample data.

The third contributor of our report is website analytics. Google analytics is the leading choice for most development companies due to its free access and well established services. Here, we can collect additional behavioral data of our website users, their origin, and their patterns of interactions with our UI components. Analytics, free or paid, gives sufficient ideas of our users, by offering A/B testing, heat mapping, and most importantly, social behavior on various social media.

Types of Data

As discussed above, our qualitative data unveils the thought process of our visitors, their frustrations or their comfort level. You learn the reasons of the user’s behavior. This offers you a golden opportunity to catch mistakes and enhance the design, user flows, and content on the web pages.

The second type of data, which are quantitative in nature, saves us from reaching the wrong conclusions that we may draw from the personal data. This type of data give us a better idea about what the majority of our users want and which demographics of users prefer what. Surveys allow us to ask open ended questions that can answer or guide vital decisions for our website or web application development. This is particularly useful for determining features and functionality of our site or application.

Our final data type comes from the analytics process. This gives us great insight about the user journey and accessibility of our website, during the post production phase. This data can be incredibly useful for the newbie, to help them understand what our design mistakes actually cost us and which decisions along the way helped us in achieving success. For example, our team makes a determination on degree of simplification for the site or application and how this eventually plays out, without making compromises on quality of smooth user experiences. The newbie then learns: How can we achieve the objectives of our client’s website in cost-effective manners? Which technologies and tools truly help us?

And Finally,

The end report helps determine the actual purpose of the website or web application in the real world. We’ve established the big picture for visualizing the scope our website development process. From here, we can select the appropriate methodologies and accurate ways of implementation that will be used going forward.

References & More Reading

Creating A Website Data Report: Three Degrees Of Separation
User Testing

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