Project Definition

This is the first of five phases for the Interface Design Project: (0) Definition, (1) Planning, (2) Design, (3) Production and (4) Deployment. In the Definition phase, your team will gather information from your client to create a mission statement, site goals, site design concept, competitive analysis, and target audience information. Work with your team to organize the information from the client and begin the site navigation design.

A.           Organize your Team

Get to know your team members by compiling a contact sheet with information from each member including an email address and a brief bio. Decide on a name for your group.

In order to facilitate the coordination of the team effort, each member of the team will act as a team-lead during a different phase of the project. As a group, decide who will act as team-lead during each phase. Choose a different team lead for each phase. For groups of five or more, your team may assign a co-lead role to two of the members.

Discuss and decide on a process that your team will use to divide up the team tasks and report out to the team on your individual progress. You will have a regular team meeting time in class throughout the remainder of the quarter.

B.          Perform a Comparative Analysis

Each member of the team should use the design heuristic we developed in class to evaluate at least three sites similar to your project site(comparable in audience and goal). Make special note of elements that worked particularly well, or ones that did not work well. Discuss your findings and choose the best three sites as a team before meeting with your client. Be prepared to present these best sites to the client.

C.          Meet with your Client

Schedule a meeting with your team’s client for next week to discuss the web site design project. At least two members of your team need to attend the meeting. One team member should facilitate the meeting and one member should take notes at the meeting. Email a synopsis of the notes to the entire team.

Before meeting with the client, develop a set of initial questions and follow-up questions to ask the client. Use the planning resources and the Strategic Brief example at the end of this document as a starting point for generating your client questions.

Gather enough information from the client at the meeting and using follow-up email messages to define the project in a Strategic Brief. Confirm via email with your client that the Strategic Brief describes the site adequately.

Use the information that you have collected and research on comparable sites to create a web site specification document (sometimes called a Site Spec.)The Site Spec consists of a Strategic Brief, and a set of User Profiles.

D.          Define your Project in a Strategic Brief

Create a Site Mission Statement

The mission statement describes the focus of your Web site project in the broadest terms. It answers the questions:

·        What is the site going to do?

·        Who is the site going to reach?

·        How is the site going to do it?

Determine Site Objectives:

Create a master list of objectives, ranked by priority for your Strategic Brief. Objectives are results; they are specific, attainable and measurable. Some questions to ask the client to help determine the web site objectives are:         

·        What is the purpose of the business or organization?

·        What are the short and long-term goals?

·        Who is the audience? Describe the different types.

·        Why will people come to this site?

·        When users exit the site, what do you want them to think, feel, do & remember?

·        What are questions you’re asked over and over about this information?

Determine Site Concept and Art Direction

A statement of the tone, look, feel, or character of the site can summarize the site's concept and art direction. Describe the site concept by answering the following questions:

·        What is the tone and manner; what are the overall personality traits the project must communicate? Site Personality

·        What is the most compelling thing we want the target audience to think after they experience the site? Key Target Audience Insight

·        What are the most compelling things that we’d like viewers to do after experiencing the site? How do we encourage viewers to do these things? Call to Action

E.           Final Submissions for Web Site Definition (due week 4)

1)      The team contact summary sheet that includes your team name, contact information and bios for each team member, as well as the Team Process Outline.

2)      The typed comparative analysis evaluations from the teams’ three best sites.

3)      The typed synopsis of notes from the initial client meeting including the questions you asked, the client’s response and follow-up email confirmation with client.

4)      A Strategic Brief which includes

a.       A site mission statement

b.      A set of site objectives

c.       A list of the different type of site users

d.      A Site Concept that answers the three concept questions.

e.       A timeline detailing the deadlines for the four phases of the project and the project lead for each phase.

F.           Example Strategic Brief: Giving Tree Project

Site Mission Statement                                                                           

The Giving Tree web site will provide a professional, high quality portal to the activities and opportunities available at the Giving Tree Woodshop. The web site will help volunteers, customers and donors orient themselves to the organization’s mission and see opportunities to participate by volunteering time and expertise, purchasing toys and donating resources and materials. The site will also acknowledge the contributions of donors and volunteers.

Site Objectives                                                                                        

1.      Increase the number of volunteers and donations (time, talent, materials, money)

2.      Raise public awareness of the Giving Tree’s mission, quality work and contributions to the larger community.

3.      Acknowledge the contributions of volunteers and donors

4.      Improve the revenue from toy sales

5.      Highlight special events / fairs / Pike Place Market storefront

6.      Provide a relatively maintenance free web site that still has some dynamic elements

Target Audience                                                                                     

toy purchasers (parents, children, collectors), volunteers, contributors, organizations receiving GT donations

Site Concept Questions                                                                         


QUALITY – handcrafted, attention to detail, care

COMMUNITY – personal, small-scale, not-for-profit yet professional

GOODWILL – charitable, donations will make a difference, do good-feel good

Key Target Audience Insight

The Giving Tree is a professionally run, worthwhile organization that makes valuable contributions to the community while offering a quality, handcrafted product.

Call to Action

1.      Volunteer time – provide a schedule, contact information, a simple way to sign-up

2.      Donate $ and/or materials – provide information about how donations are used, a simple way to make a donation and acknowledgement of donors

3.      Order a toy – provide an on-line, data-driven catalogue that shows current inventory, a printable order form, an email contact

4.      Investigate mission – provide information on the mission, links to supporting sites