Categories
web development

Best practices for the creation of corporate websites – the pre-project interview

The early stages of a web project are very important. Whether we are dealing with the creation of a new company website, the restyling of an existing website, the development of a new mobile application, or simply the modification of something already existing, it is in the first moments that are defined together with the customer technical-functional requirements of the new project, identified the referents, formalized the functionalities, the management methods, defined the platforms and integrations.

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It is clear how a correct acquisition of all this information is a crucial step for the correct success of a complex project. The creation of a company website often involves a series of very different company figures across the board. The company’s top management is involved in the definition of the strategy, the marketing offices in the definition of the tactical aspects relating to communication, the technical offices (CED / IT) for the requirements of the technical infrastructure or the integration with other platforms, the commercial areas for information on products and services and many other figures.

In order to facilitate the acquisition of all the strategic information necessary for an optimal development of the design part, we have prepared a questionnaire, a sort of preliminary interview to the project, which we regularly use for all new projects that we are going to deal with as web and digital agency.

For the success of a web project, the correct acquisition of preliminary information is essential.

This questionnaire is administered to new customers (and every time you intend to make a change on the communication methods) to facilitate the description of the company and the objectives that are expected from the communication point of view of the material that will be produced.

The exhaustiveness of the answers and providing as many ideas as possible (even outside of the questions we have entered) is fundamental at this moment, because it allows us, as a web agency specialized in company websites, to be in tune with the Customer and its Goals. In fact, it becomes a useful track to follow, in the phase of the creative process, which is integrated with the needs that emerged from the meetings and from what was viewed directly in the company.

The questionnaire is divided into two parts:

1. The first part concerns a general description of the company, its values, its mission and the way it has communicated so far and how it intends to communicate in the future.

2. The second part is more technical and concerns, in particular, the aspects that concern the creation of the website. Finally, if present, examples of past communication (own or of competitors) from which to take a cue or distance themselves substantially are very useful.

Below we list the main points covered in the questionnaire, however we invite you to download the complete pre-project questionnaire for a detailed analysis of the document.

• Corporate communication

General information on the company’s core business, products and services, strengths and strategic aspects to convey in communication

• Analysis of the current situation

Acquisition of information on the current situation, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses

• Analysis of the requirements for the new website

Acquisition of all the relevant information for the design of the new website, from the definition of users to technical and functional requirements

• Competition analysis

Collection of data on the reference competition, regarding strengths and weaknesses and reference material (websites, brochures, communication examples)

• Use cases / users and functionality.

Discussion of use cases regarding the possibility of interaction of the different users with the new web tools

• Integration of multimedia material

Collection of information on multimedia materials (audio, video, photos, documents, etc.) to be integrated on new websites

• Integration of external databases / corporate ERPs

If you want to integrate external databases (for example with company ERP) analysis of information requirements, data structure, technological aspects

• Security and privacy requirements

Compliance with the laws on privacy and the management of cookies, acquisition of company contacts and procedures related to privacy and security

• Production and content management

Who will manage the content and any translations, both regarding the first body of content and subsequent updates

• SEO strategies and online visibility on search engines

Analysis of the requirements / objectives in terms of online visibility and availability on search engines. Possibility of access to services dedicated to SEO / online positioning and online campaigns with PPC / AdWords

• Social channels

Analysis of the integration of social channels in corporate communication and possible integration on new digital tools and websites

• Hosting and technical infrastructure

Acquisition of all necessary information regarding the technical infrastructure that will have to support the online publication of new digital tools and websites

From the above, you see that the information that makes up a structured web project, whether it is the creation of a corporate website or the restyling of an existing corporate website, is many and varied.

Do you have questions and suggestions to improve this document? Leave us an enquiry now!

Categories
web development

4 ticklish questions when designing a website

Web design is a constantly evolving field in which professionals are constantly looking for new solutions to improve the user experience and increase the competitiveness of their customers. The creation of a unique website is usually done by a whole team, and it often happens that ideas and views collide. Here I will look at four of the issues that are most often creatively debated.

How detailed is the study of consumer behavior

When creating a website, the team aims to create significant and pleasant moments that involve users in the world of the brand, as well as the highest level of accessibility and usability. The question is how to create these moments and a truly unique experience in general. Here it helps to study user expectations and behavior, usually by directly observing how people use the prototype site created in a real or near real environment. This is the key to evaluating the concept and its components. The next logical question is what part of the team’s efforts should be concentrated at this stage of the website development process.

There are experts in web design who say this is not necessary at all. They claim that the developer team can be an accurate measure of what users want and expect. Steve Jobs’ remark that customers don’t know what they want is well known, as is his work, based on his own intuition, in which he and his team have expressed what they think is good product design. Given the revolutionary technology solutions created by Apple’s team, can we say that it’s helpful for website developers not to look at the target audience at all? The answer is no. However, not everyone is a genius in their field.

It turns out that the time and effort invested in studying consumers has increased over the last few years and this is considered an effective direction of development. However, it is observed shifting the focus of the study from the final product to the conceptual design. As already mentioned, testing the prototype of a website with real users is already a widely used practice. Through it, the developer receives valuable information about the attitudes of users even before the actual programming begins, thus making changes faster and cheaper. Also, the flexibility is much higher, which allows to achieve full perfection within the time and budget of the project to create a website.

How minimalist web design should be

The maxim that less is more devoted has become a postulate in the field of web design. Minimalism brings many benefits, including faster page loading, clearer navigation and easier familiarization with the main products, services and features of the brand. How is this achieved? The goal of minimalism is to improve the user experience by eliminating unnecessary details from both the design and the content. The layout of the web pages is such that the user naturally focuses on the message sent by the brand without being distracted.

The main tool in this type of approach is the use of empty spaces which eliminate clutter and make each element stand out. The question is how to use it sparingly so that the website does not become too scarce, as well as “lean” and boring. Balance can be found by looking at the components of good communication with visitors. What does the user want to learn from the website and in what sequence? What information has the greatest value for him? How aggressive should page marketing be? The answers to these questions will lead to the optimal use of empty spaces in the design of the site.

What kind of menu to make

The so-called hamburger menu is becoming increasingly used in adaptive web design (responsive design), due to the small available space on the screens of smartphones and tablets. It is represented by the characteristic icon with three horizontal lines, pressing which opens the vertical menu. It is interesting to note that it is not new – it dates back to the early 80’s. Its qualities are indisputable – clean, elegant, easy to use and well organized. The problem is that when it appears, the burger menu blocks all or part of the screen content.

There are several possible solutions of this case. Perhaps the most commonly used is to keep the traditional menu for desktops and laptops, and to keep the “hamburger” for smartphones and tablets, simplifying its contents as much as possible and making it thinner and more elegant. There are also alternatives to this type of menu, such as the so-called navigation at the bottom of the screen. In it, the menu automatically appears at the bottom when the user starts scrolling up, which is considered an indicator that he has viewed the necessary content on the relevant page of the mobile website.

Pop-ups and their role in the website

Pop-ups are often described as annoying, but still remain widely used for marketing purposes. How to find a balance between the user experience and marketing generally speaking? To begin with, you need to consider exactly what role pop-ups will play. It is best for them to present an offer with specific benefits for the user related to the content of the respective web page.

Second, you need to determine the location of the pop-up window within the screen. The two main options are in the middle and in the lower right corner. In the first, the window is immediately noticeable, but actually blocks the content. The second option is much more elegant, and the chance for the user to pay attention to the proposal is not small, given that this part of the screen traditionally displays notifications from various applications, as well as system ones.

The third important step is to decide when the window will pop up. The most effective in this regard are the windows, the display of which is regulated by the user’s behavior. When he intends to close the page, for example, then in the middle of it can pop up a large window with a tempting offer, which will make him stay.

How to make the right decisions

When designing a website, testing is of paramount importance. Ideas collide at the concept level and are evaluated using prototypes. Thus, in the actual development phase, when the design is done and the code is written, the team works with a clear and detailed concept that is the best possible. This is the way to create working online business solutions.

Do you want a new website that works reliably and tirelessly for your business success? Contact our team with an inquiry now.

Categories
Offshore Development Team

How and why to choose the right web agency?

Choosing a web agency may seem like a simple action that requires a few clicks on Google. In fact, using search terms such as “web agency”, “website development” or others, the results are not lacking. But what is the real quality of these results? How to choose a web agency that really knows how to grow your business and give value to your online investment?

Attention because I am not talking about those “all inclusive” services at 99 dollars or so, which literally pollute the market and which I consider suitable (perhaps) for the small shop under the house (if they really need a website). I speak of the choice of a “serious” web agency for the selection of which we often rely only on the price, as if this were a sufficient yardstick to establish seriousness and skills.

Actually I would say that the choice of an agency is a very delicate thing, which deserves a lot of attention as it is a strategic decision for your company.

Not being online today is a limit that only a few can afford. If you are looking for a web agency that can guide you in the most correct strategic choices and carry out your online projects in the best way, it is good that you keep in mind some factors and maybe base your choice on them.

1. The website

The first factor is certainly the agency’s website! I already wrote it in a previous articles, the saying “the shoemaker goes with broken shoes” does not suit web agencies and communication agencies. If an agency communicates badly through its site, how do you think it will behave towards your work? Exactly… better let it go and look elsewhere.

2. Portfolio / Case History

The second relevance factor is the references. Who is not proud of their jobs, customers or success stories? Well, if among the works carried out, the clients mentioned or the case studies, there is nothing relevant or that captures your taste or your attention, perhaps it is not the agency for you.

3. How do you approach your project?

Assuming you have selected the agency to contact, the question is: how does it relate to you and your project? Do you carefully evaluate your requests? Is it proactive in the preliminary analysis phase? Are you trying to speak your language or are you just filling your mouth with barker terms? Does the interlocutor you relate to give the impression of knowing what he is talking about or is he more of a seller looking for customers and commissions?

4. The technological factor

As far as you can understand, does the agency plan to adopt modern and innovative technologies? What CMS do you intend to use? What vision do you have of mobile consultation and therefore of the responsive factor? How do you deal with design? What guarantees of assistance, support and platform upgrades does the agency offer you?

5. Goals people, goals…

As simple as true: “if you don’t set a goal you don’t know where you’re going!” and therefore it is essential to immediately ask the right questions and establish what the objectives you want to achieve are. If it is not the agency itself that deals with this issue first, perhaps it is better to look elsewhere.

6. Cost and value of the project

Undoubtedly, in the end it all comes down to reading that last fateful page of the document of specifications and conditions of supply called estimate. Cost is undoubtedly an important factor in every project (not just the web), and costs will inevitably vary from agency to agency based on the various factors listed above.

In this regard, in my opinion there are no absolute rules to be respected, even if the good old saying of the grandmother “so pay, so eat” is always very current. But here it is not just a matter of spending because, if you invest 500, 5,000 or 50,000 dollars, if the investment does not generate any return or value, it will still be “money thrown away”.

If possible, ask for objective data on the return on investments in e-Commerce (obviously related to your sector). Compare yourself about the tangible results that a blog can bring to your brand reputation. Evaluate the conversions that the new website will generate and so on… Data is important. Shopping is important, but achieving certain results is priceless!

For everything else there is (hopefully) the web agency that you will choose.