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Steps to Consider
In the first parts of this series we introduced some technological aspects of website design. Now we try to show some project management steps we should consider. The WSDM (Website Design Method) defined the mission of the site. The mission is the basis for deciding the class of websites we deal with in an actual project. Consider the following as a list of class topics, possibly incomplete:
Small static web presentation
This old school version is good for very small sites, graphically difficult sites with low level information content, mostly handmade graphics, and semi-automatic code generation using Dreamweaver or something similar.
This type is good for CMS because of its efficient features to maintain text and graphics, with some restrictions in design.
They are good for large databases, mostly used for information systems like product catalogs or other searchable databases, low level graphics, high level information support.
Here, art and graphics design are of highest priority and any information provided is an integral part of the art work that has to be displayed. Such sites are not generated automatically, but normally many tools are used for handmade wonders of creativity.
This kind of website is the most functional type. Processes are implemented and data are processed, stored, and presented on a high level. Graphics are important but not a first priority. Presentations are normally done in a separate page that is displayed before entering the web-based application itself.
The creation of a web community is technically not adventurous, but from the social point of view we need to pay close attention to details – miss one and forget the community.
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Communication Is Key
These classes of websites are most common and about 90% of all websites may be covered by these classes. To establish an efficient project management system, we always need to remember that communication is most important for success. Teams for website design projects are normally very heterogeneous. You need to synchronize the creative processes in graphics design with the more concentrated text design. Both have to fit the marketing and psychological needs, have to be pictured by the data and process management structures, and programmers as well as network operators have to enable the technical equipment to support the creative ideas from the artists.
In other software projects this problem is apparently obvious, but there are other quotas. In a normal application development, we need about 5 percent to 8 percent for creation and implementation of the concept of usage. When there is a high level of graphics and detailed visual effects like in Mac front-ends, we deal with about 12 percent of the whole implementation process, to be used by graphics artists.
In website projects the ratio is different. There we deal with about one-third of the implementation amount for graphics only. That’s why we need to do different planning, different communication, and different kinds of project structures than in pure software application development. Please keep this in mind when we discuss the different classes of website projects in a little more detail.
To manage such projects, be careful to select the right project management method (PRINCE 2 is very good, PMBOK as well; others are available up to special management methods designed only for web site projects). As important as the right choice of a method may be, we need to use a tool that will be accepted by programmers, designers, project managers, and system operators as well as by the customer. Thus, for website projects we always should think about using a web-based tool with good visuals and a high level of usability and great user support.
The next article takes a look at small static website projects.
Website Design: The Project Management View
This short series gives some ideas, not perfect solutions, about website design, website projects and some depending processes. The reader gets a distant point of view to reorganize his web projects using some possibly helpfull ideas.