Development of Websites


Functional Specification

When specifying the functionality of a website, there are several issues to consider.

1) Who will be using the website ? Will potential customers come to the site to learn more about the company and it's products ? Will training be provided ? Will purchases be made ? Will data be collected ? Will questions be asked and surveys conducted ? Will a calendar of events be provided ? Will reservations be taken ?

2) How often will the website be updated and by whom ?

3) Will the website reflect the company image ? Will it have lots of cool spinning logos and animation ? Will it have lots of text ? Lots of images ?

4) Will the website force the customer into predetermined sequences ? Will the website be free-flowing ? What kind of navigation will be provided ? What kind of searching ? Will passwords be required ?

Generally consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds. For a website, consistency may be the difference between user acceptance and rejection. Does the website work like other websites ? Does one part of it look and operate like the other parts ?

Download speed is important too. Often users won't wait around for slow downloads. Two versions of the site could be for slow access (analog modems) and one for fast access (xDSL)


Design Specification

Now we look at how we are going to actually implement the website. Will an ISP be used ? Will the company have it's own server ? Will linkages to databases be required ? Will special hardware be required ? (Cameras, audio, remote control, etc.)


Testing and Customer Feedback

If this step is neglected, much of the previous effort is wasted. Testing should include a workout of the system by testers that are not familiar with the site.