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Icon or Spacer Macromedia Website Production Management Techniques Phase 2: Define
Determine Overall Goals and Objectives
The foundation of a successful project lies in having a clear understanding of the overall goals and objectives of the Web site. Goals and objectives are "what do we need to do?" Strategy and execution are "how are we going to do it?" At the beginning of a project, chances are you have had very little time to really dive into the details. You might have a general understanding of the project based on initial conversations and e-mail exchanges. But what are the true objectives of the site and how will you determine if your site has met the stated goals upon launch? Begin by asking questions. This is also part of an overall strategy focus—how will we meet the user's needs? How can we make our site quicker and easier to use?
 
Distributing Client Surveys
The client survey is one of the most valuable tools you will ever use to help define your project. It can help to determine the scope of a project and how much time, money and expertise are necessary to meet the client expectations and needs. The survey should contain detailed questions designed to help determine the client's expectations and to gain insight into the audience, perception and goals of the site. The survey is usually distributed via e-mail to all key decision makers within the company, since feedback from more than one member of the client team is often beneficial and gives a broader look at how the project is perceived from the client side. A companion to the client survey is the technical survey which should be distributed to the client-side technical team to gain a better understanding of the scope and nature of the project from a technical point of view.
 
Determining Primary Objectives
The client may have several objectives for the site. "Increase traffic" is one goal, "decrease calls to customer service" may be another, "sell more products" is a third. There might be several goals and many separate audiences to cater to, but as we learned in advertising 101—there must be a clear targeted message to a clear targeted audience. The survey might have uncovered several previously undefined objectives from the client—especially if several individuals within the company replied. Determine the primary objective—the most important reason for launching this site. Make sure the client agrees. Then create the rest of your list, prioritizing your objectives into second and third levels of importance.
 

Establishing Measurable Goals
Once your Web site is launched, how will you measure your success? If the site is a redesign, is there an increase in traffic and sales? Will you be cutting down calls to customer service? After launch, will you base your success on user log data—and if so, is it comprehensive? Will you be conducting usability tests during and after launch to ensure the site's navigation and content flow? Determining methods of evaluating your site's success up front is a step that often gets overlooked until after the site is launched.

It is helpful to take your overall goals and objectives list, break it down into primary, secondary and tertiary priorities, and then decide how you will determine whether these goals have been met. There are quantitative and qualitative means to determining a site's success—if the site is a redesign, you will have comparisons. If the site is a new launch, you will have various methods including tracking of sales, tracking of complaints and tracking traffic itself. Bring this point up to the client early on, and build some suggested milestones and objectives into your project plan. Do what is reasonable, but try to do it up front.

 
 Discover
Overview
Analyzing Your Industry
Understanding Your Audience
 Define
Overview
Goals and Objectives
Creating a Project Plan
Establishing Requirements
Housekeeping
 Structure
Overview
Content
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Screen View
User View
Design and Prototype
 Build and Test
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Testing
Launch
Evaluate and Maintain
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