Building a Specifications Document

Often our clients come to us knowing that they want a website created or re-designed, but did you know that is only half the process?

To make a website that fulfils its purpose to a business, any developer needs a Specifications Document. A specifications document is an overview of the website’s purpose, how it will function, key relevant information about the business and a general overview of the scope of the project. Too often, clients focus on the ‘look and feel’ of their website, forgetting the practical aspects of creating the platform. In creating a specifications document, it also provides a base for negotiations and development meetings with your web design company in Melbourne.

In the next few blogs we will cover the most essential elements to include within a Specifications Document, helping you develop a more realistic overview of your project.

Specifications Document

1) State your objectives

This section answers some of the most important aspects of a project. Including questions like; Why do you want or need a website? What are your outcomes and how will you measure the success or failure of these objectives?

Not only does this section provide the backbone of your entire project, but it will also determine how your website company approaches your website development. By developing a list of basic objectives and then determine how these will be measured for success, each goal can be accordingly tracked and managed.

A good idea for this section is also to list your objectives in order of priority, with the primary purpose stated first. This can help ensure your project is kept on task and on budget, within a scope that meets your most important goals.

While your objectives will change depending on your organisation and business goals, some generic objectives are listed below as an example. Basic objectives can include:

  • Increasing inbound enquiries or lead
  • Increasing conversion rates
  • Increasing organic traffic or creating a higher Google ranking
  • Building brand awareness through social engagement
  • Providing an official base for customers seeking information about the business.

2) Key Audiences

The second part of developing a functional, quality website is to identify the key audience of your site. A successful website is the one that understands its visitors and is tailored for their involvement, focusing on the user experience or UX as developers call it. Try focusing on demographics or specific groups of people who will be using or seeking out your business online. There is no point focusing on 80-year-old males unless you know they will be searching online.

Once you have identified your audiences, the next step is to consider what each group will be seeking from your website, and what do you want them to do on your website. Known as building ‘Use Cases’, this is often attempting to direct a visitor into completing a sale, or contacting the business for further information.

This information will not only help your designer and developer to create the website, but it also will help you consider your user’s point of view. While the owner’s tastes and desires are important, often the most important opinion is your target audience.

As an example, if you hated the colour purple, but your browsers loved it and it increased your website sales by 20%, would you set aside your preferences for better performance?

A website is a business tool, no different from your brochures or other marketing material. It is built for a specific purpose and if it does not serve its users well, it is simply a waste of money.

We have only covered a small portion of creating an inclusive specifications document. Don’t forget to come back next week when we will cover the remaining sections for creating a successful website.

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