Website Design Planning

The planning phase of website design is very important since it is the part when you decide exactly what you need. The things you should consider when planning a website are its purpose, your target audience, the actual content and the website’s compatibility and restrictions.

The Purpose - Defining the purpose of the website is the first thing you need to do when planning a website. The next parts of the planning phase depend on what the purpose will be. By having a very specific purpose in mind you will be able to define who your audience will be, the scope of the content, and the more technical website specifications.

Target Audience – Your target audience are the people who you expect and want to visit your site. Your target audience will be visiting your site because your site has something to offer them that they need. This is why your purpose should be clearly defined to help you identify your target audience. Once the purpose is defined you can figure out what kind of users you can expect to benefit most from the website. You can have a broad audience as long as they share specific characteristics common to them that identifies them a group of people who will benefit from your web page. Some characteristics you might want to consider are: demographics (age, ethnicity, religion, etc.), information needed, work and web experience, and their computer’s specifications.

Content – The website’s content takes intensive planning since you will need to evaluate the needed content, the scope, and how you will organise and present the content. Again you will need a clearly defined purpose to be able to determine the scope of your content. When organising the content you will need to make an outline defining each topic and sub-topic and determine the hierarchy of content.

Website Specifications – Your website’s specifications will again be determined by the website’s purpose. Will you be using HTML only or will you be using CSS? What web browsers will you make sure your website is compatible to? And what formats will you use for the images embedded within the site? It is during the planning of specifications that you determine compatibility issues.

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