How to write a website project specification

15. 01. 2019

 Every website project should start with the specification. The goal of your website, budget and dates should be calculated according to your specification. 

With the following examples, you can decide to do a new website or maybe change it. 

1.  Introduce yourself 

Shortly explain what does your organization does. This ensures the preparation of the initial phase of the project. Information should include the following:

-   A short story about your company

-   A number of employees, turnover, etc. 

-   Main services

-  Achievements 

2.   Start with your goals 

Why do you need the website? What are your expectations? Why do you need changes? Explaining your goals will help you to answer such kind of questions. Identify at least one goal that a website can help you achieve. For example: 

-       Increase the number of requests through the website

-       Online sales growth 

-       Increase in the number of calls

You can also have secondary goals. For instance, attracting media or updated control panel at a reduced cost. 

3.  Targeted audience 

The following step is identifying your targeted audience that will help you to achieve your goals. They can be:

-   Potential customers

-   Current/returned customers

-   Media representations

-  Perspective employee

This list is too general, so you can find more specific ways to identify them. After identification, the key moment is to understand what they need from your website and what you want to show them. And, don’t forget to consider the priorities of the targeted audience. This information will help you while creating a model and navigation. Another useful thing to consider is that it is the audience’s priority.  Determine what makes it the most useful design or easy navigation on a website. Each field has its requirements in this regard. 

4.     Structure of a website

It is okay to change structure while designing but changes should not be radically different from the main structure. It is because very often such changes lead to creating big gaps between a website and a goal. 

 It's not advisable to copy the structure of your old website, changes are acceptable, even necessary. The key is that these changes should not put your business at risk.

5.  Technical specifications

In other words, what should the system do?

-  If it's a brochure site, most pages will be static in the sense that they don't react to user actions. The exception here is usually to contact pages that have interactive forms. 

-  If it's an e-commerce site, list any requirements for your home, product listing, search and product detail pages. 

-  In the case of the multifunctional website, the specification may need one month or even more. 

User stories are a way of describing the actions a visitor should be able to perform on the site. They look like this: As a customer – I want to add items to my cart, so I can buy them later. As a member of staff – I want to change the status of orders, so I can mark items as dispatched. Create user stories for each type of audience on your site, especially if you have unusual functionality. At this stage, you should also mention any technical preferences (if you have any). For example, the CMS or web framework that should be used, what payment gateways do you want to use, whether the website should integrate with any other systems (e.g. Order Management, Warehouse management, ERP). 

6.   Non-functional requirements

These requirements are the following:

-  Usability – Should it be adaptive to different gadgets? Absolutely yes. 

-  Security – Do you need to be PCI compliant? Absolutely yes. 

- Leading time – how important are loading speed to you? In e-commerce answer is easy, it is very important. 

- Legal – Are there any compliance requirements that the website must adhere to? If yes, don’t leave it behind your attention 

- Will customers accept your requirements? It is also very important. 

7.    Websites you like and dislike 

Having the list of websites, you like and don’t like will help you during the process. This can be a guarantee for your perfect design. 

8.   Who are your competitors? 

Our competitors' list has 3 functions:

- We can see what other people are doing and perhaps borrow from their most appealing website features

- We can find opportunities to improve on what the market already offers

- We can ensure your website design is distinct from the competition

9.   Budget 

Many people don’t want to tell their budget when they contact us. This is counterproductive. Without knowing the budget, we cannot come out with the best solution. If your budget is low, we will try to fit in it. We can also offer technologies according to your budget. We can also create a platform and later add more functions. Be realists and be ready to compromise in the specification. 

10.  Timescales

It’s time to set deadlines. They should be set smartly. Web projects can take 6 weeks or even 6 months. It is totally depended on the size and multifunctionality. 

For my consultation and help,  me and my company will be always with you.

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