I need some advice on a meeting with a web development team that will help with our website and I don't quite know how to best optimise that time ie. what are the right questions to ask.
_Background. I'm the designer for a non-for-profit that connects young Australians with opportunities in the Asian region called Asia Options. I love these guys because I think they're doing a lot of good but unfortunately I don't have the expertise to help them from a web perspective. Through some connections we've set up a meeting with an organisation - much bigger than us - with similar values. They empower young Australians to make a meaningful difference through social change.
Are these questions too broad?
- User experience best practice?
- How to build a digital strategy?
- How to make your website user friendly?
- The organisation have just reinvented their website based on a lot of research into what Young Australians are looking for. What have been key research findings?
I would say firstly, you need to sit down with a pen and paper before you go to said meeting, and write down all of the goals this project has.. Where do you want it to go? What sort of look and feel is it supposed to have, and what functionality from a development perspective needs to carry through from the design?
You are the designer, so you are the person that ends up designing every little element on the project - every little thing you do on the design has to translate firstly to the client, and then has to go through the developers.. Most designers don't have a good understanding of how the environment changes from the design stage to the dev stage.. There is alot that needs to be done usually by the developer and so sitting down with them before you've designed anything is crucial usually.
I would talk about these points:
- I am the designer and I want to design X Y and Z for this project, are these things possible from a dev point of view?
- What the client is expecting from the website, what sort of functionality and user experience will they have?
- will the site be responsive? (mobiles, devices etc..)
- does the client update the content themselves?
- what framework, or programming language are the developers using? (ie. - if the developer uses drupal, with bootstrap, are there any UI kits out there or reference sites for you to design by?)
- in relation to your point about young australians and research.. you should figure out, what the demographic is for this project.. and then find out how they interact with websites.. are they between 16 and 25 (mostly on their phones and tablets, and don't spend much time at home on a desktop?) are they working people who work in an office who get an hour each day or so to look at other websites at work?
These are the sorts of things I'd be thinking before starting a project.. Working as a freelancer and working in house for an agency, studio, company whatever is very different. The environment has many more variables, and much more responsibility than your average freelance project.
Hope this helps - If you need some more advice, let me know
I wouldn't be asking a Web Dev anything about building a digital strategy. That's a marketing specific question. They should know about SEO and how best to incorporate that into your site, can help with a digital strategy.
::How to make your website user friendly?::
This is a UX/designer question as well as a developer question, but not from the same angle. User friendly can mean; easy to navigate, visually appealing, offers the right information.
It can also mean; mobile friendly (responsive or adaptive), loads easily and quickly, SEO relevant.
I would be asking questions about what the best platforms for delivering your content would be. IE what's the best for easily maintaining and editing in-house, is it compatible with our existing content (databases).
As @codeandcolour says you need to address your goals first and then work with them on the strategy of achieving those goals.
Hey thanks for the help guys you gave me a really solid foundation on how I would approach the team. I think I was over complicating the issue when I just had to approach the team as I would hope to be approached as a designer. I compiled a brief with an overview of our organisation, Google Analytics statistics, our objectives and a list of goals to meet those objectives, current problems we see and current positives we see and moved from there. For anyone interested how to brief a web developer I found a really good document by finance.gov that show best practice when meeting with a web development team. http://www.finance.gov.au/policy-guides-procurement/better-practice-checklists-guidance/bpc-briefing-selecting-developer/