Web Design on a Shoestring - WebReference- | WebReference

Web Design on a Shoestring - WebReference-

Web Design on a Shoestring

Web Design on a Shoestring reveals all sorts of free or inexpensive resources that are available but unknown. Author Carrie Bickner shows you how to test your web sites efficiencies and functionalities, to understand content management systems, and what commercial products to use or avoid.

An excerpt from the book: Web Design on a Shoestring by New Riders.

© New Riders. All Rights Reserved.

Chapter 2: The Pound Wise Project Plan

Chapter Checklist

    1. Dare to do less.

    It will be tempting to load up your project with every wonderful idea that occurs to you and your colleagues. Remember that your budget is small; you are better off if you scale back and do a few things well. Save the expensive ideas for a later phase of production.

    2. Write a short project goals document.

    If your project plan is vague, your small budget will be eaten up by indecision, rethinking, and patch-up work. Make sure that you start the job with a clear project goals document.

    3. Create a functional requirements document.

    It pays to be explicit about each of the functional requirements for the site. If you do not have a list of functional requirements in place, you will pay through the nose, wasting time and money on production work that you don't need.

    4. Craft a technical requirements document.

    Take the time to list technical requirements such as target browsers and system specifications, and use this list to test the site as you build it. If you wait until it's finished to test it against your technical benchmarks, your changes and bug fixes will cost far more than they have to. Never put yourself in a position where you have to pay for expensive post-production fixes to easily avoidable problems.

    5. Keep documentation nearby.

    It is important not only to write project goals and functional and technical requirements, but also to read them—and make sure your colleagues read them, too. I like to keep this documentation short and pin it to the bulletin board, where it serves as a constant reminder of what I'm trying to achieve.

Oh, I realize it's a penny here and a penny there, but look at me: I've worked myself up from nothing to a state of extreme poverty.
—Groucho Marx in Monkey Business (1931)

The promise of this book is to show you how to build a wonderful site on a shoestring budget. Although these pages share important techniques for working through each phase and aspect of a shoestring site, the overall success of your project depends on the planning work that you do at the outset. After all, the success of any project is the result of good organization and a straightforward concept. This is especially true for shoestring sites. When you have little money, you can't afford to take on the bloat that accompanies ill-defined goals and poorly organized work plans.

This bloat often goes unnoticed in big-budget sites. Larger budgets afford web professionals more opportunity for indecision and lack of direction. An unclear path leads to a major eleventh-hour revision; labor is wasted on last-minute fixes for problems that could have been avoided through better planning.

One of the pleasures of working on a dime a day is that you are required to run lean. Shoestring web professionals, forced to take a focused, stripped-down approach to a project, are a bit like adventure travelers who can't afford to pack their rucksacks with frivolities. The planning phase of web site production is like packing for a trip. When you plan for a small-budget site, you need to be selective about what goals and requirements you bring along.

Created: March 27, 2003
Revised: October 17, 2003

URL: http://webreference.com/promotion/design