Assembling the Site
The majority of what you’ve accomplished so far is without the use of your computer (Unless you’re using your computer to generate the mind maps or flow charts). While the process may seem tedious, in reality it’s quite straightforward. As a matter of fact, once you have experienced the benefits of proper site planning, you’ll never design another project without having a plan.
The next part of this process involves the gathering together of the “stuff” you will need to complete the project. That will include applications, images, animations, text; all the things that make up a proper site. Believe it or not, in a typical Web project, Dreamweaver might be one of the last places you go; not the first. Think of it this way, Dreamweaver is a Web design layout application. In order to use it, you need things to “lay out.”
Gathering Information About Your Visitors
I mentioned earlier that the statement: Build it and they will come, is not necessarily true, especially when it comes to Web design. You need information. If you haven’t already done a demographic study (also called the discovery phase) based on your target audience, do so now. If this seems a bit overwhelming, there are a lot of sites that specialize in giving you exactly this sort of information.
The following list is just a few of the existing discovery sites:
A demographic study will give you an idea of what kind of people will visit your site, who they are, and what kind of Web knowledge they have. This information is invaluable in creating the design of your site. For example, the portion of your site that deals with video, could be made much more efficient if you used the latest compression codec from Adobe Flash; however, your study shows that most of your potential visitors do not have the current version of the Flash player, so you decide to downsize the videos to match what your visitors have. A demographic study is all about giving your visitors an enjoyable experience. If they like it they’ll be back.