The decision has been made that you need a new website. But do you fully understand what your business wants out of it?
Maybe you’re starting to explore what you need your new site to do for your business. Perhaps you’ve brought an external consultant or project manager onboard to help you. Or quite possibly, you simply know you need a new site, but you’ve not yet considered what this should entail.
We’re often approached by clients who are unsure of how to define their website requirements. Yet truly understanding how your website will support your business is fundamental to project success. To help you do just this, we’re sharing our expertise.
In this blog, we discuss:
- How to define your website requirements
- The stakeholders you should include in the process
- The importance of your technology selection
- What to do when you don’t know what it is you want from your website
How to define your website requirements
Accurately defining your website requirements can feel like something of a minefield. Ultimately, the success of your web project hinges on getting it right – and that can be hugely overwhelming.
Helping clients pinpoint exactly what it is they want and need their website to do for them is part of the day job for us. To bring clarity to your requirements, we recommend taking a practical phased approach and exploring some core discovery questions such as…
1) What are your long-term objectives?
Your long-term ambitions play a key role in defining what you need from your website. You want a solution that’s not only going to support your business as it is today, but that will help you achieve your goals over the coming years.
2) Who are your users?
Thinking about the users of your site - both internal and external - is critical and their needs should be considered early on in the process. Get to know the different types of users, explore their needs, motivations and the actions they take onsite to map out key user journeys for each of your user groups. Consider the frustrations they may have and how your site can help overcome these.
To really get under the skin of your audience, learn more about them both from your internal team and directly from your end website users themselves. Doing so will help you create a frictionless user experience designed with the user in mind.
3) What are your priorities?
Having assessed both your business and user needs, you will no doubt have begun to imagine the vast possibilities for your features and functionality. Taking all that you’ve already discovered, the next step to scoping success is prioritisation.
To help tackle this, we work with our clients to complete prioritisation exercise with the outcome outlining what’s most important to the project. Among the many methods used to prioritise project requirements, one of the simplest and most effective is MoSCoW. A framework that explores the ‘must haves’ to meet your business objectives, the ‘should haves’ required that project success doesn’t depend upon, the ‘could haves’ that won’t impact the project if left out and the ‘would like’ to revisit in a later phase of the project.
A renewed clarity gained from this exercise can then feed into defining the key features and functionality for your new site.
4) What technology is best for your business?
Making a decision on the right technology can be difficult. We often work with businesses where, before engaging with us, the technology has not yet been selected. After all, if you’re not armed with the right knowledge to identify what technology is best suited to your business and requirements, how can you ensure you will meet the needs of your users and internal teams?
Breaking down your requirements will inform what technology is best suited to your business. Keep your business objectives and users in mind as you consider:
- What third party systems are in place
- What integrations will be required
- Who your internal users are and how comfortable they are with technology
- How each operational element of your business needs to integrate with your website
- Strengths and pain points of your current technology
- Additional features and functionally you require for your new site
Who should you involve?
Web projects are notorious for the vast number of stakeholders they involve. But just as notorious is the difficulties too many cooks can cause. There is a delicate balance to strike, with the aim to generate a rounded insight through the involvement of a range of stakeholders. This also ensures that different teams across your business are on the same page, helping gain further buy in to fuel a successful project.
When it comes to defining your website needs, there are certain individuals who we would recommend you involve, these include:
- Senior management: Those who drive the business strategy and want to implement the vision should be included within the process. This could include members of your senior management team and the chief executive.
- Marketing: Typically involved throughout the whole website project, marketing and communications teams are likely to be some of the key users operating the site.
- Customer service: Where a business has a customer service team, they should be involved in relevant stages of the project as they are often heavily user focused and in contact with your audience regularly.
- IT: Responsible for managing internal systems and third-party relationships, your IT team should be particularly involved during technology discussions.
How we've helped others?
“We approached NetConstruct in early 2021 to discuss a replacement CMS. Over a 3-day workshop we worked with the team to explore our organisation, its objectives, current digital approach, pain points, requirements and our future development road map.
The workshop was very valuable and shortly afterwards we were provided with an analysis of the options and a recommendation on the most suitable approach which enabled us to prepare a costed proposal for consideration.
The whole process from first contact to receipt of the proposal was smooth and professional. The NetConstruct team were approachable, knowledgeable, responsive and also demonstrated that they placed a lot of emphasis on the needs of our organisation rather than their own convenience.
I would thoroughly recommend working with them and for adopting the approach described above.”
- David West, Head of Communities & Operations, The Business Continuity Institute
Understanding what you want from your website forms the foundations of your project. If you fail to consider the right factors alongside the needs of your internal and external users, your site can quickly become outdated and cost you more money.
It’s not unusual for us to receive a client brief that acknowledges the support of a partner is needed to help define their website requirements.
If you need helping to define your website needs, we can help. Get in touch to speak to our team of web experts to start the discovery process.