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Start With a Website Proposal Template – Part 2

The image illustrates the Conceptual Architecure and is part of the website proposal template

In the first part of this post about creating a Website Proposal Template, attention was placed on developing business objectives, target audiences, the mission and implementation imperatives.  In this, the second part of the Website Proposal Template post, the focus will be on:

  • User Experience Strategy
  • Communications Strategy
  • Conceptual Site Architecture
  • Features and Functionality
  • Success Measures
  • Barriers and Challenges

In short, the website is suppose to serve the primary needs of your target audience.  The website needs to be consistent with the brand, engaging and fulfilling for the user, and it must accomplish company objectives.  A website proposal will help to proactively thinking through design, functionality and how to measure success, and that will increase the probability of building an effective and efficient website increase exponentially.

 Website Proposal – User Experience Strategy

In keeping users at the center of the approach, there are three key components critical in creating successful user experiences: relevant, usable and desirable. Website Proposal - User Experience Strategy

Relevancy Creates Value

Relevancy connects business goals with audience needs.  Creating a user experience to be in line with the expectations of the target audience provides relevancy.  The user will come away with the impression that they want to get more information about the offering or feel they have gotten valuable information that will aide them in making or helping others make a buy decision.

Usability Creates Understanding

Usability connects user goals with information structure, organization and interaction.  Designing a website to accomplish these goals will create a user experience that is indicative of the experience of becoming a customer.  Strive to make the user feel confident, as they browse the website to find the information they are seeking.

Desirability creates Loyalty

Desirability helps connect a brand’s goals with interactions, image and tone.  This connection builds loyalty for the user experience.  Designing a website to make this connection possible will increase the brand affinity with the target audiences and ultimately, create advocates of the websites’ user experience.

The User Experience Strategy outlines, at a high level, the overall communications strategy, architectural and creative experience.  A User Experience Strategy is comprised of a number of creative and structural (information architectural) components that together form the Creative Brief, or creative direction for the project. First, the User Experience Strategy describes the goals, needs and success criteria for each target audience.  Second, it describes how an organizations wants users of the website to think and feel about their website experience and what an organization wants them to do upon visiting and/or leaving the website.  Finally, it describes visually the key elements we will be addressing with the website.

The objectives of developing a User Experience Strategy are:

  • To provide a foundation for information structure, content and functionality.
  • To provide a foundation for visual, interaction and interface choices.
  • To provide a context within which the site redesign will be approached.
  • To build consensus and understanding.
  • To provide a tool to aide in measuring the effect of Creative development.
  • To act as a guide for communicating the User Experience direction to key stakeholders.

Website Proposal – Communications Strategy

The communications strategy identifies the way the User Experience team will approach every element of the site in order to ensure consistency of the brand across all communications channels. It is extended to each target audience through the Brand Promise. The Site Value Proposition confirms the needs of each audience.  Together, the Brand Promise and the Site Value Proposition form a complete picture of the communications strategy interpreted for each target audience.  It’s important to ask the right questions when building go-to-market plans.

Website Proposal – Conceptual Site Architecture

The Conceptual Site Architecture outlines a high level approach to the User Experience.  The goal is to drive audiences to interact with the website based on their individual interests and needs.  The Conceptual Site Architecture is meant to describe the experience for different target audiences and visually illustrate the level of interactivity.

The image illustrates the Conceptual Architecure and is part of the website proposal templatePrimary Audience and Goal

The site will need functionality to serve the needs of the primary audience. The key tasks that this audience needs to accomplish on the website must be accompanied by an engaging and compelling user experience.   A superior user experience will drive visitors to their destination through strategic placement of content and a purposefully designed experience that is tailored mostly for each audience.

Secondary Audiences and Goals

The experience of the website should be built with content and functionality that is also tailored for secondary audiences.  The Conceptual Site Architecture should show how the secondary audiences should be addressed at the experience level in relation to other audiences. The experience for each audience is somewhat different. As a visitor moves through the website, all of the information may or may not be relevant for multiple audiences but different approaches in tone and style will be taken throughout the website to deliver information the secondary audiences are also looking for.

Overall Experience

The website experience may be more contextual than it is today. Appropriate content and media will drive users to the relevant website areas in order to give information that is needed to the right audience at the right time. It may be much more powerful for one audience segment to visit the website for a particular purpose and spend additional time on the website learning things about the offering they never would have known about otherwise.  Instead of driving visitors into the website based on who they think they it might be appropriate to route them based on their interest in content, functionality and message about the offering. The goal is to build an experiential site that merits exploration and intrigue contributing to the overall mystique of the brand. The website will always drive visitors to sign-up, get more information and share information with a friend in a manner that is easy to understand and execute. However, other aspects of the website will offer the freedom to be non- linear in the approach and teach site visitors about the offering as they choose to move through the website. If demand generation is a top priority, leverage a demand generation planning template to jumpstart your efforts. These techniques can be used to continue the conversation and establish and enhance engagement.

Website Proposal – Features and Functionality

It’s necessary to outline the short and long -term feature and content requirements for the website.  One approach to this is to brainstorm potential features and content required for the website effort.  These features can then be expanded, prioritized, categorized and matched against both the business goals and users needs. The result is a Feature Roadmap. The features outlined are based on both business and user objectives and should be coded to indicate their support for:

  • General Information—helps build a better understanding of the offering.
  • Support Tools—helps remove roadblocks that might hinder a prospect from becoming a lead or a lead contracting
  • Request/Capture Information—generates leads by allowing users to request additional support
  • Usability – makes it easier for users to navigate the site and complete their task
  • Content – provides information to support user needs
  • Functionality – provides interactive functionality to meet user needs

Over time, new information will be learned, business and/or user needs may change, or there could be significant shifts in world events. As such, it’s a best practice to have a formal review process of the Roadmap once a year and ideally every quarter.

Website Proposal – Success Measures

Success Measures define how success will be measured once the website launches. A performance measurement plan that documents how to track and measure the website’s success in delivery against users’ needs and the core business objectives is essential for understanding the value of the new website. Building a performance measurement plan is an interactive process. As use cases, creative concepts, user experience and technology designs are finalized, the initial list of measurements will be solidified to be relevant, meaningful and actionable.

Website Proposal – Barriers and Challenges

Barriers and Challenges include any issues that might hinder the success of the website project.  Throughout the course of planning for the website effort, a number of issues may be raised that may hinder the success of the project.  Some of these may be external constraints over which the organization has no control while others are items that can be internally resolved.  Failure to address barriers and challenges might put the website project at risk.

In Closing

The website, in many cases, is the most predominant expression of the brand and the medium with the most interaction with prospects and customers.  Whether an organization has formally created a brand identity system, developed a messaging and positioning framework, formalized the demand generation plan or has taken the corporate objectives and cascaded them down to each function in the organization, it will all happen when a website is created, implicitly or explicitly.  Refrain from the temptation to grab the web team and begin copying web pages or a website that catches your eye as the big picture will be missed and a huge opportunity squandered. If you need a professionally designed Website Proposal Template that has been built by a CMO to jumpstart your effort, please visit www.fourquadrant.com.

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