Cameron FrancisJuly 03,2014

Requirements Analysis – A Critical First Step in Web Site Design

Category: Site Design
Share on Facebook3Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Share on LinkedIn0Share on StumbleUpon0

So you have finally arrived at the point where you have a budget allocated for the design of your business site. Or maybe you are about to begin on an entrepreneurial venture and you have decided to develop a customised site or mobile app.

If, in these instances, you are tempted to rush straight to your website design team and begin laying out the design of your home page and selecting colours – don’t!

You need to restrain yourself and proceed through a requirements analysis process before beginning the design and development of your site.

Website Requirements Analysis

In our experience with numerous mobile and website design projects we have discovered that requirements analysis is crucial to the success of a project and we always perform them as our initial step.

A solid understanding of requirements ensures that the goals of a business and the needs of its users are satisfied, and that the site achieves its intended design purpose.

If you are engaging in a website redesign, the requirements should translate directly into difficulties that are experienced with the existing site. The new site must be customised to meet user needs and business goals.

If you don’t fully comprehend those needs when the project is initiated, it is unlikely that the finished product will satisfy users or achieve your business goals.

Website Requirements Analysis

Analysis of requirements is an iterative procedure that starts with a brainstorming meeting and continues through the course of development.

In each iteration, the requirements document will improve and become increasingly useful for driving the implementation of the site. After completing the initial brainstorming sessions and identifying general requirements along with your client, a conceptual design should be developed using wireframes as an illustration of your potential approach.

Providing your clients with an example of the design that they can visualise, using wireframes, will enable them to more easily clarify and refine their requirements.

After formulating the initial requirements and reviewing, revising, and prioritising them with your clients, you should have follow up meetings and solicit further customer needs and wants.

These meetings will permit website users to validate the requirements and to determine if these requirements are commensurate with the needs of users. This information can be used by the analysis team to alter your incipient requirements document and develop a suitable web strategy.

In some instances, clients will be able to rapidly work with you to develop the requirements and come to a consensus on which functions and features are the highest priority.

However, more frequently, clients will need some guidance in order to solicit requirements that are detailed enough to be of use for your site development team.

If you are dealing with a client that has multiple stakeholders, obtaining a requirements consensus can be difficult. Obtaining a consensus on requirements often requires

  • Tact and skilful management of involved personalities; and
  • Asking questions that are focused upon the priority of every requirement

Querying stakeholders as to their rationale for their requirements requests is a great method to generate group discussions and to come to a determination as to whether a particular requirement should be a final design priority.

Within the process of building a consensus it is crucial that all members of the team are fully invested in ownership of the requirements and the process of analysis.

A large challenge associated with requirements analysis is obtaining requirements specificity from stakeholders, in order to make the requirements useful for people who are implementing the design and development.

Requirements that are most useful will describe in detail what functions are available to site visitors and provide guidelines on designing interactions that will occur on-site.

When Can Your Proceed With The Design?

Once you have generated wireframes and refined their design with your client, you are on the road to starting the process of design, even as the development of the final requirements is occurring. After user flows have been developed to assist in driving requirements, you will be ready to begin designing.

As the design of your project proceeds, a process must be instituted to manage the evolution or changes in your site requirements. This is because a requirement that changes can have an impact on the entire project.

Managing requirements changes may necessitate that you

  • Evaluate and document the justification for a change
  • Determine the impact of a change
  • Reject, accept, or defer a change
  • Implement approved changes

During the process of design, it is crucial to be able to link design elements with specific requirements. Linking each design feature to a requirement makes certain that a feature is satisfying a business need and averts feature development that will overcomplicate the user experience.

Conclusion

Requirements analysis is not the most exciting endeavour. However, it can help you to avoid having to redesign a site that isn’t meeting the expectations of a client and that is not meeting their business goals.

Generating a solid requirements document is a lot less costly and time consuming than going through repeated design and development iterations. In addition, you will also develop a deep understanding of the business your client is engaged in, which will pay dividends in the long run.

Requirements Analysis Concepts:

Share on Facebook3Tweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+0Pin on Pinterest0Share on LinkedIn0Share on StumbleUpon0
Author: Cameron Francis Cameron Francis is the Director of eTraffic Group. He has been engaged in all aspects of online marketing for the past 8 years. He is actively involved in SEO, Paid Search, Social Media Optimisation, and Web Design.

• Social Networks •

• Our Locations •

Click To View Our Contact Details

Level 1, 530 Little Collins Street, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia | 1300 887 151

Level 2, 50 York Street, Sydney 2000 | 1300 788 679

Level 1, The Realm, 18 National Circuit, Barton Canberra ACT 2600 Australia | 1300 765 708

Level 1, 16 McDougall Street, Milton 4064 | 1300 765 709

220 Varsity Parade, Varsity Lakes QLD Australia 4227 | 1300 887 804

Level 1, Paspalis Centrepoint, 48-50 Smith Street, Darwin NT 0800 Australia | 1300 889 815

Level 18, Central Park. 152-158 St Georges Terrace Perth, WA 6000 Australia | 1300 550 753

Level 3, 97 Pirie Street, Adelaide 5000 | 1300 669 895

Level 6 Reserve Bank Building, 111 Macquarie Street, Hobart TAS 7000, Australia | 1300 885 870

We seek to create long-term relationships
Tell us about your business goals and we will contact you