Things To Keep Ready Before An Actual Start Of Website Construction


Things to keep ready before an actual start of website construction

Things to keep ready before an actual start of website construction

Posted on 12th Apr 2016 12:43:28 in Software Engineering

By: Elamurugu Sundararaj

Clarity on the website type / purpose:   

The foremost thing before starting a website is to have clear understanding on the objective of website and its type of business. For example, image intensive e-commerce based sites, content rich text based or animation based gaming sites. This will have impact on layout selection, coloring, navigation etc.

Clarity on target group: 

Consider if any location, gender or language specific contents to be developed. For example, who would be the expected visitors could help you to design such as simple, flashy, data organization and display.

Clarity on site Navigation:

This is an important step. You must know where each link on the site will be leading to. This will help in type of menu selection such as Simple horizontal menu, or multi level submenu

Website Design:

Consider a prototype using design software such as Photoshop etc depending on time availability. This will in fact provide lot of insight in understanding customer expectation. However, points below will have to be kept in mind while designing. The cosmetics make a lot of difference in holding customer on the page for the first few seconds.

  • Color choice and consistency
  • Font style and size
  • Line height and spacing
  • Consistency on page contents, for example the header links, breadcrumbs at the same place on every page of website.
  • Decide where to use Ajax and Modal windows.
  • Single Page or Multi page sites
  • Pagination
  • Blog layout, Forum layout if different from main site
  • Keep customer logo, icons and images ready with required sizes.
  • Fluid design or single device
  • User input forms
  • Auto-populate and Pop-up window style
  • Follow or build Coding Standards

Session Expiry time and Cookie usage:

For example, what do you after certain idle time from the shopping cart page or payment gateway page? How long to keep cookie information for the returning visitors. Care should be taken that the visitors should not feel as intrusion by storing this data on the client side.

Data Model:        

Choose database. Identify required number of tables, relationships, constraints, keys and indexing.

Validation points:

List down all types of validation to be performed before accepting the user inputs at client side or server side or at both the end. For example, e-mail checking at the client side and server side, phone number validation by sending One Time Password, date range, currency with floating point values etc. These validations will have impact on the navigation flow.

Messaging or Error display style:

There are three major classification when it comes to handling messages.

  • Information - good to have sort of things, it might vary from site to site based on the purpose
  • Warning – can continue with the site flow but the visitor might have to compromise if the information was not provided sort of things and
  • Fatal Error - cant proceed with the site flow without this information from the customer, for example without date information ticket cannot be booked in travel related sites, and take action accordingly. If so, list down the navigational flow, color choice for each of them etc. Also decide how you want to display these messages, for example through alert window or within forms.

Customer Response Channels:

Decide on how to communicate with the customer or website visitors in case of any queries since the objective of any website is to retain the customers. Various channels such as e-mails, chat, SMS, video chat, call back, contact form etc are some options.

Usage of frameworks:

Discuss and have clarity if any framework to be used such as Bootstrap for UI design, JQuery or Joomla or Wordpress etc. This will save website launching time to a greater extent.

Application Interface Points:

Decide on application interfaces such as payment gateway, social media, SMS gateway, other third party software etc. Have clarity on usage of data.

Security:

Discuss and Decide as how to handle security breach. There are multiple ways of website hacking right from SQL injection to URL redirects to stealing the data. There should not be any compromise in protecting data from malicious attacks. Decide on backup frequency and fault tolerance methods

Make it SEO compliant:

The objective of any website is to bring more traffic and earn reputation and revenue. So, while building the website, taking care of some of the below SEO requisites will help in saving time rather than patching up later.

  • Embed keywords in Meta Title, Description
  • All keywords should have right landing page
  • Write SEO friendly URLs
  • Decide proper page redirects
  • Handle 404 Errors
  • Keep sitemap and robots.txt when hosting
  • Disallow access to unwanted files and folders
  • Design banners for social media sites
  • Have provision for Ad Sense on the selected page, place and ensure that the design does not break
  • Ensure for W3C standards
  • Place Goal conversion and Analytics scripts on each page
  • Ensure for appropriate landing page
  • Check for any broken URL links
  • Check for any duplicate contents or images or illegal information
  • Ensure for quick page loading and identify user engagement methods during loading
  • Have Favicon ready 

Analytics and Reports:             

  • Decide on types of reports and analysis needed from the data
  • Decide on Roles as who would be using Admin panel and define privileges. Record all Admin activities at Row level and table level.
  • Keep a tab on third party licenses and expiry time
  • Decide on frequency of cron or scheduled jobs.

Password policy:

Decide how to accept passwords from the customer like length, letter mix etc. Also have clarity on encryption methods before storing passwords. Decide on how to retrieve passwords in case of Forgot password like redirect for change password page or send links or mobile messages etc and after validating, allowing for password change. Do not store passwords as plain text.

Image and video storage:

Decide on maximum image size which can be accepted from the customer and methods to retrieve. This will have impact on page loading time which in turn will affect your website traffic. Decide on length of time to retain images and number of images.

Reusable Components or Class files:

Decide on required reusable functionalities. For example, input validations, e-mail communication templates, database connection scripts etc. This will help not only saving time but also in site maintenance.

Test Strategy:

Check for cross browser compatibility, fluid design working on multiple devices such as desktop, tablet and mobile. Integrate with proper Error handling mechanism - Do not throw system error messages to the end user which will depict poor image on the site quality. Test if there are any issues in loading time and navigational flow. Obviously, data storage and retrieval mechanism are to be complied with as per the site objective.

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