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Planning the Site

Planning is one of the most overlooked issues in designing a site. The following concerns must be addressed before a site actually can be developed:

  • Understanding the site's audience. Without a solid understanding of who you're designing for, you are at a significant risk of missing the audience's needs. If you are working for a client, ask a lot of questions about the intended audience. If you have a site already, look to your server statistics to determine technical details, such as the most popular screen resolutions, whether JavaScript is enabled in most of your audience's browsers, and which Web browsers are commonly used. This information will be invaluable to you as you sit down to design the appropriate architecture and layout for your pages.

  • Knowing the intent of your site. Almost as important as knowing the audience is understanding the immediate goal of the site. Is it to inform? To entertain? To sell a product? Answering these questions right away helps you speak to your audience in a clear, concise, and correct fashion.

  • Designing appropriate site technology, visual design, and underlying architecture. After you understand who you're designing for and what the intent of the site is, you'll want to build a site that is both technically and visually accurate for the audience and that supports the intent of the site.


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