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Lesson 1. The Present and the Future > Assessing the Site: Business Processes

Assessing the Site: Business Processes

Many clients are unaware of how well their code stacks up against current standards, and it is unlikely that you'll get many projects where the client is willing to pay you simply to upgrade the code from HTML 4.0 to XHTML. In fact, most Web redesign jobs occur because the current site no longer fits the business needs of the site owner. Common examples of a mismatch between the business needs and the site are as follows:

  • The navigation is confusing. Site users can't find what they are looking for.

  • Updating the site is too difficult. Many small businesses don't have large IT departments that can update the site. Small-business owners need to update site content, but they lack the knowledge and tools to do so. The site begins to fall behind the business, or the business has to spend disproportionate money to pay for IT human resources.

  • The look is outdated. Graphic design, like fashion, goes through cycles, and what was cutting-edge a few years ago may look stale today. An outmoded look communicates the wrong message to the business' target constituencies.

  • The business wants to migrate certain services to the Web that are currently handled through other resources. Many clients want their sites to provide sufficient information to the public to decrease the number of phone calls coming in. For example, many companies deploy Web Knowledge Bases to decrease technical-support calls, while others provide online pricing and sales to decrease sales calls and/or to provide 24-hour service without hiring a whole night crew.

  • The business is expanding or changing its offerings. If a business offers a whole new class of products or services, the Web site needs to reflect that. In such situations, adding a paragraph or two to an existing page isn't going to cut it. The site needs many new pages, requiring a new site map, navigation system, and so on.



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