Internal Stakeholders' Needs from Your Website
You want and need the support of all parties involved when building a website, and the best way to gain their support is to do a little upfront legwork. As much as possible, talk to key players and ask them what they want from the website. Doing this helps you make sure that you address their needs and concerns while you prepare to make your formal presentation.
It also ensures that when you make the formal presentation of your project, you can speak to their needs and anticipate their questions. Web builders commonly make the mistake of not letting other people have input, thus wasting stakeholders’ time by presenting information that doesn’t help them decide how to support your project.
Your initial meeting defined the client’s expectations. Now it’s time to cut to brass tacks and fine-tune your original fact-finding document to flesh out the rest of the information you’ll need to create the site. Get the answers to the following questions before starting your project:
What results are envisioned for the site, and what functionality is needed?
Does the client have an existing site? If so, does the client want this to be the basis for the site you create? Or will you be creating a site from scratch?
What printed materials does the client have? The text in those printed materials may be applicable for the website.
Does the client have a corporate brand, logos, and other material that defines the look-and-feel of the client’s company? If so, do these need to be incorporated with the site design?
Will people within the client’s organization help support the site? If so, what are their roles?
Who is the point person in your client’s company?
If, after your initial meeting, you or your client still have some doubts about the ideal website, ask her to spend some time online to peruse existing websites. Tell her to dig deeper and look at other competitors’ sites and also at sites that have similar purposes (informational, e-commerce, or whatever) to hers.
Ask the client to make a list of things she likes and doesn’t like about the site she visits, and make sure she records the URL so you can review the site as well. Set a time for a follow-up meeting to discuss what she finds. When you review the sites, ask her to explain what she likes or dislikes — and why.
Digging deeper and analyzing these other sites will help you and your client develop a better vision of what the client needs.