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Develop a Project Plan

A project plan takes into account the approach the team will take and helps the team and stakeholders document decisions made regarding the objective, scope, schedule, resources, and deliverables.

It is important to include usability activities in your project plan, so you can build in the time and resources to carry out those activities. Review the step-by-step usability guide to better understand which activities fit your needs to include in your plan.

woman drawing a diagram of a website plan

Define the Scope and Stay on Track

The project scope identifies what needs to be accomplished for the project to be considered complete. When discussing scope, it’s important to define:

  • What product is being developed?
  • What information is going to be covered? Will it feature a particular topic or is it for a particular audience?
  • What is the size of the product (i.e. how many pages will the site contain)?
  • Are you creating a website for an entire agency or organization? Is the site for part of that agency or organization?
  • What amount of research do you intend to pursue? Is there time built in for incremental adjustments based on those findings.

Gather more detailed questions on how to hold a kick-off meeting.

For a project to stay on track, it’s important to avoid scope creep.  Scope creep refers to when there are things incrementally added the project plan that are individually doable when piled together endanger successful completion of the project as previously defined.  Scope creep can be on the business front or the technical front.

Identify Target Audiences

At the beginning of the project, it’s vital to think about the audience you are trying to reach, the tasks they come to complete, and how addressing those needs compare to that of your organization.  It is important to avoid being broad when defining your target audiences. 

To identify and analyze audiences for an existing site, you can gain insight from the site’s analytics, performing market research, and conducting user research methodology.  For new sites, you may need to rely on market research for initial insight and then refine through conducting additional user research techniques.

Set Measurable Objectives

Think about your website and define objectives that consider what your organization hopes to achieve.  When you set meaningful objectives and set targets to reach, you have the ability to measure success after the site launches.

There are two types of goals/ objectives to consider:

  • User goals are users’ task scenarios. They explore what users come to the website to achieve.
  • Usability goals should measure your users’ ability to accomplish tasks on your site. This will tell you whether your site is effective, efficient, and satisfying to your users.

An example objective, if you want users to get the answers to their own questions without calling your agency or organization, is to reduce phone calls by X amount, saving Y dollars.  You can set similar objectives for reducing emails, increasing customer satisfaction, and increasing subscriptions to online newsletters.