Develop a Project Plan
Topics on the Page
- Create a Plan to Understand Your Project
- Define Project Scope
- Identify User Audiences
- Set Measurable Objectives
Create a Plan to Understand Your Project
Planning is the first step in understanding and gaining agreement on what you are going to do. The plan should identify the project timeframe, resources, and costs.
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.
As you begin to plan, think about and get agreement on:
- Scope - What are you developing? What is the website going to cover? How many pages will the site contain?
- Audiences - Who are the major groups of users you want the site to serve?
- Objectives - What goals should the website help your agency or organization meet?
Gather more detailed questions on how to hold a kick-off meeting.
Define Project Scope
The project scope identifies what you need to complete your project. Ask yourself:
- Are you creating a website for an entire agency or organization?
- Is the site for part of that agency or organization?
- Will it feature a particular topic or is it for a particular audience?
You should also:
- Name the website and write a short description of it
- Understand your website requirements
Identify User Audiences
To identify your audiences, list the different groups that you want to visit your site. These can include the general public, researchers, advocates, students, or all of these groups.
Next, think about all of these users' needs. Remember, users:
- Are often very busy, don’t want to read a lot, and want to complete tasks quickly
- May not know your technical or organization-specific vocabulary, so speak to them in their language
Set Measurable Objectives
Think about your website objectives in business terms. Ask yourself, “What does your agency or organization want to achieve by having a website?” You may start by saying "give information," and that's fine. Try to think beyond that and set measurable objectives.
For example, do you want users to get the answers to their own questions without calling your agency or organization? If so, you might have an objective of reducing 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. When you set meaningful objectives, you have the ability to measure success after the site launches.
Also consider two other types of goals—user goals and usability goals.
- User goals are users’ task scenarios. They explore what users come to the website to achieve. See evaluating your current site, conducting task analysis, and writing scenarios for more ideas.
- 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. See setting measurable usability goals.