Every time Bright Launch starts out with a new client, we review the site’s goals and start to map out a plan. However, “What are the site’s goals?” never seemed to get the kind of sufficient answers.
We focus on two sets of needs: business needs and user needs. The first set helps define the goals of the website. And really, if the business doesn’t need a website for something, what’s the point? The second set oftentimes gets lost. We think the designer should act as the voice of the end users here, because if the end users don’t need the website for something, it will fail.
In answering “Why do I need this Web site?”, clients really start understanding what the strengths of the business are, and what needs to improve. As a designer, we want the site to highlight the strengths and to help improve the weak areas.
There is an interesting side effect to asking what visitors need. Often, you’ll hear something like, “They need to do something.” One part of web analytics is studying the processes that visitors go through on your website and finding out where they abandon those processes. From this, you can deduce ways to retain more people.