Thu | 24.02.2022
How to create Website Specifications for your web future projects
What is a website specification?
A website specification is a document that translates the project’s goals into clear objectives and tactics. The best website specification documents are short and concise and, most of the time, highlight the main design and technical features.
Once they're finished, website specification documents contain the goals statement from the planning phase, as well as the structure and details of your website’s project. It is advised to also mention potential constraints, such as technical restraints, deadlines, while also mentioning the stakeholders and the members of the involved team.
What are the steps before creating this document?
To ensure that everyone is on the same page, in depth discussions and meetings with you and your team need to take place before and during the design process.
At the beginning of the project, expectations should be documented, along with any other problems that you, as a client, have encountered with their existing website. Asking many questions and identifying your needs during these meetings is extremely useful, since it can save a lot of work and, of course, time.
Another key factor is understanding what your websites’ must-have features are, from your perspective. As an agency, making use of past experiences when working on new projects and coming up with alternatives can be advantageous.
Using questions to define the goals and objectives of the website is extremely important. Why do you need a website? What are the problems of the existing website? What outcomes should be achieved? Are the outcomes measurable? What is the business need behind the change?
Content structure overview
It is likely that the website’s structure will change during the design stage, so having the information written down, following the initial architecture, can serve as guidance through the process. The Information Architecture (IA) or the content structure contains the various parts of your website and can vary, depending on the size and complexity of each individual project.
Having a diagram of the site, or the sitemap, mentioned in the website specifications document is very useful when it comes to understanding the website’s future structure. Content types and content types data, taxonomies and the site map can also influence a significant percentage of the design.
In order to reach your objectives, identifying key audiences is essential. Target audiences can account for prospective customers, existing customers, returning customers, as well as the press and prospective employees. Of course, there are many ways of defining the audiences, thus, such a matter should be decided upon with the client, before taking action. After having written them down, make sure that you take info account what you wish for them to do on the website, as well as what their wishes might be.
Technical specifications and functionalities
Depending on the type of website, whether we talk about brochure sites, e-commerce or other types, the pages will have a certain list of requirements. For instance, a brochure site will have pages that will be less interactive and rather static, as opposed to an e-commerce site.
How does your site work and what is the explanation behind it
For instance, if you have an e-commerce site, having a payment gateway is crucial. Other worth-mentioning functionality are tracking and analytics, or multi-lingual versions. Another example is that of a sign-up page, which leads to the need of having a contact form available. Moreover, if the website will be using APIs, providing an explanation of how they work and adding valuable information is essential for the client’s understanding. If you aim to target an international market, sticking with one language only will not be enough, hence, translating the content into one or more languages will be required.
The website must provide a qualitative user experience both for you, the admin, and for the customer. In order for this to happen, the website's back office features should allow a management of day-to-day activities, like order tracking, updating the product catalogue without requiring the agency's intervention, along with having an automated update. If we were to talk about customer experience, technical functionalities such as placing an order without creating an account or allowing their connection through different Social Media accounts can have a positive impact on the number of orders, in the case of an e-commerce website. Moreover, using features such as product filters, showing similar products or the stock levels, will definitely improve the customer’ shopping experience.
You should be well-aware that functionalities such as the above-mentioned ones are there to help you reach your business objectives. Besides the design, well-implemented technical functionalities, such as recovering abandoned carts, online payments, a blog or a newsletter, are all important aspects that should be taken into account in order to reach the desired results.
In conclusion, a detailed website specifications document can constitute the difference between the success or failure of your future web projects. It will help communicate your goals and requirements to any internal or external teams involved in the project, so build it wisely and never hesitate to ask for clarifications.
At diARK, we always start our projects with a website specifications document, using our knowledge wisely. Both us, and our customers, need guidelines from each other, hence, this documents reflects every important information that should be known by both parties. Last but not least, based on our experience, what really makes a difference is always having a clear and transparent communication, thus frequently checking in with the client!
This article is provided by our Marketing Partner, diARK Marketing.