20 Questions about Website Design

If you haven’t played the computer game 20 Questions it’s pretty accurate and a whole lot of fun. The link is at the bottom of this post.  It is totally worth the click.

Now, we’ve recently began working with a new client and we are starting with their new website design before we bring them national. What they have created is a very cool new diet program called Our Skinny, its brought to you by a doctor from Savannah, Georgia of all places, home of the deep-fried, low boil everything. Looking to shed a few pounds? You can start getting ready for swimsuit season here.

As we recreate the user experience, we’ve naturally been talking to web developers about helping us with “the back-end” of our new redesign for what is probably the easiest diet ever.  One programmer in their “discovery” process actually emailed us this long list of questions below. At first, we were taken back. We asked ourselves, Why are they asking all these questions? Why don’t they just go to the existing site and read and review it to find out the answers? But they have a point. Most clients really don’t know what they want from a website, let alone how to maintain it. They know they should have one, because, well you must have a website right? The best thing you can do before asking anyone to design your website is to know –

1. Why do you want to have a new website, or have your current site redesigned? 

2.What will happen if you don’t have a new website? 

3.How do you describe your organization in just a few sentences. 

 4. What is there about you and your background that sets you apart for a special (niche) group of potential customers?

 5. What problems do your prospects have that your business solves? 

 6. How can your particular work background help prospects, compared to others in your industry? What’s special about your products or services? 

 7. Why do you believe site visitors should do business with you and not with a competitor?

 8. Do you have a slogan or tag-line that clearly describes what you offer in terms of benefits or  features? 

 9. How do you describe your potential customers? Pay special attention to their income, interests, gender, age, even type of computer they use, e.g., old with dial-up account or newer with broadband. If your website is a business-to-business site, what sort of companies are you hoping to attract?

 10. What is your budget for this project?

 11. Who are the decision makers on this project? What is the turnaround time for making a decision?

 12. What staff will be involved? What are their roles? Is there a webmaster on your staff?

 13. What is your deadline for completing the site? 

 14. List the names of five other sites that you like. Why are they attractive to you? 

 15. Have you researched your online competition so you have an idea of what you do and don’t want on your site?

 16. What do you NOT want on your site in terms of text, content, etc?

 17. Where is the website content coming from? Who’s responsible for updating it? Is it ready for use on your website? 

 18. Are you planning to do online sales? If so, what is the product, and how many items do you want to sell online?

 20. If you’re planning to sell online, are you set up to accept credit cards?

 21. How much time will you be able to spend online, responding to inquiries that come in via your website? Once a day? Several hours a day? 

 22. If you were using a search engine, what words or phrases would you use to find your site? Which of these words or phrases is most important? Second? Third?

 23. Other than what search engines will produce, what methods do you have in mind to spread the word about your website? 

 24. Once your website is completed, how long do you think it will be before you begin bringing in significant business from the website? 

25. How do plan to market your website?

 26. How do you plan to encourage repeat visitors and referrals?

 Following are the “must answer” questions; please do no leave any of these.

  1.  What do you want someone to do once they’ve visited your site—that is, what is the call to action?
  2.  How should a user feel when they visit your site, and what should be their lasting experience?
  3.  Name three sites that appeal to you and explain what it is you like about them.
  4.  Name three sites you don’t like and explain why you dislike them.
  5.  What is your budget and ideal time frame?
Here’s the 20 Questions link.

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