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Lesson 3 Using the Site Planner
Objective Describe the function of the Site Planner.

Using the Site Planner

Different Questions at different Stages

The Web team will routinely refer to the Site Planner during a Web development project. The Site Planner is a list of questions organized according to the three phases of the Web site development process (discovery, definition, and design). In addition, each phase has a different section for each team involved in that phase (i.e. the creative team, the business team, and/or the technical team).
Think of the Site Planner as a traveling checklist you refer to every time you pack to go on a trip. The checklist contains items that you are likely to need on every trip, such as a toothbrush, together with items that may not always apply but which are important in those trips where they apply. You may need a swimsuit if you're going to a hot place or gloves if you're going to a cold place.
You may not always need to ask your client all the questions in the Site Planner, but reviewing them will help you stay on track when developing a site. The Site Planner is an invaluable tool for clarifying your thoughts and understanding your client's needs as well as those of your teammates. The MouseOver below illustrates which teams are involved with the client during the phases of the project that require the Site Planner. Examples of key questions are also included:

I. Discovery
  1. Business team: Who do you consider to be your competitors?
  2. Creative team: Who will develop and edit the response to the RFP?
II. Definition
  1. Business team: Do you have a plan, time frame, and budget for upgrading the site?
  2. Creative team: Will the site be built with a design that is consistent with other marketing materials?
III. Design
  1. Creative team: What are the brand, style, and other marketing guidelines?
  2. Technical team: What platforms do the end users use? What kind of connectivity do they have, and will this meet the requirements of their planned network?

Individual Phase Involvement
The customer consults with the client's IT staff during the design phase, when hardware needs become central for the project. One of the main responsibilities of the technical team is to assess the client's hardware capabilities and determine how these may influence design and development decisions for the site. However, the technical team has been active prior to this phase, giving the business and creative teams feedback on technical issues.
In the next lesson, you will review what you have learned in this module about the technical team's communication process with the client and the other team members.

Site Planner

As a veteran designer, developer and project manager for more websites than I can count, I have identified a common problem with many Web projects: failure to plan. The same issues come up repeatedly in my work, so I have written this guide in order to help clients, other designers, businesses and organizations plan and realize successful websites.
Planning is essential for most businesses and organizations. In practice, many people fail to plan their websites. Sometimes the ever-busy, dynamic nature of running a business is to blame; there are so many operational demands that proper time is not allotted to projects. But this often happens because people fail to recognize that planning for the Web is just as important as planning for anything else in a business.