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Lesson 5 Evaluating business objectives
Objective Describe how to use the Request for Proposal to determine sign and metaphor needs.

Describe how to use the Request for Proposal

When you are planning a web site, remember that all the elements need to be tied to your client's business objectives.
This is especially true for signs and metaphors. No matter how well the technical aspects of a site function, the site will not be successful if the signs and metaphors are not aligned with the client's core business objectives. In this section, you will learn about documents, tools, and methods to use in evaluating business objectives to determine sign and metaphor needs.

Documents and tools for evaluating sign and metaphor needs

There are some key documents and tools you should use every time you evaluate sign and metaphor needs, including:
  1. Request for Proposals (RFP) or project request
  2. Business objectives
  3. Site Planner Questionnaire (this will be addressed in the following lesson)

RFP and business objectives

Look again at the Asteron RFP to see how business objectives are a primary input into decisions in designing and developing signs and metaphors.
The RFP usually lists an overview of business goals and objectives and is written by the client to guide prospective designers. When the RFP is properly written, these objectives will establish the framework for all further sign and metaphor design.
As an example, the Asteron RFP lists the following business priority: "Comprehensively represent the brand as driven by innovation and technology." This requirement states that the brand needs to be a sign that is interpreted in a very specific way.
There are a number of resulting implications for designing and developing signs and metaphors in support of the brand, including:
  1. Color
  2. Size
  3. Placement on a Web page
  4. Visual style
  5. Font, typeface, or script choice
  6. Language
  7. Punctuation

Software Architecture
Design and branding are generally treated separately from the design perspective. The creation of brand elements is usually not done by web developers, but by advertising agencies or internal designers with outside help. Keep in mind that your clients will want you to position the brand appropriately and consistently, in keeping with other communications devices used by the client such as print ads, billboards, annual reports or anywhere else their branding appears to consumers or investors.

Request for Proposal

The RFP or project request often provides other important information for visual designers and content editors.
For instance, the Asteron RFP provides the following:
  1. Audience profile
  2. Content requirements
  3. Company background

This lesson has given you some description and explanation of what is contained in the RFP. However, you will not have a good feel for what an RFP will look like and ask for until you have looked closely at one yourself. If you have not done so already, you should now download and read through the RFP. You will find it on the Course Resources page. The following exercise will help you review your understanding of the Asteron RFP.
In the next lesson, you will learn how to use the Site Planner to inform the design choices of signs and metaphors.
Click the RFP Sections and Components link below to review the components of the Asteron Request for Proposal.
RFP Sections and Components