This is a follow-up to yesterday's How to write a spec doc, and is for those on the consumer side of web development, and also for those web developers who are thinking "is a spec doc really necessary?"
"Specifications Document." "Information Architecture." What they mean and why your website quote isn't complete without themSo you've called a few website companies and they may have told you it's necessary to complete a specifications document, information architecture, research or discovery phase, but what exactly is that, and why is it necessary before giving a quote for the work?
Would you start building a house before drafting a blue print?Where would the windows go, how many bed rooms would you have, how high are the ceilings? Similar questions need to be answered before starting an e-commerce or Web 2.0 website. The website company should walk you through a number of questions, much like an architect would, in order to draw up a blueprint for your website. Everything from the number of pages, how your users log in, whether user comments need admin approval, the purchase process, etc. For the majority of websites, this process should take a professional company about 40-50 hours and produce a document of 20-30 pages. It's a back and forth, collaborative process with about 8-10 hours of feedback required from the client, but no technical knowledge on their part.
What should you expect?Depending on the size of your website project, you might get 15-20 pages, or over 300. Either way, it should include the following:
- Detailed sitemap of main pages and subpages
- List of all front-end and back-end features and how each works
- Exactly how many hours each feature is going to take to design and develop
- How the user makes a purchase and how the admin collects, if the site is e-commerce
- How comments, rating, or other interactive features work, for sites with Web 2.0 tools
- Wireframes for homepage and a few other main pages to determine layout and structure