Use these three tools to make sure your website project is a success.
Even if your website is predominantly static (perhaps only the blog is changing regularly) redesigning and redeveloping it can easily go off the rails, running over time and over budget.
Performing key planning steps including page audits, site-maps and wire-framing can help you to identify potential problems before they occur, keeping your project on track. The following tools can help you perform all three and are essential for any website project that is bigger than a few pages.
Specifically for the purpose of auditing your current site and/or producing a log of page requirements for your new site.
While the template is great as it is, we suggest you add information like:
Page layout/template to be used
Existing page URL if any
Copy requirements, sources and status
Graphic requirements, source and status
SEO meta title and description
Side bar contents
Calls to action
When you do this, your content inventory will become a reference tool that everyone involved in the project will value.
Site-maps and wire-frames are two of the most valuable tools for planning website projects. They help you to communicate and test your layout, design and navigational ideas with team members and clients.
There are individual tools available to do each, and they may be better at it, but Gliffy can do both. Gliffy is an affordable, easy to use, online alternative to Visio.
With Gliffy you can easily turn your website audit in to a visually presentable sitemap. You can then use it to produce wire-frames of individual page layouts which can be exported to either pdf or a range of image formats. You can also share your sitemap and wire-frames to the web - sending a link to those who need to see them.
Switching between different wire-frame files or shuffling print-outs can make it hard to understand how a website is really going to work.
Using InVision's simple drag and drop linking method, you can easily turn your wire-frames into an interactive mock-up of the final website.
A little time taken at this stage to set up all the links will create a tool that you, your team and your client can use to debug the structure and navigation of the site. Doing so at this stage of the project will make it so much easier to make changes and will save you heaps of time later on.