Morpht uses five basic stages to scoping out a project.
- Information gathering
- Story identification
In large projects these can be spread out over a number of weeks. For smaller projects they can be telescoped into a day or even shorter.
1. Information gathering
Discovering the goals, audience and desired outcomes for a website is key to ensuring a site delivers the best possible outcome. Spending time considering and identifying these aspects is very helpful when deciding how a site is to work.
Why do you want a site built? What do you hope to achieve from it? This will help inform us on design solutions along the way.
Possible aims include:
- Publish information required by statute, regulatory guidance and best practice
- Showcase brand identity and values
- Raise awareness of a cause
- Update the audience on events
- Sell physical goods
- Sell electronic goods
- Sell affiliate links
- Build a customer database
- Publish content for entertainment, education or discussion
- Display advertising
Who is the site for? Knowing who the audience will be helps us decide on tone of language, graphic design and even the structure of information. It is important to use the language and concepts familiar to those accessing the site. Knowing the audience is also very important for segmenting the functions of the site out. If different groups of users land on the homepage with different goals then they must be catered for. The audience can therefore be used to determine the main paths through the site.
Calls to action
Content on a site serves multiple purposes. It can be used to inform, educate, entertain and engage. It can also provide the foundation for getting people to act. You want people to interact with your site. This makes the site an active vehicle in achieving your goals.
Common calls to action include:
- Ask a question.
- Leave a comment.
- Join a mailing list.
- Sign up to the site, request a quote or callback.
- Pick up the phone.
- Fill in some details.
- Purchase a product or subscription.
- Find out more about your organisation or cause.
- Like or share your content.
- Read some more recommended content.
- Click on an advertisement.
It is a good idea to try to convert the user's attention into an action for every page request. Once a user has finished reading the content it is important for there to be a next logical step. What will it be? We want to encourage interaction which doesn’t involve clicking on the back button!
The Morpht platform can handle all of these calls to action.
2. Story identification
A user story is just another way to describe a feature, except that the emphasis is on the experience of the user interacting with your site, rather than the technical requirements for building it out. The users' stories will be informed by the aims of the site.
Typical user stories would be:
- Read and comment on news.
- Download annual reports.
- View photos of latest event.
- Sign up to a newsletter.
- Use the site on a mobile phone.
- Provide RSS feeds.
Identifying the user stories is what makes your site work. This is a key aspect for you to consider when undertaking any web project.
An estimated effort/time can then be placed on each user story. Each story is realised through a technical implementation. The estimate represents the time we think it will take to deliver a feature. The Morpht platform provides a foundation for providing many features relatively easily, making them easier to estimate. In many cases we will just need to install, configure and tweak a feature to get it to work. Where bespoke work is required, we need to scope it out and provide an estimate of the time to complete.
Some user stories will be very important to you: a must have. Others will be less important, maybe a should, a could or even a won’t. The MosCoW method of prioritising stories can be helpful during this process. It identifies 4 main buckets for user stories:
- Must have
- Should have
- Could have
- Won't have
The Musts and Shoulds get the priority. In practice the Coulds and Won'ts generally fall by the wayside.
The priority of each user story then needs to be balanced off the estimated time to deliver. Some stories will give you a high "bang for buck". These bubble to the top of your list. Others may be high priority but hard to develop. In these cases we may be able to come up with smart workarounds to deliver the functionality in an easier way. At the end of the day, this is something for you to decide based on the solutions we can provide.
Once the user stories have been prioritised and decided upon it is then possible to wrap them up into a proposal which will form the basis of the contract between you and Morpht. The proposal will specify which features inside the platform will be used, as well as costings for any custom work which needs to be done. Where possible the proposal will make reference to demo implementations. The proposal will also map out a site structure including key navigational and display elements.
If the contract is agreed to we generally ask for half of the price up front before work commences. The other half can be paid when work is completed.
At the beginning of the project, the user stories will be added to a ticketing system and you will be given a user login. You will be able to see how your site is developing according to the tech lead assigned to your project. Once we consider a ticket to be resolved you will be asked to sign off on it to close the ticket.
You will also be given access to a test site where you will be able to see the site taking shape. Once the project is complete the test site will be migrated to production.