If you’re about to start a new website project, and wondering what questions you should ask, then then you might find this guide useful.

1.  Define purpose/vision for the site

  • What is the purpose of the site?
  • What are the goals of the site?

2.  Develop goals for the site

  • How would you define a successful website for your organisation?
  • What does success look like? How will you know when you have been successful?
  • How would you describe the site?
    • From an organisation’s viewpoint?
    • From a user’s viewpoint?

3.  Define audiences and goals

  • Who are the users of the site?  (Primary and secondary users)
  • How would you describe the users? (User characteristics, such as age, experience, education, etc.)
  • Why will they come to the site? (User needs, interests, and goals)
  • When and where will users access the site? (User environment and context)
  • How will users access the site? (User computer settings, such as connection speed, resolution, etc.)

4.  Conduct task analysis and prioritise tasks

  • What will users do on the site? (User tasks, content, features and functionality)
  • Which tasks are critical to users’ success on the website? (Criticality)
  • Which tasks are most important to users? (Importance)
  • Which features of the site will users use the most? (Frequency)
  • Which features are prone to usability issues? (Vulnerability)
  • Which tasks are critical to the organisation’s success on the website?
  • How often will users frequent your website?
  • What will compel users to return to your website?

5.  Determine measurable usability objectives

  • Which tasks should users be able to accomplish easily with few errors? (Efficiency)
  • Which tasks should users be able to finish quickly and efficiently? (Effectiveness)
  • What level of satisfaction should users have after using the site? (Enjoyability)

6.  Discuss expectations, requirements and preferences

  • What is your vision of what the site should do?
  • How would you describe your initial view of the project? What do you think the project should entail?
  • What prompted the redesign?
  • Who will be the key point of contact?
  • Are there any restraints, mandates, or guidelines for the site?
  • Are there any sites you would like to model or a particular style that you prefer?
  • What characteristics/attributes/attitude should the site convey to users?

7.  Determine accessibility requirements and needs

  • Is the site currently accessible?
  • What type of accessibility testing has been done?
  • What types of accessibility tools are being used?
  • Who is the key point of contact on accessibility issues?

8.  Identify available resources and training needs

  • What level of resources is available for site updating and maintenance?
  • Do you have content writers skilled in writing for the Web?
  • Are there graphic designers on staff?
  • Who will be responsible for programming and maintaining the site?
  • Who is in charge of site marketing and promotion?
  • Who will be responsible for analysing your site analytics?
  • Do you have a budget available for hiring or training staff?

9.  Discuss initial technology needs

  • What are your hosting needs?
  • Do you currently have a domain name or do you need a new one? Do you have the budget to buy a new domain name?
  • Are you currently using a content management system? If so, which one? If not, which systems are you currently looking at?
  • Are you currently logging Web metrics? If so, what metrics are you currently capturing? If not, do you plan on adding them to your site?
  • Do you currently have a search engine? If so, what type of search are you using?
  • Do you have a budget for implementing new technology?

10.  Timeline and Project Plan

  • Are there current mandates or deadlines in place requiring you to complete your project by a specific date?
  • Can you think of any issues that may arise that could delay your project completion? If so, do you have a plan for ensuring that the project moves forward?
  • When do you want to complete the project?
  • Do you have the available resources to complete your project on time?
  • Who will be responsible for managing the project plan and timeline?

Original author / source: usability.gov