Development processes - client brief

This article covers the first stage of the project development, taking a brief from a client. You may also wish to read our article on first client meetings which contains guildeines on what to discuss.

Identify aims & objectives

What you are trying to achieve? What is the purpose of your project? Here are some possibilities ...

  • Provide information
  • Gather information
  • Communicate with groups of people
  • Market a product or person etc
  • Sell something(s)
  • Teach something
  • Offer a service

Determine delivery methodology

How will the project be accessed?

  • CD/DVD ROM
  • Web site on internet
  • Web site on intranet
  • Kiosk in museum or public space
  • etc

Functional requirements

Considerations include ...

  • Frequency of use. Style of presentation may be dictated by usage patterns. For example, a project intended to be viewed once may employ an intensity of communication, repetition, and contain insistent dramatic content elements, such as sound effects, that will become tiresome in a project to be used again and again.
  • Keeping attention. How will you keep your end-user interested and focused?
  • Customisation You may need to consider tailoring the presentation towards a user’s needs based on information input by the user or by recording their browsing patterns.
  • Recording usage ... Will you or your user benefit from a record of their time using the project. Do you want to track users with cookies or get them to register, have log-ins or subscribe to mailing lists?
  • Forums. Do you want to create user interaction and promote discussion etc
  • Retail. Shopping cart, ecommerce systems etc

Determine end-user profile

Who will be using the project? (age, nationality etc), what computer will they have and where will they be (alone, classroom? etc). Define minimum end user system requirements such as screen size, soundcard and internet access.

An article on end-user profiling is here.

Register domain name(s)

If you are building a web site, you will almost certainly want to research available domain names, decide upon one, and register it. Use the hosting company you are going to use to do this.

When choosing a hosting company consider the following ...

  • Recommendations by other web developers
  • Consider time zone of operation: A local company may make technical support easier.
  • Features: Does the hosting package provide administration of email accounts, php and ecommerce support, comprehensive stats for analysis, etc

More on hosting

Whatever domain you choose, it is worth registering a .com version, even if you do not intent to use it in your marketing materials, simply because it is the most memorable domain and your end-users may try it if they forget your actual domain (eg .org).