Methodology

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					FirePond Interactive’s Methodology
Introduction
This document explains the methods FirePond Interactive (hereafter referred to as FPI) uses during all stages
of a project to identify and deliver a Client Web implementation.

FPI outlines these development stages, their deliverables and responsible individuals:


  Pre-sale                 Post-sale               Strategy &             Execution              Transition
  Assessment               Analysis                Design



Stage 1: Pre-sale Assessment
FPI educates itself about the Client’s goals, customers, content and business needs.

1.1     Business needs and objectives
        1. Discuss Client’s short- and long-term goals.
        2. Explore how a site could support these goals.

1.2     Client’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT).
        1. Current business strengths
        2. Current business weaknesses
        3. Current business opportunities
        4. Current competition                                          Project Partnership
        5. Potential site strengths                                 Any successful solution
        6. Potential site weaknesses                                        requires a strong
        7. E-commerce opportunities                           relationship between FPI and
        8. Web competition                                           Client. When the Client
                                                                               provides product expertise
                                                                             and clear objectives, FPI can
1.3     Audience-centered analysis (ACA)                                            apply to full effect its
        1. Examine site’s audiences.                                                  creativity, technical
        2. Research who audiences are.                                        knowledge and e-strategies.
        3. Discuss why people will visit the site.
        4. Discuss cost and scope of this research.
        5. Prioritize information in this area.

1.4     Preliminary content evaluation
        1. Determine what content should and should not be part of the site.
        2. Research percentage of future content that does not yet exist.
        3. Discuss new content areas and consider how they will benefit users.

1.5     Draft project scope document
        1. Define the site’s objectives; ensure a common goal.
        2. Content includes:
           a. Site purpose, needs                    d. Draft task analysis
           b. Draft architecture                     e. Milestones
           c. Audience definition                    f. Project roles


  Deliverables                                                                    Responsibility
  SWOT, ACA                                                     Interactive, Business Consultants
  Content evaluation                                                           Content Strategist
  Draft project scope                                            Producer, Interactive Consultant




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FirePond Interactive’s Methodology
Stage 2: Post-sale Analysis
Clarify issues that may not have been completed before the sale. FPI and the Client
teams must agree to the project’s goals, purposes and participants.

2.1    Pre-kickoff research
       1. Competitive analysis
          a. Who’s already doing what in the Client’s category?
          b. What can the Client do better?
          c. How can the Client differentiate itself from competition online?
       2. Company’s history and current direction
       3. Pre-sales efforts
       4. Measurements of usability and performance

2.2    Business objectives, SWOT and ACA (if not done)

2.3    Brand analysis
       1. Review existing corporate and product identity materials.
       2. Verify visual guidelines (branding) to be followed on the site.
       3. Explore successful marketing initiatives that can be employed online.

2.4    Work estimates
       1. Scope of work (Largely established in business objectives, Project Scope.)
       2. Cost of work
          a. Verify project objectives and deliverables.
          b. Estimate number and type of UI, configuration and feature graphics.
          c. Verify quality of Client source material.
          d. Discuss site interactivity and navigation (e.g. rollovers, menus)
          e. Determine level of database integration necessary.
          f. Clarify resources’ roles vis-a-vis other FirePond and Client deliverables.
          g. Research previous projects for information: Costs, skills, hidden factors.
          h. Anticipate best- and worst-case scenarios.
          i. Gather FPI technical, UI and creative expertise to review estimate.
          j. Get estimate to Project Manager, Interactive and Business Consultants.
       3. Schedule and milestones
          a. Define client team’s delivery capabilities.
          b. Factor in turnaround time for Client approval processes.
          c. Separate interface, configuration and feature & benefit graphics.
          d. Determine if a phased approach is necessary and acceptable.
          e. Provide schedule to Project Manager.
2.5    Responsibility matrix: Client roles
        Project manager: Answers all questions or contacts the people who can; is
          main contact for all decisions during the life of the project.

          Technical contact: Answers any and all technical questions, including those
           about the Client’s software and hardware compatibility with FPI.

          Content contact: Answers content questions; supplies content and working
           with the Content Strategist; should be a product/service expert.

          Management: Communicates needs and wants in a timely manner to their
           team and to FPI.


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FirePond Interactive’s Methodology
2.6    Responsibility matrix: FPI roles
        Interactive Consultant: Works with the Client to advise and develop
          strategies to achieve Client’s online business goals.

          Content Strategist: Works with the Client to conceptualize, organize and
           develop strategy for integrating and arranging content.

          Information Architect: Ensures functionality matches Client business
           objectives. Researches Client processes and clarifies scope and data.

          Creative Director: Oversees all creative processes and output, including
           branding. Communicates with Client all graphic and interactive needs.

          Web Developer: Ensures the site’s infrastructure is equipped to achieve the
           technical requirements that are linked to the Client’s business goals.

          Producer: Synthesizes all aspects of a project; facilitates communication among
           FPI and Client staff; coordinates reviews, deliverables and budgets.

          Human Factors Engineer: Incorporates cognitive considerations of
           interactivity into site design; reviews task flows; contributes to site
           architecture and all client requirements; tests the site in iterations.


  Deliverables                                                        Responsibility
  Competitive analysis                                         Interactive Consultant
  Brand analysis                                 Creative Director, Content Strategist
  Work estimates                                     Producer, Interactive Consultant
  Responsibility matrices                                       Producer (with Client)




Stage 3: Strategy and Design
Armed with information gathered during the previous two stages, FPI creates a design
plan. The team internalizes issues prior to presenting the plan to the Client for sign-off.

3.1    FPI project launch meeting attendees
        Content Strategist
        Information Architect                                         Intelligent Design
        Creative Director                                   is designing information and
        Web Developer                                   interfaces with the user in mind;
                                                          consider functionality, business
        Producer
                                                           objectives and learning factors.

3.2    Design plan
       1. Assess content.
          a. Begin inventory.
          b. Explore metaphors for home page and navigation.
       2. Develop use-case scenarios.
          a. Define process and functionality of various user experiences.
          b. Create work flow diagram of interface.
          c. Analyze functionality on competing sites.
       3. Draft site map: Arrange content according to use-case scenario evaluations.

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FirePond Interactive’s Methodology
       4. Assess and plan measurement: Identify key measures of project success.
       5. Plan data integration: Review legacy databases that may or may not need
          rendering (filters/macros) to interact with site.
       6. Create functional specs
          a. List functionality to be included into the site.
          b. Determine dependencies.
          c. Finalize schedule/sequence.
          d. Provide navigation requirements for graphics staff.
          e. Determine technical requirements.
              Site host: OS, server and hardware implications
              Solution environment (browser version targets)
              Scalability discussion
       7. Consider launch promotion issues.
          a. What are the Client’s existing marketing practices?
          b. What complementary strategies make sense with the site launch?
       8. Make creative recommendations.
          a. Look and feel
          b. Corporate identity; brand migration

  Deliverable                                                        Responsibility
  Design plan                                                        Producer, Team



Phase 4: Execution
This is the time for conceptualization, final site map, workflow diagram, interface
specifications, graphics creation and integration of content in the functional database.

4.1    Creative Concepting
       FPI believes in a team approach to concepting; group dynamics generate better
       ideas. We create storyboards for navigational flow and look and feel. We present
       these boards to the Client for input and approval very early on.
       1. Look and feel:
            Branding and/or corporate identity
            Users’ needs
            Desired user experience (consider technical issues)
       2. Navigation: Use-case considered, simple, elegant, focused
       3. Storyboards of interactivity: How will it work? Is it intuitive?

4.2    Final site map

4.3    Development
       1. Interface, interactivity design (build upon earlier storyboards)
       2. Construction of graphical elements
          a. Interface, features and benefits, catalog and configuration imagery
          b. Incremental reviews with Creative Director
          c. Final storyboards for graphical aspects
          d. FPI and Client determine the development cycle for all graphics
          e. Establish naming convention for all graphics files
       3. Content mapping
          a. Logical, Web-appropriate “chunks”
          b. Web page inventory
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FirePond Interactive’s Methodology
       4. Screen copy
       5. Integration of database-driven content
          a. Template design
          b. To ease maintenance and simplify internationalization (language, weights
              & measures, currency), store most elements in the database.
          c. FPI and Data Analyst tie images, text to navigation and functionality.
4.4    Documentation and maintenance training
       1. Supply style guides and/or site maps.
       2. Define skills needed to maintain the interactive portion of the site.

4.5    Testing
       1. Test quality assurance, validating functionality and data interaction.
       2. Test all links, graphics, animations and elements; document results.
       3. Conduct tests on primary Internet browsers.
       4. Review requirements agreed to at Post-sale analysis for Client approval.

4.6    Usability testing
       1. Use test participants who match the primary audience of the Client’s site.
       2. Determine testing environment.
       3. FPI recommends six participants and eight task scenarios. (If a redesign is
          needed, FPI recommends additional testing to validate the new interface
          against the predetermined usability criteria.)

4.7    Measurement results

4.8    Launch: public relations, other marketing


  Deliverables                                                     Responsibility
  1. Site map                                                       Info. Architect
  2. Working site with graphical elements,                         Producer, Team
     copy, navigation, data in place
  3. Measurement, testing, usability results        Info. Architect, Human Factors
  4. Style guide                                                          Producer
  5. Launch recommendations                                  Interactive Consultant




Stage 5: Transition
The Client must be able to maintain and their site as often as necessary. FirePond
therefore provides the Client with the knowledge and the tools to do this.


 Deliverables                                                      Responsibility
 1. Inventory of completed existing site                                   Producer
 2. Site maintenance documentation                                   Info. Architect
 3. Schedule for evaluation, maintenance                             Info. Architect
 4. Site scaling recommendations                             Interactive Consultant




September 22, 2011                                                                      5

				
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