[thelist] [Site Specs] How to create/project site maps/specs? Techniques, Tools, etc.?

Alan McCoy a.r.mccoy at larc.nasa.gov
Mon Oct 28 08:32:07 CST 2002

:: Note that I'm not asking how you make the site-map (layout)
:: but how you put it on paper/epaper so that the client can
:: look at it and is able to picturise the information as you
:: want them to... how do you idiot-proof your maps/specifications?

MS Visio is the best tool I've used for making your site map clear to
the client. Just make sure all the page groupings and paths between
pages are very clear. Visio also has icons to represent online forms and
scripts so you can show the client exactly where the functionality takes

Which brings me to another point. It is *very* essential that you take
some time with the client to walk them through the site map and explain
how everything works together.

:: Ditto with technologies. How do you make clients (most of
:: whom are not aware of technologies) understand your
:: 'solutions' when they ask for an explanation of how one is
:: going to go about providing the solution to their requirement?

I've found that most clients (especially those who are not
technologically inclined) get lost in the details of coding and
scripting and would rather hear how the tools that *they're* going to
use will work (like web-based content management tools). Walk them
through it from their perspective. It's pretty much like selling the
sizzle instead of the steak, as they say.

As for requirements documents, you'll find that many simpler sites may
not need them. Then again, larger sites with content management tools
and lots of user interactivity will require some detailed explanation of
all the functions and how they should interact with the user. There are
lots of examples of requirements documents out there (like
<http://webmaster.andrew.cmu.edu/awg/requirements-publishing.htm>) and
I'm sure other evoltians have their favorites.

Alan (back again after the big job switch back to NASA)

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