Visioning questions for web development

This post is a list of all the questions that I and my team would try to get our clients to answer (in some form or another) during our early conversations about a website development project at Summersault. I'm dumping them out here in case they might be useful to others.

Every project is different, but if you're planning a new website and/or are considering hiring someone else to help you with that work, you'll probably give everyone a head start by having these questions answered:

  1. What are the big-picture goals of your project? (Promote a product/service, Online sales, Convey an image, Gather information, etc.)
  2. What specific objectives do you hope to achieve? What features or sections does the site need to have? What administrative tools do you need?
  3. Do you have an existing site that you’re replacing? If so, why doesn’t it meet your needs?
  4. Who is the target audience for your project? How tech-savvy are they? What else do you know about your target audience?
  5. Who is your biggest competition? Why? How are you the same/different?
  6. What is unique about your product/service?
  7. How are you perceived by the general public and/or your community/industry? Are there significant mis-conceptions about your organization?
  8. What other sites/projects have you seen that might serve as a model for yours?
  9. Where will the source content on your site come from? (Will it be available in electronic format?)
  10. Do you have existing branding or marketing materials? What do you like and not like about them?
  11. Do you have a marketing plan or strategic plan that we should consider as we work together?Do you have a logo? Is the logo set in stone, or are you interested in updating or changing it? (Do you have graphic standards in place that need to be followed?)
  12. What existing resources do you have in place?
    • Web site?
    • Equipment?
    • Stores/locations/buildings?
    • Vendor partnerships? (printers, web host, etc.)
    • Media relationships?
    • Govt. relationships?
  13. Do you have any staff that will be working on your marketing/ branding? What are their skills, abilities, opinions?
  14. Are there specific technologies or tools you do or don’t want to use?
  15. Are there third-party services or tools you need to integrate with?
  16. How often will a new website change once it’s launched?
  17. How does this project fit into your organization’s big picture?
  18. Who are the decision-makers for your project?
  19. When does the project need to be completed? How flexible is that?
  20. What’s your budget for the project?
  21. What does a successful project look like?
  22. Do you have more detailed information like an outline of your desired site content structure, mockups or visualizations of key interface components, etc?

If you're in web development, marketing or some other similar creative enterprise, I'd be glad for you to share in the comments your favorite questions for eliciting important information from clients at the beginning of a project.

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