In a previous post defining your website, I described some of the steps you need to follow to capture what your website needs to do to help you achieve your business goals. We started off by defining the purpose of the website as well as creating a site map. There are several other pieces that are needed in order to successfully plan a website implementation.
Draw Some Wireframes
Wireframes are simply a way to begin visualizing the way your site presents information and how people will use your site. An easy way to create a wireframe is to use a Sharpie and start drawing on a blank sheet of copier paper.
Here is an example of what you might create:
If you want to create something electronic, drawing tools like Omnigraffle or Visio will let you create more precise wireframes. I recommend using these tools, if you know how to use them already or are willing to learn them.
Here’s an example of a wireframe from Omnigraffle:
For beginners, pen and paper is the easiest way to go. You can always scan the wireframes, if you want to share them.
Look at Other Websites
Looking at other websites is a great way to draw inspiration for what you want and what you want to avoid on your own site. It makes sense to start by looking at sites for other businesses in your industry. Keep track of which ones you like or don’t like and why.
Then, look at some other sites for other types of businesses that are approximately your size. Dentists should look at lawyer and doctor sites. Lawyers should look at doctor and dentist sites. Some sites will be really well done with professional design, effective content, and clear call to action, and others will be nothing more than a basic brochure. You will definitely get an idea of the range of quality that is out there.
Think About Color Palette
As you look through these sites, you’ll see some that have colors that appeal to you. Make note and think about how those colors will represent your business. Doctors and dentists should probably avoid red since there may some negative psychological reaction by site visitors. Greens, blues, grays, blacks, and whites are usually a safe and professional way to go.
Adobe has a great tool for visualizing different color palettes called Kuler that you can use for free to see some different color sets that others have put together.
Here are some examples:
Having created wireframes and considered other websites and a color palette, you will have fairly comprehensive website development plan in place. The two remaining components that are still needed are final design and content, and I’ll talk about them in an upcoming post.