Before starting to design your Web site (based on the data collected and the decisions made during the planning and content collection and preparation phases), you should review the needs of the intended users of your Web site.
You have defined your audience (see 3.4 Define your audience), perhaps you have carried out user research (see 2.6b How to gather user information: user research). Now it is time to focus on what functionalities or features your Web site should offer to meet those needs.
- How does your audience definition influence the organization of the content, the navigation, the tone and language? E.g. by task, by the topic they are interested in; do you need scientific terminology, layperson's language, institutional terminology?
- What key functionalities/features of the site will serve user needs (also considering the technology at their disposal)? E.g. do you need an advanced search and how should it work? If the site is going to be updated at medium-long time intervals, do you need to update your users of new additions to the site? Do you expect to have users with disabilities that will influence the use of visual design decisions?
- What services or functionalities should be implemented to build dialogue and gather feedback from users? E.g. do you need to gather structured feedback through a contact form? If it is a community-based site you are building, do you need a mailing list, Web-based discussion board, etc?
Annotate the answers to these questions.
Keep them handy with the site subject scope (see 3.3 Define the site subject scope), audience definition (see 3.4 Define your audience) and content inventory (see 4.1 Develop a content inventory) when you proceed through the design stage.