If you've never commissioned a website before, writing a website specification document to guide the design and development of your site can be intimidating.
There is a lot of great advice and useful templates you can find with a quick Google search, but I think much of what you'll find is overly thorough and can lead you to get bogged down in secondary details. That's understandable. Building a great site is an investment and it's natural to want to ensure that everything you want will be included!
As part of our process, we'll draft a full proposal for you to review before we start work. Here are our main suggestions as to the two lists you can make to provide us with all the details we'll need.
What content will you need to display on your website?
Make sure your website specification includes a list of every piece (or type) of information you can imagine wanting on your website. This might be something specific like an explanation of how your business works or a more general section like a blog. Be thorough; it's easy to remove something from a list.
What we can do with this:
A list like this gives us a lot of raw information to jump start a conversation about how many pages and designs you will need. We can re-configure this information into a list of pages and templates we will need to design and build. This will also give us a lot of insight into the types of admin tools you will need to add and edit this content on an ongoing basis.
What does your website need to be able to do?
In addition to static content, websites interact with the end-user in all sorts of ways. This includes easily overlooked processes like user login, account creation, and contact forms. It can also include pulling information from a social media site, sending customer information to another system, or playing an animation when a user clicks somewhere.
Ultimately, we aim to turn this information into a series of "user scenarios" where we can lay out step-by-step how each sequence will work.
More sophisticated or experienced customers may be able to provide a website specification document that can also serve as a final proposal, but anyone should be able to create these two lists to ensure a comprehensive list of specifications.