guide

Create a Design Plan

Are you likely to say "I am not very artistic and don't know the first thing about making graphics so the design phase is not for me." If you are, stay tuned because design is more than the graphics and images often associated with design. Or in Drupal terms, site design is more than the process of [tip:theming=The process of creating a file or collection of files (PHP, INFO, CSS, JPG, GIF, PNG), which together determine the look and feel of a site.]. Design also includes making decisions about

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Search/Browse Analysis

What does it mean to search a site? What does it mean to browse? How do you want your users to find content on your site? This analysis looks at distinguishing between searching and browsing as well as the technologies used to do both. Making a few basic decisions during the requirements phase gives you a list of what needs to be planned in the design phase as well as what technology is required in the development phase.

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Communication Analysis

Email! Where would we be without our email? At a minimum, sites will have an email address so that people visiting a site can reach someone associated with the site. The next level of communication often comes in the form of a contact form so that you can send an email without having to use your email account. There are other online communication strategies that you can use in your site as well.

The objective of this analysis is to identify

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How much detail is needed?

Requirements are written statements that describe what is needed. The real question is, how detailed should requirements be? Below are four ways that define how detailed requirements can be. They aren’t necessarily industry standard, just a way to get us all on the same page.

To maximize your understanding of Drupal and how planning can be effective, in this online book we are going to assume the third option below, specification.

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Where are the wireframes?

How can you plan a site if you aren’t planning what it will look like?

My experience has been that at this point of the process, both site owners and developers want to talk about what the site will look like. You might be thinking right now that wireframes are what you need to be doing.

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Collect Requirements

At this point, you have analyzed your needs and decided that building a site is what you need to do. Now it is time to identify the requirements that define the details of your site.

Requirements, coupled with your design plan, will give you what you need to create a list of criteria that you can use to confirm that Drupal is the right solution for you. You can use the requirements to verify and validate you got what asked for. Without clear requirements to set expectations, you run the risk of not getting the site you need.

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Purpose Drives Strategy

Now-a-days if you are going to invest your time and money in developing a site, you want to get the most out of your efforts and understanding the purpose is a great place to start. The purpose of your site can influence

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Where does a planner fit it?

A planner shares the goal that all roles have on a Drupal project; to help ensure the site is developed and delivered in such a way that it fulfills its purpose.


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Planning

Needs analysis

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Aspects of Planning

The word planning carries with it many uses and meanings. The task of planning has often fallen on the shoulders of project managers, graphic designers, and developers. More recently, with the onset of database driven sites, requirements analysts, web strategists, and information architects are starting to play a more prominent role. On occasion, it has fallen to someone like a marketing strategist. All these roles have their own perception of what should be planned and how to go about doing it.

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Going beyond HTML Sites

Another way to start thinking in Drupal is to recognize that traditional HTML website planning techniques fall short when used to plan a Drupal site.

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