Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

After we have a good list of things about, for, around, and how-to for our proposed site, we begin to narrow the options into a collection that's doable within the available time frame and that offers the best range of content to visitors. This winnowing process takes many forms: We've done it via e-mail to decrease the face-to-face meeting time required, but we've also met face-to-face to make hard decisions. Plenty of times we have had a single person handle the entire project after the brainstorming session, with that person simply sending the boss progress and activity reports thereafter. Whatever works best for you is the best option.

Winnowing results in a smaller, better-defined list of items for a site. For us, this list takes the form of an electronic document, either a word processor file or a plain text message distributed in an e-mail message.

Next, we order the list by the importance of the items it contains and the order in which they need to be created. In addition to their overall ordering, we also create a list of dependencies among our tasks — that is, a list of which tasks depend on others to be completed before they can occur. Some examples of such tasks include:

* The URL hotlist for the site — you can't create this until the rest of the text (with all the built-in links) for the site is finalized.

* The Wayfinding Toolkit — you can't create this until the navigation for the site is completely understood and implemented.

* The index — you can't construct this until all of the other documents are complete.

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Revised -- May, 2002 [MCB]