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 thats doable within the available time frame and that offers the best range of content to visitors. This winnowing-down process takes many forms: Weve done it via e-mail to decrease the face-to-face meeting time required, but weve 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. Because this process is different for every site, do whatever works best for you and your situation.
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 plain text distributed via e-mail. Next, we order the list by importance of those items it contains and the sequence in which they must be created. In addition to their overall order, we also create a list of dependencies among our tasks -- that is, a list of those tasks that depend on others to be complete before they can occur.
Some examples of such tasks include
The URL hotlist for a site -- you cant create this until the rest of the text (with all the built-in links) for the site is finalized.
The Wayfinding Toolkit (a how-to discussion focused on navigating your site) -- you cant create this until the navigation for the site is completely understood and implemented.
The index -- you cant construct this until all other documents are done.
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Revised -- January 16, 1998