Four Steps to Successful Design - Part 1

There is a process that needs to be followed when addressing any project. Weather it be an e-commerce site, a sales campaign, a computer program, or a procedural manual. It starts with the design phase, moves to a development stage, is followed by a review process and then either goes back to the development stage or moves to implementation and publishing.

This memo deals with the first and most important aspect of the designing phase. Since so much of my career has been in Internet development I will use terms that may seem to only apply to web development but they are applicable to any field of business. It is a four point process that, when followed, will always insure a successful project.

Content is King!

In the game of chess the most powerful piece is your queen but the most "important" piece is the king. Without the king the games over and you lose. In a completed project the presentation is likened to the queen in chess. It is the most powerful piece on the board. The content would be the king. No matter how powerful the queen may be with out the king the game is over, and you have lost. It cannot be stressed enough just how important it is to define the content before anything else can be done.

The first and biggest mistake that is made in web design is creating a beautiful layout, wonderful graphics, and heaps of "eye-candy" then trying to get your content to fit with-in the structure. This is death!

The first, and most important, element is to define the content. Content is the information you wish to convey. It matters not if it is an idea, text, data, or actual products. At this point of the process it is all the same, it is information. What are you conveying, what are you selling, what are you providing access to? This all falls under content and is the determining factor in the next three steps.


This is more fluid and dependant on the content that has been defined and what the project actually is. It is the medium that will be used, what it takes to put it into that medium, and how the medium will be disseminated. In web design this would be everything from the actual servers the information is to be hosted on, the way it will be stored, the method of accessing it, the manner it will be retrieved and served, programs, coding, scripting, databases, merchant accounts, secure validation requirements, and so on.

In a television commercial it would be everything from the filming requirements, the air timing, and the placement of line up. If it is a print ad, (brochure, magazine advertisement, newspaper advertisement, or bill board, etc.), then the printer requirements of color, black and white, program file type, print resolution, size, and time requirements would all be the architecture.


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