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Launching a Website Application for the Dummies

1 Brainstorming

This is the first step when you have an idea about a web application you want to build. Write down your main objective why you want to create the site and what you want to deliver to your users.

2 High Level View of Features

List down all the features you want to offer in the site. This should describe the user experience both for registered/logged in users and anonymous users (users who are just passing by the site). An example would be like, users should be able to create their own profile, the site will have a forum where both fans and musicians can have a discussion, the site will have a page with a directory of music by registered musicians, a directory of different interviews, it will feature (in the homepage) the latest interview or musicians with the highest rating, it will feature local gigs that are coming up, it will sell tickets to the local gigs, users will be able to purchase tickets to the gigs, both fans and musicians alike can send a private message to each other. These are just sample features so don’t be overwhelmed.

3 Nitty-gritty Requirements

This is the most tedious step. This will be an actual document that will have to be provided to the site developer.  So as not to overwhelm both yourself and the developer(s), you need to break down the features to different phases.

From you list of features from Step 2, you need to categorize these features into 3 phases.

First phase would have to be the most basic, can’t-do-without features—without these features your website won’t work properly. Second phase would be features that would make your website unique and engaging. Third phase would be nice-to-haves features but can afford to do without them if cost and time doesn’t allow it.

For each feature, you will have to list all the details that you will need to get it done. Eg. User profile creation – the user needs to be registered; they need to activate their profile by email confirmation; the user registration form will have the ff. fields: name, age, birth date, music genre, etc.; only music artists can create profiles, so and so forth

In this phase, you will also need to provide screenshots/mock screens to show what actual objects you want the have in the User Interface (UI). You don’t to worry too much about the actual layout itself since this will be the designer’s responsibility although you can definitely give your input in it.

After finishing the nitty-gritty requirements for first phase, it is possible to give these requirements already to the developer. This is called and an iterative process. While they develop the first phase, you start working on the details for the 2nd phase.

4 Timeline

You can decide on the high level estimate on when you want each feature/phase to be delivered. Your estimate though will not be final. The developer will evaluate the features you want and give his own estimate about the cost and time of the development. Your timeline will be considered in his estimate. Just remember, the tighter the timeline, the more expensive the project is.

5 Payment and Delivery

You never pay the developer in full at the start of the project nor do you get to pay them in full after the project is done. Payment for such projects is always staggered. Developers will always ask for initial payments (normally 30%-50%) then rest of the payment is staggered as he delivers the rest of the features. Eg. 30% after proof of concept is accepted by you,  30% after initial presentation of first phase, 20% after delivery of 2nd phase, 10% after 3rd phase and the remaining 10% after an agreed time of support (this is normally done to cover bugs that are discovered after the site have been launched). The percentage of the staggered payment is really up to you and the developer. The important thing is both of you should agree on the terms so no one will be feel slighted.

NOTE: You normally want to have a Non-disclosure Agreement with the developer. This is to ensure that after everything has been delivered, the developer won’t sell the application to others or use it. You need to make sure that you have the full rights to the application. You can sue his arse if he breaches the contract.

programmer1 Launching a Website Application for the Dummies

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