The web community has a lot to learn from the mobile world, in my humble opinion the greatest gift Steve Jobs gave us with the iPhone in 2007 wasn’t the app-store or device itself, it was the new focus on purpose for every interaction and piece of information in the user-centric and tailored app experience. This focus on purpose and essential functionality is a large part (if not the biggest) of Apples mobile success and has then gradually spread and transitioned to every aspect of mobile computing, web and other forms of user experiences.
So, when a new web project in initiated the first step is always to define the purpose of the website or application. The purpose can be as simple as
- to sell products of a certain type
or a bit more complex as in
- strategic brand building
- company and contact information
- be used as an integrated part in the sales process with existing customers
- initiate the first contact from potential customers
It really doesn’t matter how the goals are written, far more important is that they are clearly defined so that they can provide a clear overview in the next step and be used as a starting point. The easiest way is to write them in a list (as in the examples) to provide a clear separation between different goals. By defining the purpose the information architecture, content (information in an application and storyline in the case of a game) and user experience can be developed through a loop of ideation and conceptualization with the goal of producing a working prototype. In the case of a website this means using HTML and the real platform, usually a CMS such as WordPress or back-end framework.
Start with the purpose and then figure out the content, user experience and graphical design, not the other way around.