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Building websites in a holistic way - one feature at a time.

The questions to ask. Interactions to think about. And info you will need to start building (plus a handy template to download for free).

Sometimes people have very clear ideas about what they want in a website and sometimes they don't.
You'd be surprised how many big corporations are just figuring things out as they go along (a fact I find highly refreshing!). With code anything is possible and therein often lies a problem - too many choices made without a holistic approach often leads to a mess of spaghetti code. To fully understand the implications of this just talk to your nearest support developer, they will explain the pain. 
So whenever a client comes to me with really cemented ideas and just gives me a requirements document without wanting to talk through things I have this thought: "Either you really know your sh%* or you are completely overconfident and this will end in disaster". But when a client comes to me and says "We really want drive website traffic to our brick and mortar retail stores. We have some ideas but wanted to talk to the team about it figure out the best solution...." now that is music to my ears! I know they are in the frame of mind where they are open and where they value the team opinion and expertise. Together we can find the solution that not only fulfills their business goals but also makes sense from a technology point of view. 
How do you start to think through building a site or a new feature and make sure you don't miss anything critical?
That is where my handy template comes in hand, just follow these steps:
1) Break down the work into chunks by logical features
2) Fill out the info for each feature following the template
3) Study and review all features and think through how they will interact with each other 
Ideally the template lives in a wiki format for your entire team (and client) to access it. However if you don't have a system like that a simple and sharable Google Doc will do.
Will this mean that everything will be perfect? No, code is never perfect. But it will mean you took the time to "think" which is a critical factor when building anything. The template prompts you to consider all angles and thus reducing the risk of building something that you then have to tear down and refactor later.
Try out the template and let me know what you think!! It's a work in progress. 
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