Planning Sign and Metaphor Requirements during Website Design
Over the next few modules you will focus on signs and metaphors.
Signs and metaphors constitute the top layer of the Web Interaction Model.
Your study will be broken down into the three general stages of work related to the implementation of signs and metaphors for a Web site: determining needs, creation, and evaluation.
Determine, create, evaluate
Of the three general stages of work on signs and metaphors, the first one involves the Web team and client working together to determine the needs that will shape the signs and metaphors. The second stage involves the process of actually creating of the signs and metaphors.
The third stage involves evaluating the effectiveness of the signs and metaphors once the site has been delivered and gone live.
In this module, you will focus on the first of these three stages of work:
identifying the needs that will guide your choices ofsigns and metaphors. The primary needs that you will consider are the needs of your client and the needs of the end users. Your client's needs are presented as business objectives in their documents, and the needs of the end users will be identified through audience analysis and market research.
Your clients may be un aware of your need for these resources, so be prepared to take a proactive stance and request that they deliver these
documents and carry out, or assist you in carrying out, audience analysis.
Software, Networks and the Internet
Signs and Metaphors
Signs and metaphors can make or break a Web site
You might think that signs and metaphors are secondary in importance to technology and content. However, you should realize that signs and metaphors can make or break a Web site.
If you are not convinced, think about your impression of sites with poorly written text or unattractive graphics, or graphics that take too long to download. The entire interface that humans interact with in the context of the web is a collection of signs, symbols, icons, text and everything that is seen and interacted with. If users cannot interpret the signs, the web
interface will be useless.
By the end of this lesson, you will be able to:
Describe the importance of signs and metaphors for engaging users
Identify the individuals and responsibilities involved in development of signs and metaphors
Describe how to use the RFP to determine sign and metaphor needs
Describe how to use the Site Planner to determine sign and metaphor needs
Describe techniques to gather information about your potential audience
Describe how to create effective questions for audience analysis.
Use audience analysis results to create signs and metaphors
Describe how user groups help validate signs and metaphors
In the next lesson, the critical choices of signs and metaphors will be discussed.