As I promised in September's "On Target," I'm going to talk about one of
the most important but least popular phases of Web development.
Basically, it's the phase when you figure out what you're going to do
BEFORE you actually do it.
Even a little up-front planning can make a big difference in your Web
site's "quality of life" and in yours, too.
Define the Mission for Your Site
Define your site's purpose or reason for being. This is actually quite simple. You probably know the mission without realizing it. For instance, say I ask you "Hey, whomever, what's your Web site for?" You reply, "Well, Mike, it's so we can (do or describe whatever)." There you go. You've stated the mission for your site.
Why is defining the mission important? Read on.Identify Your Audience
With a defined mission, you have enough focus to ask, "Who will use this site?" (A very good question.) "What will they want?" "What does my site have to offer them?" "Does this fit within our mission?"
Your answers to these questions will confirm that you are on target or perhaps suggest that you need to rethink your mission or that you're really dealing with multiple sites.
This is the last time I'll mention audience analysis. I promise! (Editor's Note: Don't believe him.)Formulate Your Objectives
With a defined mission and an identified audience, you can nail down some objectives for your Web site. Do you want to inform your audience of something? Instruct them? Entertain them? Solve a problem for them?
Enumerate Your Tasks
You need to know your objectives before you can ask, "How will I accomplish them?" "What, exactly, are the tasks that need to be done?"
(Notice that you're getting more and more specific as you proceed through this process.)Enlist Your Team
Okay. You have your tasks. Your next question: "Who will accomplish them?" Perhaps it's just you. More likely you'll need to enlist the help of a team.
Team in place and tasks in hand, together, you're ready to ask, "How long will it take us to accomplish these tasks?" Then you'll have your timeline, and you'll be ready--really ready--to go.
Voicemail has become as much a part of our work as, well, the telephone itself. In the April, 1999 issue of "On Target," Laura Hoelscher offered tips on leaving voicemail messages for those who call you. I'm offering tips to help ensure that you get called back when you leave a message on someone else's voicemail.
I've been sending and receiving email since the mid-1980s. Between then and now, I've learned from my own email mistakes, seen others' mistakes, read some stuff, and come up with these tips.
Before You Send
Composing and/or Replying
If you must put something cute, stupid, or otherwise potentially embarrassing in email, be sure the person getting the email knows it's there. More than one person has been embarrassed when someone forwarded a message before reading the entire email.
If you have any email tips or pet peeves, let me know.
Steve Cain <email@example.com>
If you're a grownup, you wouldn't want to be thought of as "childish," but you might not mind being regarded as "childlike."
Why? Basically, it's kind of bad to be childish, but it's kind of good to be childlike.
Applied to an adult, "childish" means inappropriately acting like or being like a child.
Examples: His behavior was so childish it was embarrassing. The two adults had a childish disagreement.
On the other hand, "childlike" means to retain some of the positive attributes of childhood into adulthood.
Examples: He had a refreshing, childlike innocence. We should all try to keep a childlike sense of wonder.
If there's a grammar (or usage) trap you'd like me to discuss, or if you have a tip that will help the rest of us avoid one, please let me know.
Visit <../grammartrap/index.html> for past "Grammar Traps."
Laura Hoelscher <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Department of Agricultural Communication