Design and blueprint definition in an eCommerce project

The design process transforms information into requirements and a blueprint.

Where discovery is a process of gathering information and developing knowledge, design is a process of defining the blueprint of what you want to build. In eCommerce solutions discovery, design and build processes are interdependent. While you may choose to do a fair amount of up front discovery and design it is very likely you will use discovery and design practices even in the build phase to refine and improve the concept based on lessons learned.

What skills do you need for the design process of an eCommerce project?

The design process involves several skill groups such as creative designers, branding experts, user experience (UX), SEO, Analytics, front end developers, technical architects, business analysts and the client users (product owner).
All these people need to synchronize their work and ensure that they are working towards the same goal. This is where it is useful to have a project manager who can facilitate collaborative workshops to review the work done at regular intervals with the client product owner involved.

Defining requirements

From the discovery workshops there will be a project product description and a fair amount of information/notes that the team can use to write up requirements. The level of detail that requirements need to be documented will vary from project to project. The information on product based planning and rolling wave planning will give further insight into how one can go about defining requirements.

Design review workshops

These review workshops are a great way to ensure that all the disciplines are aligned and to identify any gaps in knowledge.
The creative and UX team members can lead the workshops with their wireframes and creative designs. By viewing the wireframes the team can review how individual areas of functionality will work and at the same time make sure they have covered all functional requirements.

The outputs from a design process are the inputs to the build process and would normally include
Product breakdown structure
• Updated project product description
Build road map, showing the order in which components will be created
• Creative designs as Photoshop type stills or interactive html/css labs
• wireframes
• Detailed requirements documented as user scenarios & acceptance tests (US&AT)
• SEO strategy and guide lines that ensure the functionality to be implemented support best practices for SEO.
• Analytics input into build requirements to enable effective analysis of traffic to and from the site once it goes live.

Developing detailed requirements in the build stage
The section on rolling wave planning will illustrate the use of discovery and design during the build phase to develop more detailed requirements.