Time is money – in case of web and application development no idiom could be more accurate. In order to optimize work time and costs, a solid project specification is crucial as it saves both sides the hassle of constant corrections.
Having 8 years of experience in the industry, we encountered many problems induced by faulty specification. Although it may sound trivial, they had, in fact, a significant impact on overall project course. In this article we would like to share our experience in order to make your collaboration with developers easier. We also recommend to check out this post which contains useful guidelines for writing project specifications.
1. Importing and exporting large amounts of content
If you have a vast quantity of content to transfer to your new website, it’s important to clearly indicate it in your specification. Such information provides to avoid misinterpretation about the work scope. In the wider perspective, mentioning it in the project specification makes data migration more efficient. It saves both sides a lot of stress and time and allows the work to speed up significantly.
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2. Who adds the content to the website?
It’s not a developer’s obligation, but you can ask for such service and including it in your project specification is the best way to do it. If you decide to entrust this task to the contractor, you should list all the content types and the data associated with them. We always suggest introducing content at a very affordable hourly rate, because an immediate start of the project is also in our interest.
3. The problem with WordPress page builders
Page builders are undoubtedly very popular amongst users due to their flexibility and intelligibility. If your previous website was created with one of WordPress widely available themes, it’s natural that you have got used to functionalities it provided. The original theme, however, is designed from scratch specifically for your website and developing a page builder to work with is not a standard service. If you need one, you should request it in your specification. As it takes more time and work to create a page builder, you will have to reckon stretching your budget. Mentioning it at this stage of the project saves you later costs.
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4. I need e-commerce solution
“E-commerce solution” is a very broad concept. In order to get what you need, you should clearly describe it in your project specification. Let the contractor know if you prefer to work with an e-commerce platform and if so, which one it should be. You also ought to specify, what exact functionalities you expect to be implemented. The specification can have a form of a simple scheme, for example: Woocommerce-> Product generator-> Agreement generator-> Payments in many currencies-> Advanced accounting and shipping etc.
5. Confusing website design
Lack of clear information, in this case, can result in an unsatisfying design. Of course, it’s not always simple to describe what we have in our minds, but the more precise are the guidelines, the more pleasing is the effect. Using existing examples usually helps a lot. You can even combine them – for example, if you liked the design of buttons you saw on some website, but also enjoyed the looks of hovers used on another one, you can include them in your specification. Don’t be afraid to turn your visions into drawings. A simple sketch often says more than even the most detailed description. it’s worth to remember, however, that not everything looks good when put together in one design.
6. Who provides photos, illustrations and icons
Graphic content can absorb a considerable part of the budget, meaning it’s worth determining who covers these costs. In our case, the photos are on the client’s side, but we provide illustrations and icons in a certain number with the possibility of purchasing more.
7. Learning how to use the site
Specify whether you expect to receive instructions in the form of text or video. You can also ask for individual training in a given number of hours. Preparing such a guide takes a certain amount of time, meaning it requires adequate payment.
8. Number of subpages and their content
It’s necessary to specify which subpages we expect to be applied and what we want to include in them. Changing their number, type or content at a later stage generates additional costs or may cause major problems at the order execution level if the budget doesn’t expand. Such difficulties are one of the most common causes of large delays. It’s worth to discuss the scenario with the website’s contractor before starting the project. Creating a basic sitemap can be very useful at this point. You can also prepare a simple list to visualize page-subpage relations, for example:
- Our story
- About us
9. Not taking it seriously
Sometimes we don’t give such documents enough credit and treat them like an unnecessary burden. However, it’s very profitable to think the project through carefully before handing the specification to the contractor. If taken seriously, the whole process will go smoother. It’s said, that it doesn’t take more than 2 hours to write a proper project specification, and thinking it out at the beginning saves you a whole lot of later problems.
Project specification is a key to successful project
All this doesn’t mean, naturally, that the developer expects you to give the most detailed specification possible in order to accomplish the project. These few examples are to help you avoid certain problems and make your collaboration with the contractor more effective. If you are willing to know more about how to work with creative agencies or software houses, you can read about it here. We also encourage you to share your opinions in the comment section. Feel free to suggest topics for our future articles