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How DO you explain your idea to a developer when you're not a ..developer!

Posted 21/May/2015 by vicky


Talking to entrepreneurs everyday has taught me that one of the biggest battles for a business owner is translating their ideas in their head and explaining it to web design companies to get a quote. One of the common things I hear is I am not sure what you need me to tell you or they aren’t expecting the barrage of questions that get fired at them for a complex site so hopefully this blog helps you to get a quote for that brilliant online idea you have!

Now I am not talking about a basic business website here, that can be flushed out pretty easily but I am talking about when you REALLY have an idea, marketplace websites, directories, membership based etc. When you have the need for a completely bespoke project and knowing how to talk that through with a web developer.  

Step 1. An in-depth explanation of your business. When you are trying to explain your idea to a developer, imagine you are in front of an investor, explaining the idea to them for the first time. The background behind the business, what in the simplest terms possible your product or service is, what it does, how it works, who will use it, why would they use it, what type of people would it benefit from it, what age group, sex, income bracket.If you developer can’t understand your product or service how can they build the best possible outcome for you but more importantly how will others understand your product or service.

Step 2. What happens and how. Let’s use an example here and say you want to develop an online dating website targeted at single parents. You’ve seen dating sites out there all you want to do is target it at single parents.

So we understand you want a dating site to be developed, who will benefit from it (single parents), the why - maybe there are no other sites is the marketplace or the ones that are out there aren’t offering as comprehensive a service as you envisage.

Now that we know what you want and who it is targeted at, we need to understand what happens on the site. If I was to visit your site as a single parent what would happen, would I be able to create a free profile or would I have to pay, is there a free trial period, can I view some profiles or parts of profiles without registering and by just being a visitor or must I be a member (free or paid). What other pages are on the site? Will there be a blog or forum?

Step 3. What does a profile look like. Now that we have established how to become a member, whether it’s chargeable etc, we need to understand what a profile looks like. Can you upload photos, video, how many fields will there be. Look around the market for similar sites to get inspiration and mould the perfect profile page for your visitors. What information can be shown to the public and what can only be seen by registered members.

Step 4. Member Interaction. So we have established what the business is, who it services and why, how they become a member and what their member profile looks like. Now, how can members interact with each other? Do members have their own inbox email via their member dashboard where other registered members can send them direct contact, is there an instant chat feature etc.  Is there a matching system or do members have to search the website to find matches themselves? If there is a matching process, what are the criteria users get matched by? e.g. geographical location, interests etc

Step 5. Search Criteria. Your website will need a search facility, what are the criteria for the search. Can you search via location, gender, age, amount of children, interest etc.

Step 6. Taking payments. Next is working out how you will make money from the site, how often you get paid and how you get paid. Your webs developer needs to understand if you are offering a trial free period and if so for how long, how does a member pay for membership, is it based on a flat annual or monthly fee, is it automatically renewed, perhaps it is not an annual fee but based on how many members you can interact with etc. How will you accept payments, Stripe, Paypal, Payment gateway?

There is of course much more detail to be discovered and we have used a dating site as an example but hopefully you have found this information a helpful tool to apply the practices to your project so you can gather the information together before speaking to web design companies to get a quote for your project!

If you want to chat to us about your ideas, give us a call today on 1300 858 495.