12 November 2010

Assured: The process

How is Assured being made?

First of all was eliciting requirements. The main objective was the most important: getting people to use the website and sign up for insurance advice. From this, all else derived.

From my experience, these one line 'orders' are very useful because they carry the essence of what should be done. When working on projects, sometimes it's easy to get lost in details. It's important to keep dragging back to this 'order' to see if what is being done contributes towards it or not.

Resources: low, pretty much on my own here.

Tasks: Design and develop the site.

Requirements: don't turn users away! This means supporting lots of older browsers so that pretty much any customer can use the site. Of course this means lots of technical requirements in terms of supporting lots of browsers. The full list is:

  • Firefox
  • Opera
  • Chrome
  • Safari
  • IE8
  • IE7
  • IE6
  • IE5.5
This is as close to 100% coverage as we can get (sorry users of Lynx / Links and early graphic browsers). However, IE5.5 and IE6.0 are the awkward ones (IE6 especially). Some CSS hacking was needed for rendering to be consistent.

The IA was next: quite simple indeed and for now there is no need for it to be complex: there is little dynamic content, no online quotes (due to resource constraints), and not much to communicate. This meant that a simple home page as chief with 5 pages in the second level hierarchy was all that was needed. Information was then partitioned throughout the site.

The initial template design was done by an external company, Downing Design, and their template required some modifications for information outside of the landing page. This was coded by hand and Chrome was used as the primary testbed. Firefox and Safari rendered pretty much the same as did Opera. IE was the usual kettle of fish but the CSS hacking got around most IE problems.

There are still outstanding tasks for the design - the main requirement was to create something that works and worry about the working well bit after.

So remaining to be done:

  • Improve the content mindful of SEO
  • Improve the form's design
  • Review, test and get feedback
My thoughts on the form were to have 'help' bubbles alongside each of the two fields: both would have a muted colour (e.g, light blue) when and only when the associated field has focus - in which case, the bubbles would be highlighted (e.g., orange). This requires some jquery code but I'm very comfortable with it.

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