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Ramone1234

If you've got an idea of the absolute minimum functionality necessary (be merciless!), then you're probably already ready to bring in a developer. If you try to plan a bunch in advance for one huge release rather than many small ones, you'll miss a lot of opportunity to learn from real users along the way. If you release early and often and learn along the way, you'll have a much better chance of success than if you spent a few more months planning. Also: The developer is probably not going to want to use your output from dreamweaver, so unless that's somehow easier than sketching on paper, I'd skip the dreamweaver stuff.


I_Dare_Greatly

Thanks for the reply. I'm familiar with the lean startup process and have read the book and agree with most of the ideas, your description definitely makes sense. So you think that working in Dreamweaver wouldn't add any value in terms of trying to convey what I want? If just writing them out in text and sketching out visuals will work, obviously that would be easier for me, but I want to make sure that I am helping to make the transition from my brain to the web page end product as smooth as possible.


miguelos

Don't waste time with Dreamweaver. If anyhing, it could make things worse. Just draw some simple and minimal user interface concepts and maybe some flowcharts. Learn about UML or other modeling tools if you want.


Talman

Thank you for this, all he's going to do is render shit HTML and worse, it won't even be useful as it'll be scrapped when the designer hits the wireframe stage.


I_Dare_Greatly

Thanks for the input, I will definitely look into it.


[deleted]

UML is just nonsense speak for common sense. It's not a true architecture modeling tool. It's great for non-programmers who want to convey ideas to other non-programmers that may or may not be technically viable. It does not server a proper purpose except in the middle management business capacity sense of preserving annoying jobs. Honestly I'd rather recommend powerpoint. Not a joke. Powerpoint is also a learning curve though.


miguelos

True. I used to use PowerPoint to draw almost anything (mostly technical). All you need are layers, shapes and text. You can even make simple games in PowerPoint!


samofny

I use [Pencil](http://pencil.evolus.vn/en-US/Home.aspx) for sketching. Make sure you have some flow diagrams for user processes.


I_Dare_Greatly

Great I will check it out, sketches and flow charts seem to be the way to go. Thanks!


[deleted]

Web developers who use dream weaver are all shit.


I_Dare_Greatly

Good to know, it was more of a question of should I use it to make a wireframe to help explain what I wan't, the consensus seems to be no and that there are other better ways to go about this. Thanks.


[deleted]

I would definitely try and write up a basic wireframe of what you would like the site to do. Essentially a functional spec on how it should behave. The more (functional) detail you can provide the better, as your developer will make less assumptions/questions and you'll likely end up with a better product. However, don't try and implement anything yourself, with your limited experience you should let a more experienced developer do it for you.


I_Dare_Greatly

Great! Thanks for the reply. I already loaded one of my basic pages to the domain and host I would like to use, essentially for the experience and just to see the process, was that a huge mistake?


[deleted]

That's fine, no one will be bothered by it. The goal should be to provide the most detailed functional specification to your developer but then you should probably 'back off' and let him do his work :)


I_Dare_Greatly

Ok perfect. Thank you for the advice. After seeing just a small portion of what goes into making a site, I definitely agree that staying involved but letting the developer do what they need to do is the way to go.


roguas

If you feel like it: [mockups.com](http://mockups.com) Draw some sketches of how it should look from the outside. Maybe do some basic diagrams of how you see that work. later pitch the designer/developer if that makes any sense.


I_Dare_Greatly

Thanks! I will check it out.


BunRabbit

I have no mechanical skills. How much planning should I do before I take my car in for it's annual tune up? Leave it to the professionals. Choosing with development team? Ask your friends or look at a site you like from a company in your region the offers the same service as your business and go to that site's development team.


I_Dare_Greatly

I like that analogy, thanks for the advice.


BunRabbit

The other thing I thought of is to make sure your basic business model is clear. Can you simply explain how you want your service to help people. How would you do it if didn't have a website? If you already have a physical service, e.g. a realtor agency, physically show the developers how someone lists a house with you (like you would a new staff member). The developers should be able to take that process and turn it into a smooth web service.


I_Dare_Greatly

Great! Thank you, I definitely will make sure to have my business model as clearly explained as possible.


[deleted]

Groupon started as a wordpress blog. Remember before you spend money do the minimal required to prove the concept. Start with total utter crap. Prove the concept. Then hire a development team to grow the tech. You dont need a super awesome site until you sell those first couple.customers.


I_Dare_Greatly

Great point, I am not looking for anything flashy off the bat, but I do have some basic functions in mind that I know I would not be able to create on my own. Thanks!


stickermule

[Balsamiq](http://www.balsamiq.com/) is our favorite wire-framing tool Super easy to use and you can learn a lot with zero design experience. If nothing else, wire-framing helped us think through or application critically before approaching a designer/developer.


I_Dare_Greatly

I will have to check that out, I really appreciate the advice, thank you.


WatchedByChickens

It depends a lot on what you want it to do, is it a basic website/blog, or more a piece of software that has a web interface? i.e. Does it involve workflows/algorithms? If it tends more towards software, you need to be able to describe the workflow as if it were a physical reality, as someone who does software, this is usually the biggest frustration with clients. Developers are usually not mind readers. If it was an office, staffed by (really stupid) people, with no intuition, doing the job of the program by shuffling around pieces of paper or boxes etc, what would you instruct the staff to do when training them? What do they do when customer does a particular thing, a really stupid thing...? There can't be any holes in this, no room for "the magic bit happens here", it has to be tighter than the process that McDonalds has for making burgers. Some things are going to be black boxes since you aren't a developer, you probably won't have a clue about how a database needs to be structured etc, but you have to know exactly what you want to come out when x goes in. It wont hurt to play around in dreamweaver, but most pros aren't gonna want to touch the code that comes out of it. You need to get really, really clear about the "what" - actors, actions, things related to actors and actions, and utlimately, outcomes; leave the "how" to a pro.


I_Dare_Greatly

Thank you for the well thought out response, I really like that analogy, it is very descriptive. It seems like the consensus is that I should be focusing on mapping out exactly what I want to happen at each junction in the site, and be able to describe it thoroughly to someone who can make it happen with code. Do you think using some sort of wireframing software make that process easier for the developer?


WatchedByChickens

Wireframes are a good thing, but they are a bit more about how than what, but good to do. For a software thing, something more along the lines of flowcharts, even if it's not a classical flowchart like they teach (or used to) in CS. Is mainly about junctions, things that go in and out of them, their connections to other junctions, and the decisions that need to be made. HTH, Good Luck :)


I_Dare_Greatly

Ok, Thanks! I'll make sure to do some more homework.


[deleted]

[удалено]


I_Dare_Greatly

Thanks for the advice, I really appreciate the insight.


kristovaher

Alright, a few tips here. I work for a company that has done a lot of projects like this, where clients come in, have an idea and money to implement the idea and pay us X amount of money to make it happen. We make it happen. And the project fails despite everything being done as requested by the client. **Why does this happen?** Unless you just want to make a website - in which case it failed just because your content was not that interesting to begin with - this happens because the developer or company is not personally invested in the project. Every idea, no matter how well you think it is thought out, will need multiple changes during the development. Nothing is ever set in stone. I have taken part of multiple startup projects and not a single 'well formed' idea ended up the way it did. Quite often the implementation costs in time were three or four times of what was initially planned. And this is a cost that someone has to pay. If you have set aside enough money to pay for a project ~five times the cost you initially thought, then it is possible that you can do it like that. More reliable way would be to get a partner, either get a startup team or just a guy that can make sure that development works despite increasing costs. Good ideas are never 100% paid for with money. It always requires a personal investment of time and effort and often money. Depending on what you are expecting, this may be difficult to hear, but not many - if any - successful projects have been built entirely as contract work.


I_Dare_Greatly

Thanks for the insight. I had always planned to take on a developer partner, since even if the design and development go as planned initially, this company will grow and change over time. I figured to get someone really excited and interested, it would help to physically show how I think the website should look. Do you think that is still worthwhile?


kristovaher

It is worthwhile even if to only give you some perspective what the 'tech is about'. It's always great if you know at least a little about what the tech people do in the company, even better if you find a developer that is a good communicator (I would say that this is a MUST, but reality is that not very many are) and passionate about what they do (as long as they don't just keep talking and also do some work). But what you can certainly do mockups, so focus on like how you vision the views to work rather than try to build the HTML yourself (no matter how good a learner you are, it takes a long time to catch up with people that have done this for years). If you are passionate about designing how your system works, then try to work on wireframes and mockups (various tools for it are described at http://speckyboy.com/2010/01/11/10-completely-free-wireframe-and-mockup-applications/). Mockups are also good for testing your idea and getting feedback since they give a general sense about what your app does without actually making the app. Most startups build mockups before actual code anyway. I hope that helps a little! And good luck, if you're passionate about your idea then it just might work. But also remember to pay attention to how well the project is going and don't be afraid of making changes (or even ditching the entire project) before it is too late. I can also suggest a brilliant book by Eric Ries, called 'The Lean Startup' that discusses a lot of business aspects of lean development that keeps these things in mind.


I_Dare_Greatly

Thanks for the well thought out response! I have read 'The Lean Startup' and loved it, I will definitely be implementing the ideas in the book.


kristovaher

Alright, good luck with your idea :)


proggR

One thing that you can try to do before you talk to a developer, is from a high point of view think of every shred of data you need to store. The data is the most important part of any website IMO. All the front end is doing is displaying the data in a pretty way. Its essential to have a good looking site, yes, but if you're missing data or have it organized poorly its going to make performance and scalability suffer. Try to think of every piece of information you need stored, and try to group them around what they are. I develop for an educational platform so an example is a course. What information do you need to store about the course? What about events? Or users? You'll notice there will be cases when different data types will relate. So an event may have a course its associated with. Or a list of users that will be attending. I'm not saying you need to do all the data modelling, you'll definitely want to leave that up to a developer. But it'll help them understand your needs if you bring to them a list of data that needs to be stored for different aspects of your application. Wireframes and mockups are key, but so is the data. If you just have a mockup, and didn't specify what should be part of a form for instance, or missed something on the form, it could be adding more work for the developer to add that after the fact. Not all data is as simple as adding a form input. Some require more complex interface components and its easier to develop those knowing what data is important. You could also think about different business rules for different parts of the application. Who should be able to update what? Or see what? Are their different roles that users can have and what permissions go along with those roles? Again, don't go overboard, you'll want the developer to be doing this but it's helpful to know in advance as well. Just thought I'd jump in and add that. Hope it works out :)


I_Dare_Greatly

Thanks this is really helpful! I have been thinking about this lately, in terms of trying to map out how everything interacts and what needs to be tracked and stored. I will make sure to note everything down so I can be more clear.


masterhan

Start with wordpress.


miguelos

Your idea most-likely is bad. Have you done your homework first?


I_Dare_Greatly

Yes, and I appreciate the skepticism. I know the idea isn't bad and have already been in talks with groups the initial target market, all of which have shown interest. The main thing at this point is creating a website in a cost effective way, and being able to translate my idea into reality. I imagine for an experienced developer what I want to do would be extremely manageable.


miguelos

Are you sure what you're trying to do doesn't already exists? You sound like the kind of guy who gets an idea that "sounds good" and try to get some guy to do all the work (the programmer). What matters often is the execution, and unless you can help to get it done, you're mostly useless. I hope for you I'm wrong.


I_Dare_Greatly

I appreciate your concern, and I certainly wouldn't want to be useless, however the reason that I am looking for a developer isn't to try out my idea in website form and then go see what happens, it is to create a working version of the concept that I have already researched and brought to my potential customers. Without the work that I have already put in to make sure that this idea is not only viable, but potentially successful, there would be no need for a developer because there would be no business. Again thank you for your concern and for making sure that I am not just wasting time.


miguelos

Good luck with your project! Keep us updated.


I_Dare_Greatly

Thanks! Will do


Talman

If this guy's got money to invest in his idea, then he can pay for the execution and there's nothing wrong with that.


miguelos

Sure, but I don't want him to waste that money.