The Web Platform
March 7–8, 2016: Training
March 8–10, 2016: Conference
San Francisco, CA

Planning successful products

Jen Kramer (Harvard University Extension School), Heather O'Neill (Pixels for Humans)
9:00am–5:00pm Monday & Tuesday, March 7-8

All training courses take place 9:00am - 5:00pm, Monday, March 7 through Tuesday, March 8. Each training course is limited in size to maintain a high level of hands-on learning and instructor interaction.

Participants should plan to attend both days of this 2-day training course. Training passes do not include access to tutorials on Tuesday.

Average rating: *****
(5.00, 1 rating)

With all the courses available online, it’s easy to access the technical tools needed to build a website. However, the actual process of how to go about it is less clear: what goes on the website, who it’s for, and how it should be organized are just a few of the questions that need to be answered before coding can begin.

In this 2-day training, Jen Kramer and Heather O’Neill explain how to plan and design a website—from choosing a target audience and defining site goals to designing a page architecture and establishing a tone of voice. By the end of the course, you’ll be able to plan and design a website or application so that when you’re ready to code, you know what you are building.

This course is not a coding course; it focuses on the other aspects of web creation.

Day 1 overview

On Day 1, we create the foundation for our plan. We review important information about our business, then see how it relates it to the website or app we are building and the people we need to reach. Key areas of focus include:

  • Business overview and goals
  • Website or app project plan
  • Ethnographic studies
  • Market research
  • Persona development and creation
  • Branding and tone of voice

Day 2 overview

On Day 2, we use our basic plan to determine the impact on the design of our app or website. We define the bare bones of the site, using user testing to confirm the direction we choose. We prioritize the next steps, and we finalize our plan for moving forward. Key areas of focus include:

  • Information architecture and card sorting
  • User flows
  • Scenarios
  • Usability testing
  • Analysis and prioritization


  • Understand how organizational goals, user goals, and goals for the website or app are different, including how they potentially conflict and how they reinforce and build on each other
  • Identify relevant personas to help drive development features, functionality, and architecture
  • Recognize the appropriate brand and tone of voice for the app or website and learn how to implement them
  • Develop appropriate information architecture and user flows
  • Create scenarios to test user flows and information architecture
  • Test scenarios through usability testing
  • Perform analysis of prioritization of results and develop next steps
Photo of Jen Kramer

Jen Kramer

Harvard University Extension School

Jen Kramer is a Lecturer at Harvard University Extension School in the Master’s of Liberal Arts in Digital Media Design program, where she teaches five courses per year, advises students, and assists in curriculum design. Jen is also a prolific video author and has created more than 30 training courses for, O’Reilly Media, osTraining, and Frontend Masters. She is also available for individual private tutoring, customized classroom training, and occasional freelance web design work. Jen holds a BS in biology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MS in internet strategy management at the Marlboro College Graduate School.

Photo of Heather O'Neill

Heather O'Neill

Pixels for Humans

Heather O’Neill is a seasoned UX consultant, researcher, and speaker currently running the UX design studio Pixels for Humans. In her daily life at Pixels, as well as in her former role as head of UX at Oliver Wyman Labs, she helps her team push past unconscious assumptions and work collaboratively on usable solutions for various projects. Throughout her career, Heather has increased sales, decreased CSR calls, maximized team efficiency, and more. A big believer in the “anyone can do it” philosophy, Heather has led multiple workshops on usability testing and coached teams to success in incorporating UX practices into their project and product lifecycles.