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PROJECT PROPOSAL

My project for the Web Development class is to design a website for Mitchellís Hardware, Inc. This is a family owned business in a small town specializing in retail sales and services. The hardware store is located between two major cities and surrounded by small communities. Being in that geographic location makes it difficult to reach the public in an inexpensive manner. Each community surrounding the hardware store is listed in a different phone book making phone number and advertising very costly. These communities consist of farmers, housewives, small businesses and some contractors. This would be the target audience. Areas to be included in the website would be a link to the distributor for the company. People could browse the distributorís catalog for the items they needed. Another possibility would be to have an online order page that would let you place an order and have it ready for pick up later that day. If items were unavailable, you would be notified by phone or email and those items could be ordered for shipment on the next truck. Sometimes men send their wives into the store to pick up parts and the wife has no idea what she is getting. If they could look it up on the website before sending someone to the store, the correct part would be purchased because the customer would have an item number they got on the website. The website would also list all the services and upcoming special sales. Using a coupon or discount for Internet users would keep customers coming back to the website.

The area consists of bedroom communities, small businesses, and farmland. Local painters, handymen and construction companies like to work in the area and would prefer to buy locally if possible. The farmers in the area are doing computerized farming and most have computers in their homes. Computers are in most of the homes in the area and local ISPís that use dial up connection provide access to the Internet. Wireless Internet has not been introduced to the area as of yet. When farmers are in the field, or people are in the middle of a project, they like to send someone else to get their parts. Knowing exactly what you are looking for makes it easier for the sales clerk as well as the person picking up the supplies. Time is important to everyone and if they could get what they need locally it could save them a trip into town. Everyone likes to surf the web and most people like to deal with local merchants. Most of the homes with computers probably have older computers with Pentium 2ís or less. Now that computers are getting less expensive, we will probably see more homes with faster processors. With these faster processors more exciting websites could be created.

Assuming that technology in the area is not quite state of the art, the website will need to be simple yet interesting enough to keep customers coming back. The store has a logo and a color scheme of gray, rust and white. It would be nice to keep that color scheme throughout the website and utilize the logo in the heading. I would like to use tables or frames to place the company name on top and a directory on the side. This would keep the stores name visible at all times and make the site easy to navigate. These navigational buttons would take visitors from page to page. Pages would use headings to get the customers attention. The font size for the general information would probably be kept simple and use bold or italics for emphasizing certain words that need to capture the visitorís attention. There will probably not be too many graphics included because that would make the website take time to load. I would try to stay away from making it to colorful and to busy. The customers are simple people with one purpose in mindÖGet the information I need and get out.