How to write a good technical requirement specification for a website

How to write a good technical requirement specification for a website

Building a great website requires comprehensive planning. It's the only way you can ensure it will meet your goals precisely and provide a high level of customer satisfaction.

Here is where a technical requirement specification is very helpful. Whenever you want to build a new website, introduce a major new feature, or make a website redesign, you will need a document like this.

What is the technical requirement specification?

A technical requirement specification document for a website or other software product defines its purpose, functionalities, and behavior. In other words, it defines what the website is for, what it should do, and how.

There is an abbreviation for the software requirement specification — SRS. Technical specifications, or specs, are also a popular term to describe the project requirements. Another term — product requirements document (PRD) — is often used interchangeably with it. There is also the Business Requirement Document (BRD) term, which focuses more on the business perspectives of the project.

There may be variations in how the requirement document should look, but it should perform its main goal of making sure both the Product Owner and the web development team have clearly agreed on the future website details. A good specification leads to precise project estimation and implementation.

This does not mean you cannot make changes to your project in the future. According to the Agile methodology, changes are welcome, feedback is taken into account, and the work is done in iterations (short periods of time). So a technical requirement document is not meant to restrict your flexibility — it just offers a substantial starting point and something to be guided by.

Parts of a requirements document

As outlined above, the elements of a requirement document may differ, and you will find different templates from different sources. So there is probably no list of what a typical requirements specification document includes.

However, let’s outline our version of the technical specification document structure that carries the minimum necessary information. It is based on the best project planning practices and recommendations. It also follows the Agile principles, which describes website features as “user stories.”

Here goes a good structure for a requirement document:

  1. Purpose
  2. User personas
  3. User stories (features)
  4. Website structure
  5. Page descriptions
  6. Wireframes
  7. Non-functional requirements
Parts of a technical requirements specification document

1. Purpose of the product

The starting part of the technical requirements document describes what your website or other digital product is for, what problems it solves, what visions and expectations are associated with it, etc.

2. User personas

When it is clear who your product is for, it’s easy to meet these users’ needs. So it’s great when the technical specification includes user personas — the portraits of your target customers that include their relevant characteristics.

3. User stories (features)

User stories are descriptions of features from the point of view of user personas. They are about what they should be able to do on your website and how it should behave. User stories should also have their release criteria (the testable criteria to define when they are successfully accomplished).

4. Website structure

Next, there should be a sitemap that lists the key pages of your future website. It should also include the hierarchy between these pages.

5. Page descriptions

Next in your technical requirements document is the descriptions of key points that should be presented on every website page.

6. Wireframes

Wireframes or page layouts with the placement of elements are a very useful part of a technical specification document. Wireframes are usually optional but, for complex projects, they are required.

7. Non-functional requirements

Non-functional requirements are focused not on what the website does, but how it performs. For example, you can state it should be able handle 1000 visitors at a time, have a responsive design, support specific browsers, etc.

Tips for writing a good requirements document

Make it concise and informative at the same time

Your requirement specifications need a good balance of being concise and being detailed. In Agile development, long “novels” are not a good fit. So the document should cover the essentials of your product.

Make it easy to read

This will make sure your ideas are understood clearly, so use straightforward language and structure:

  • write in simple and short sentences
  • avoid overstuffed paragraphs
  • use bulleted and numbered lists
  • be consistent in terms throughout the document

Give it to your stakeholders for review

Everyone who makes important decisions in your company should see the technical specification document in order to avoid future misunderstandings.

Let us help you with your specification requirements!

All the above-described tips on writing a specification requirement document do not mean you have to do it yourself. Our digital agency specialists are ready to help you with it as long as you share your future project’s vision and goals. A good start for a project contributes to its successful completion!

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