How Many People Does it Take to Build a Website?

by Christian Knoebel

2,397 and counting.

(In a previous blog post I had counted 650, leaving out a couple of groups I account for here.)

Why so many? One of our goals for the new princeton.edu was a site that works for the people who use it. In practice that meant a collaborative and transparent process that's open to ideas.

To get there, we created this blog, promoted it and other steps along the way on princeton.edu, and were featured in a Daily Princetonian article. We held focus groups, collaborated with stakeholders and site users, made presentations to anyone who’d listen (I presented to about 30 groups), had our design partner hold their own discovery meetings, sponsored surveys, tested with real site users, vacuumed up any reports and research we could find, held a public preview, and created a beta site to gather feedback.

A lot of people participated. Here’s how we got to 2,397:

  • People doing direct work on the site, including the project team, design partner and advisory committee: 55 people
  • Stakeholders and users: Over 100 people in 33 separate groups
  • Usability and user experience test subjects: 328
  • Blog commenters: 135
  • Audience survey participants: 1,475
  • Beta commenters: 304 and counting

The beta site today reflects the input of each of these 2,397 people.