My project/website is in the development phase, but I do have everything in mind (how it works from a - z). Besides creating a coming soon page with email subscription, is there anything else I can do (I do believe there is)? Please kindly give me some tips.
I planned to hire some animation company (a budget one) to create an animation / flash animation in 2D to explain how my website works, and to introduce ourselves to the client too.
Do you think it is a good idea to spend money on this?
Do you think before the website is done, I should hire someone to write a press release?
Do you guys have any tips for me?
Since I don't know anything about your site or it's operation, here's a few general tips that worked for me.
1] Begin At The End -
Some call this the backwards forward principle, but the basic idea is to put yourself in your client's shoes starting from the end result. An ecommerce site would start with shipping. A service oriented site would start with a contract (or order).
This approach solves several issues at once. First, it allows you to ensure the site user will have the best possible experience. Nothing's more horrible to visit a flashy, fancy site and eventually reach the payoff (end) only to discover problems. This happens a lot and tells me the company is a little shaky. Many times it stops me from ordering.
Secondly, your site will be constructed in a more streamlined manner. If all your content is tailored toward the end result you'll find you've created a natural flow from beginning to end. No fluff, no leading your clients down a dark alley. Just a pure connect the dots flow, from A to B to C.
2] Keep It Simple -
You are very close to your project and know a zillion details you want to share. It's OK to make that information available for those willing to go the extra mile and do some homework. But most users want the simplified version.
Boil it all down to an elevator presentation and make that your sites primary focus. You may then offer more details via links for those who want to dig deeper.
Presumably your development team has some sort of unfinished product that you can show around. Take screen shots or mockups or whatever you can from your developers and start collecting feedback from potential users. Ask them to walk you through very simple workflows using the mockups and find out where the pain points are. Here's a simple how-to on doing user testing with mockups: from 24ways.
Ultimately the answer for this depends on how complex the project is, and also what learning style your client prefers, however with all of my client projects, I've never considered having a third party create an animation for documentation mainly because as a developer, I usually take notes during development and simply spruce them up, and hand them over to the client upon project completion.
That typically serves as a foundation to help with if they decide to use a different developer down the road, and it also provides a pretty solid overview of the basic functionality.
In addition, usually I'll bill an hour or two for on-site or remote training where I'd directly walk the clients through, and I'll also draft more through guides and even send over some of the resources I use, to help out.
Aside from that, typically I keep training to direct work, or documentation because with videos, I've found it to be a hassle to have clients constantly rewind blindly to find a key point -- although what I just said is purely from my experience and ultimately the training method should be chosen with the clients best interest in mind.