Sometimes, your organization realizes that it’s website isn’t doing the job it’s intended for. If you haven’t had your website redesigned yet, chances are that the process will go much more smoothly if you take a few things into account.
Define Strategy and Goals First
If you’re redesigning just for the purpose of redesigning, you’re doing it wrong. You shouldn’t be redesigning your website until you:
- Have defined the problems with the old site
- Have considered multiple solutions
- Have decided which solution you want to implement and how
- Have a design document that summarizes and details each of the above points.
Being able to articulately state the purpose of your redesign will help the project stay focused and on point.
Search, Ponder, and Play
Just like you wouldn’t remodel you home without putting ample effort into researching the city code, looking at examples, and possibly even sketching basic samples of what you want to see, you shouldn’t jump straight into a website renovation, either. If you need to hire a consultant to analyze your web traffic data, user feedback, and so on, do it. Major universities and corporations often put months into this step alone — giving it a couple of weeks at least is a good idea.
Keep Modern Standards In Mind
If you’re going to rebuild from the ground up, do it with all of the latest standards and technologies in mind. There are also legal ramifications — for example, the Americans with Disabilities Act section 508 lists a variety of standards that any business-oriented website should do their best to adhere to.
Think Like a Project Manager
Each website redesign needs to be handled like any other business project — with a defined scope, a budget, and predefined resources. Talk with your web designer about your schedule, manage expectations, and assign someone detail-oriented to orient themselves on the details. Don’t set a timeline so tight that you’ll need to cut corners, but don’t set one so loose that you loose urgency.
Audit Your Content
There’s no better time for a hardcore content audit than during a full-scale redesign. You’re already going to be collecting feedback and analyzing data; use it to improve your message as well as the framework it’s being delivered in.
Test As You Go
Test each stage of the design before moving to the next. Test paper designs before you build wireframes, wireframes before you choose fonts and pictures, alpha pages before coding the final homepage, and the homepage in private before it’s released to the public. Every test you perform is a load of upset end users you’re skipping out on down the road.
Dedicate Yourself to Incremental Improvements Hereafter
Once your website is done, don’t think you’re going to just leave your site alone. Insist on constant tests, collection of feedback, and small, incremental improvements. Consider how often you’ve seen Amazon, eBay, or other major, often-used websites suddenly change their whole layout. They don’t, and neither should you: make things better in small ways, but unless your new design is failing utterly in some key way, leave it alone. You’ll build a better brand that way.