The importance of planning before redesigning a website
We work on a lot of website redesign projects and the most valuable lesson that we have learnt from these projects is the importance of planning before redesigning a website.
All of our clients recognise the need to have a website that looks professional, crisp and modern, but most of the time they do not foresee how much work is required of them.
To help you prepare for a website redesign we’ve prepared some tips that we believe will save you a lot of time and headaches during the development process:
1-Talk to your clients and stakeholders
When redesigning your existing website, your first step should be to ask your stakeholders and some of your clients what they think about your existing website. Start by asking them what works well and what can or should be improved. Spending time understanding the needs of your stakeholders and your users will eliminate bias assumptions and set you on the right path. Sometimes it is better to outsource this work as part of the website redesign. Your website designer may access more unbiased information that they can report back to you and which can then be used in the design process.
2- Set goals
Your website goals need to be clear from the start. Whilst a website should look good it should also help you to achieve your goals. For a lot of our Not For Profit clients, these goals include attracting potential funders, providing information to their clients, freeing up admin staff, or increasing online donations. It is important to keep your goals consistent with your unique social value proposition to maintain your brand message.
3- Create content
Review your findings and start creating content that addresses those findings. Having a clear understanding of who your users are will help you create content that is specifically tailored to what your user needs and expects to find. It will also help you get rid of any unnecessary content in your current website.
4- Create a brief
Write a brief for a designer that summarises all of your findings. The brief should reflect your organisation’s requirements and incorporate what you’ve learned. This brief will help your designer or agency understand what you want to achieve with this project and set the desired expectations. This document will help you and the agency set a common focus, and reduce the amount of time spent working on unnecessary elements.
By spending time doing user research you will reduce risk. Your CEO and board members can feel comfortable knowing that their budget is being spent on creating a website that validates your user’s needs and expectations. The research will also ensure that you are providing the right message and service to your clients.