Starting a full scale website redesigning can be an exciting, if not challenging, undertaking. Our Netleaf Software team follow top tips for the website redesigning process.
How do you decide on your goals?
Creating a more intuitive user experience meant improving navigation structures and the information architecture. Search needed to be fully fleshed out with improved taxonomies and the content reorganized with user experience in mind. It is important to not only identify the challenges facing users, but to tie measurable KPI’s to them.
How do you identify these user needs? Feedback from user studies, navigation exercises, and different business units were used to pinpoint these goals. Netleaf explains, “We interviewed stakeholders upfront to get an idea of KPIs and understanding of individual content area goals. Our main goals were to enhance the usability and findability of our content on the website, thereby increasing views, retention, membership, and so on. We hoped this would directly correlate to increased advertising revenue once targets were reached.
How do you choose the right digital agency?
Finding the right agency can be a challenge, but Netleaf says there are key elements you can look for. Our decision should based on analyzing the need for an open source platform. Netleaf gave much needed support in validating the CMS choice. Netleaf is able to leverage their experience in Drupal and WordPress development to offer solid, informed recommendations for an open source CMS. Establishing these open lines of communication from the start also helps create a transparent and beneficial process for all.
What are the steps involved?
Undoubtedly, the redesign process is different for each client. There are many moving parts which either the agency or the organization can handle, from user journeys to user testing, proto personas, information architecture, branding, style guides, wireframes, and more. Our Client explains, “We came to the table with wireframes/mockups and Netleaf was able to turn that into a more fully fleshed out design.” Netleaf’s design team elaborated on the wires, fleshing out the blocked out shapes and annotations for content types with concrete text and curated placeholder images.
What tips or tricks can help move the process along?
Our Client explains that it’s vital to schedule enough time for design and to understand that what you see is a work in progress, not the finished product. Many aspects of a design are flexible, coming to life only when they are built out. The reality is that you will go back and forth for weeks until it meets your vision.
What tools can help make the process a success?
Having the right tools in place can make the redesign process easier for everyone involved. We have our own project management tools to keep the project on track.
What are some lessons learned?
“Getting our IT team to talk with the developers and the agency, and keeping everyone on the same page, was a challenge,” Our client said. “Keeping track of the thousands of little pieces along the way through the QC process was also challenge. We’ve learned we need to have a buttoned up process for tracking status.”
From the agency side, transparency is key. With a background in Project Management, Netleaf offers some ideas to improve the process even further. Our Client says that agencies can often try to keep the inner workings under wraps for the benefit of the client, but this can actually backfire. There is pressure on everyone from above as far as status updates, milestones, deliverables, and dependencies are concerned, so a solid PM and good tools are needed to keep everything in line. Netleaf says it’s important for agencies to be open and transparent, working together to improve key touchpoints.