Whether your tossing around the idea or firmly made up your mind, there are some things you need to consider prior to initiating a website redesign project. We call it pre-planning, and it can save you oodles of time, frustration, and money. Vivid Image has been designing and redesigning websites for over 20 years. We’ve seen just about every scenario play out, and we have a distinct advantage of helping literally hundreds and hundreds of small businesses, larger businesses, and non-profit organizations go through the website redesign process. The following “best practice” suggestions are a culmination of our extensive project experience, customer feedback, and staff input that will help make your redesign project run like clockwork and exceed your expectations.
Is this the best time to go through a redesign process?
Check with others at your organization to make sure there aren’t other major changes in the pipeline that will either pull at staff resources or create undue stress such as remodeling and expansion projects, new employees starting, company buyout, new product launch, branding changes, new leadership, budget or staff role changes, etc.
Get Ready. Time has marched on since your last website design.
This is a highly technical and quickly changing industry, so your previous web design (or redesign) process is likely different from the new redesign questions and methods we’ll guide you through. What works with today’s users, website visitor expectations, and what grabs attention and converts visitors into customers has changed, along with the tools, technologies, and applications needed for a new website.
Perceptions of what is “good practice” change over time as we learn more about how we use the web and as new devices emerge. A perfect example is the concept of the fold. A few years ago, you would aim to keep content above the fold and avoid scrolling. However, the development of portrait-style mobile and tablet usage has educated users to expect to scroll. The recent swathe of scrolling parallax-style websites proves this.
Have you scheduled an internal meeting, your most important “first step”?
This is a critical step prior to meeting for your website redesign intake meeting. This will help keep costs down and momentum going in the right direction. You have quite a bit to cover, so use this checklist:
- Assemble staff and have a discussion about ideas for a new website, what’s working, what’s not working, what online processes would help make their jobs easier.
- Identify 2 people who will proceed with the website redesign process and represent the organization throughout the entire process. Limit the number to no more than 2 or 3 people who would be involved in the initial intake design meeting, and clearly identify one person who can make decisions and serve as a point person on the project.
- Do you have a business plan? Are there changes that are being made that will effect the redesign process? Are you making changes to your vision and mission? Do you have a marketing plan? Find these items and bring with you to the redesign intake meeting.
- Anyone working with Vivid Image will get a specific questionnaire to complete, which should also be completed prior to the intake meeting. Bring the questionnaire with you to the first redesign intake meeting.
- Does your logo need a redesign or need updating? Decide that before going into a website redesign.
- Are you going to need new or refreshed content for the new website? Who is going to gather and write it? Decide now. If nobody is stepping forward now, it’s unlikely they will later in the process. It’s critical you address content needs early on or budget for content writing in the redesign project.
- Do you need new staff photos or product photography? That can be scheduled prior to beginning the website redesign process, as it can take time to coordinate and get what is needed.
- Collect all print materials, brochures, ads, etc that you have and have them ready to bring with to the first redesign intake meeting.
- Who has your domain name? Who registered it? Are there any that need to get purchased? Track down passwords and people now, so it doesn’t hold up the process later. Bring any passwords (Google Analytics, Domain, etc) with you to the redesign intake meeting.
Now is the time to shop!
Now is the time to look at ideas online and gather examples of websites and functionality you really like. Take note of these websites that will serve as inspiration for your new design. The window of opportunity to “shop” for ideas needs to close once the redesign process moves forward and decisions are made. Therefore, take full advantage of this time to look through as many websites as you’d like.
We can’t wait to hear your ideas and see your inspiring website examples. We’ll walk you through the redesign process and make all of this seem quite simple and enjoyable.