We often talk about website redesigns on our blog. We help customers daily with implementing our OU Campus™ web content management system (CMS) into a new design and we have learned a thing or two along the way. When it came time to redesign our own site, we were armed and ready (as ready as we could be, at least!).
Website redesigns can be a bear, but if managed properly, they are extremely worth your time and investment. Whether you go it alone like our friends at Charter Oak State College, or you team up with a design partner like we did with NewCity, here’s 5 important questions to keep in mind during the redesign process:
1. What are your expectations?
Setting expectations upfront is critical. From timelines and costs, to design details and deliverables. It's important that everyone involved is on the same page and agrees to the expectations outlined. Communication is key. And remember that expectations don't have to be set in stone. They should continue to be assessed and revised as needed throughout project execution.
2. Who's in charge?
Every project should have a project manager—someone who can keep the project on track, guide discussions as needed, and work cross-functionally with all teams involved, including the designers, developers, content creators, and, let's not forget, the executive management team.
3. What resources are at your disposal?
Before getting started, it's important to assess what resources you have to work with, including people and tools. Do you have a web developer on your team or will you need to outsource those responsibilities? Do you have designated content writers and reviewers who can refresh content as needed? How will your CMS factor into the redesign?
4. What content are you migrating and how are you migrating it?
Settling on the new design of your site is only half of the equation. You need to do a comprehensive audit and figure out what content you need to create from scratch, what content needs a modest update, and what content can be moved over as is. Once you've determined what content is getting what treatment and where it is going, you need to plan for how it's going to get there. Check out our ebook for different migration strategies and tips.
5. How are you going to handle internal feedback?
The day (or even the hour) your new site goes live, it's almost a guarantee you're going to get a call, IM, or email that something is broken or missing. Having a process in place for internal feedback before your new site goes live is imperative. You want to be able to properly track the feedback and prioritize as needed.
After much anticipation, our redesigned omniupdate.com launched on August 2, 2017. We definitely had our bumps in the road, but that's to be expected and we learned from those experiences. We also expected some fires the morning of the launch, but thankfully we just had a few sparks—nothing we hadn't prepared for. I'd like to say the project is complete and we're moving on to the next adventure, but a website is a like a car—it needs gas (content), regular maintenance (quality checks), and perhaps a paint touchup every few years (site redesign). So, we'll put away the paint swatches for now, but it won't be all that long till we're at it again.
If you haven't had a chance to peruse the new omniupdate.com, give it a peek and let us know what you think.
For more tips on planning a website redesign, check out these blog posts: