Managing a comprehensive website redesign for your college or university can be a fulltime job. Once you have defined the parameters of the project, your next step is deciding whether it’s an internal or external project. Can you handle the project in house, or do you need an external vendor to manage the actual redesign?
Internal Redesign Team
Does your internal staff have the time, talent, and expertise to plan and execute your website redesign? Consider these questions:
- Do you have dedicated staff who can plan, design, and graphically implement a redesign?
- Can your internal staff afford to step away from their normal roles for an extended period of time?
- Does in-house talent have the ability to create and oversee the information architecture for your site?
- Do you have someone well-versed in development, copywriting, SEO, UX, and marketing in-house?
- To handle front-end, back-end, and UI coding needs, do you have coders who are experts in the latest development frameworks such as Agile or SCRUM?
Having the time and expertise to execute a major project is often a roadblock for schools that want to do their own redesign—not to mention how draining it can be for an internal team that doesn’t do redesign on a daily basis. However, there is an intrinsic benefit to choosing an internal redesign team. Because they already know your institution intimately, they can make choices that reflect this knowledge.
External Redesign Team
If you don’t have the time and talent to oversee a website redesign in-house, an external vendor may be the right fit for your school. In addition to doing the design work, an external design team can assist with audience personas, manage your timeline, and conduct resource assessments. You’ll want to schedule several meetings up front to ensure they understand your institution’s goals, as well as to develop a working relationship to carry you through the months of the redesign process.
When vetting an external redesign team, ask these questions:
- Does the redesign team specialize in higher education clients?
- Will the team help gather data such as surveys to guide redesign efforts, or will you need to conduct these assessments prior to launching the project?
- Does the team have the technical specialization needed to make your site work the way you want it to?
- How much will you need to be involved in order to ensure success?
- Can you check references to see if past clients are satisfied with the process and outcome?
- Are they knowledgeable about accessibility regulations?
- What type of flexibility will you have regarding design of different pages?
Because your website is an important marketing and communication tool, take the time to research which route is best for your school. Whether you choose an internal or external team, the goal is to produce a smart, attractive website that draws prospective students to your institution.
To learn more about what a comprehensive website redesign in higher education includes, download our white paper, Successful Website Redesign: Comprehensive Planning and Strategy.