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The Website Redesign Process

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The Website Redesign Process

  1. 1. THE WEBSITE REDESIGN PROCESS Make sure that your redesign project starts on the right foot and solves the right problems Gary Schroeder @gary_schroeder
  2. 2. | 2 Define the Project Goals should be concrete, not vague. For example, a project goal might be to decrease total calls to the Help Desk by 30% or increase the number of users who say they are “fully satisfied” with the website from 25% to 45% in the next 6 months. Your redesign goals may be based on formal user feedback like an online survey, or management directives, or internal group goals for continuous product improvement. Is new functionality needed to support your redesign goals? Because that decision will affect how the site looks, how it’s structured, and how it’s programmed, desired functionality has to be fully described at the beginning. Functionality requirements include things like "user must be able to find a record based on a part number" or “if logged into the domain, user must be automatically recognized" or "it has to support record searches from mobile phones." . Websites are redesigned because of underperformance or a perceived flaw. How will a redesign correct the problem? What will the goals for the redesigned website be? Define success. Decide beforehand how you’ll know you've been successful in meeting your redesign goals. Set objective measures for success like numerical targets and satisfaction ratings. What’s the schedule? Agree on when the new site has to be live. Who's on the Project Team and what are their responsibilities? Identify project manager, content provider, programmer, visual designer, information architect.
  3. 3. | 3 Who’s Doing What? WHY are they coming? No one is coming to your website for fun or to “surf.” They’re coming for a specific purpose. Your job is to identify all of the possible reasons that your audience members might want to use your site. WHO is using your website? There will likely be a spectrum of groups who are using your website. A typical selection might include internal staff, external program managers, scientific collaborators, or prospective hires. Plan to accommodate each one of them. WHAT are they trying to do? Each user who comes to your website is attempting to complete a task. What is it? By making a chart or list of each audience group, their motivation for coming, and a complete list of possible tasks, you can design your site to satisfy their needs.
  4. 4. | 4 Audience Analysis Each member of your website’s audience has a different reason for visiting the site. Identify what motivates them to be a site user.
  5. 5. | 5 Task Completion By making a chart or list of each audience group and a complete list of possible tasks, you can design your site to satisfy their needs. Potential New User Existing User Department Staff Find a contact X X X Unserstand types of research that synchrotrons enable X Schedule beam time X Check facility status X X Check proposal deadline dates X X X Review User Statistics X Review, locate Publications X X Locate reference documents X X Check lecture schedules X Review employment opportunities X
  6. 6. | 6 Phases of Development Structure Based on the content to be offered, and the audiences and site goals identified, create a logical structure for the site that makes navigation and task completion as simple and clear as possible. Think of this step as creating the various "buckets" into which all of the site's content will be poured. Content Audit A complete map of the site is generated and each page is reviewed to determine whether the content on that page should be retained, updated or discarded. At the end of that review, look at where the gaps are. What's missing that needs to be added in order for your site's goal to be met? New Content If the content audit uncovered sections of the site where outdated content needs to be updated or if it identified gaps where new content needs to be written from scratch, this is the point at which both of those things will be done. It's important to note that only the subject matter experts for the site can complete the creation of new content; work on the site can't continue until they've made their contributions. New content may include edited text, new text, or new photos, illustrations and video.
  7. 7. | 7 Site Mapping You have to know what you already have on hand before deciding on what you need next. Site maps make the existing structure clear to everyone
  8. 8. | 8 Phases of Development Draft Design Based on feedback collected during the client interview and the content assembled in subsequent steps, a draft site is constructed on a development server. The draft site is used to complete a "test drive" where any necessary adjustments are identified. Some sites will warrant usability testing at this stage in which people are observed using the draft site and difficulties in use noted. Programming The analysis of audience tasks will inform decisions about dynamic elements required for the site. Custom programming involving database construction and interactive forms will begin at this point. Launch Depending on the impact that re-launching your website may have, some arrangements for communicating the change in advance might be necessary, or you may simply wish to make a notification that the launch has occurred in order to promote the new site. When your organization's decision maker has officially approved the site, you're ready to go live.
  9. 9. | 9 Wireframes Wireframes allow rapid evaluation of design variations. They avoid wasting time physically building less successful intermediates.
  10. 10. | 10 Redesign Process
  11. 11. | 11 Bear in mind… Without an explicit plan, it’s very unlikely that your website redesign project will be successful. Your plan must consider your audience, and what you want to help them do online. Know what’s wrong with your existing site and how proposed changes are going to fix it. Have clear project requirements. Your technical staff must have an explicit list of what features the site must contain and what information it must communicate. Know what constitutes “success” for your project.

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