Your organization has a website project coming up. The budget has been approved, a Project Manager has been assigned, and every one on your team is very excited. Well, congratulations! Indeed, this is a great opportunity for your organization to overhaul and sometimes even completely re-imagine the way you’re approaching your community of supporters. It can also be a daunting task that requires participation and input from your board, executive team and volunteers to get it right.
So, where do you start?
Hopefully these tips will help alleviate some of the stress often associated with kicking off a website redesign project and set you up for success.
Once you are all set with the preparatory steps, it’s time to think through details. In fact, as a part of any project kick off, we set aside time for Project Planning and Information Gathering. These are some typical questions we encourage our clients to think through.
1. Define purpose and vision for the site
- What is the purpose of the site?
- What is your vision of what the site should do?
- How would you describe the site (from an organization’s and a user’s viewpoint)?
- What are the goals of the site?
- How would you define a successful website for your organization?
- What prompted the redesign?
- Are there any restraints, mandates, or guidelines for the site?
- Are there any sites you would like to model or a particular style that you prefer?
- What characteristics/attributes/attitude should the site convey to users?
2. Define audiences and goals
- Who are the users of the site? (or groups of users)
- Why will they come to the site?
- How will users access the site? (User computer settings, such as connection speed, resolution, etc.)
3. Determine accessibility requirements and needs
- Is the site currently accessible?
- What type of accessibility testing has been done?
- What types of accessibility tools are being used?
- Who is the key point of contact on accessibility issues?
4. Identify available resources and training needs
- What level of resources is available for site updating and maintenance?
- Do you have content writers skilled in writing for the Web?
- Are there graphic designers on staff?
- Who will be responsible for supporting and maintaining the site?
- Who is in charge of site marketing and promotion?
- Who will be responsible for analyzing your site analytics?
- Do you have a budget available for hiring or training staff?
5. Discuss initial technology needs
- What are your hosting needs?
- Do you currently have a domain name or do you need a new one? Do you have the budget to buy a new domain name?
- Are you currently using a content management system? If so, which one? If not, which systems are you currently looking at?
- Are you currently logging Web metrics? If so, what metrics are you currently capturing? If not, do you plan on adding them to your site?
- Do you currently have a search engine? If so, what type of search are you using?
- Do you have a budget for implementing new technology?
It’s More than Just a Website.
The final product may surprise you. Your organization’s website isn’t just a repository of connected information that happens to reside somewhere on the Internet. It’s the primary vehicle by which new audiences will find you, learn about your mission, and engage with your brand. Your journey may start as a “simple website redesign” and evolve into a totally re-imagined digital brand that included the new website.