Websites act as the front door to your business, service or product, so first impressions are crucial.

Despite customer interactions and journeys often starting on social media, websites are still an important channel for new or existing customers, future employees and other stakeholders to gather insight or make transactions. Time and resource should be factored into a website redesign to fully understand your audience and to ensure both your objective and the end user experience is kept front of mind.

1. Discovery work

Before embarking on an investment, discovery activities are required to understand current interactions, visitor behaviour, supporting policies, processes and systems.  It is important that the correct stakeholders are engaged and early checks for potential issues undertaken.  Checking existing contracts and interdependences such as e-commerce software or feeds to data and customer databases can impact the options available, timescales and costs.

2. Establishing the purpose

Any redesign needs to answer key questions on your target audience, how users currently (and want to ) engage with your organisation and how your website fits into a wider suite of customer engagement.

Answers to ascertain include:  What information are users looking for and what is their experience? What key metrics are available on visitor numbers and trends?  Is the market and your audience changing?  Is your website reflective of your brand and values?  Are there any specific security, regulatory or accessibility considerations?

Additionally, considerations to set your project up for success:  Any gaps in knowledge, constraints, or risks?  How can they be mitigated?  What are the costs and ongoing investment required?  What are the benefits and when and how will they be achieved?  How will the change be delivered?

3. Keep focus on the benefits

Website functionality and content must be relevant, and stay relevant, to the audience.  A poor experience can result not only in reductions in opportunity and revenue, but also higher costs, as customers (who haven’t gone elsewhere) then divert to more expensive channels such as phone and email.

Have you engaged with key users to understand current pain points and potential areas of delight?  We recommend using techniques such as focus groups, process and journey mapping, customer personas, and usage scenarios to drive out and prioritize requirements and benefits.  Then, keep these items as a constant check to ensure the end delivery is successful.

4. Don’t underestimate the effort required to remain on track

A project of this nature will involve multiple stakeholders, priorities to manage and a very public launch!  Teams can get side-tracked in the cut and thrust of a fast-paced project and inadvertently lose focus on the ‘why’ and associated priorities.  Project management expertise will ensure appropriate controls are in place, that delivery remains on track and your new site goes live with confidence.

If the project involves more of a revolution in ways of working, change management and communication expertise can ensure good engagement and buy in; essential for long lasting results.

5. Engage with specialists where required

You may not have the expertise or capacity to undertake a project of this nature, in which case it can be useful to engage with external specialists who can bring objectivity, experience and momentum to your project.

In addition to project management and analytical expertise, a redesign is likely to involve several areas of specialism, including customer engagement, marketing and branding, digital strategy and architecture, technical infrastructure, integration and information security.  Expertise can be tailored to your project, depending on your needs and budget, and can flex at different project stages.

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