Designing for your worst client: yourself
- What is the goal of the new website?
- What is and is not working with the current site?
- What are your “must haves” vs. “nice to haves”?
- Is a content management system (CMS) for me?
- Should I do this in house or outsource?
Before beginning the design/redesign process, it’s important to think strategically about your content so you’re clear about what you want the new site to achieve.
The clearer you get about exactly what actions you want users to take, the easier it will be to design your information architecture and the more satisfied you and your users will be with the results.
Prior to getting started, take time to assess what you want to keep and what can be tossed. Do you hear any common complaints from customers or other frequent visitors? Can you glean any insights from Google Analytics?
Whether you’re design or redesigning your website, it’s easy to get distracted by bells and whistles that you don’t actually need. This is hard for business owners who want everything right now, but just as the web is ever evolving, so too is a good website.
Focus on your must haves right now and plan to make ongoing changes and optimizations based on user feedback and interaction down the line.
Popular CMSs, such as WordPress, Drupal and Joomla, allow you to easily update your website content without knowing how to code (so you don’t have to rely completely on a developer).
If you’re not currently using a CMS, then you should absolutely include one in the new site. Technology is constantly evolving and it makes sense to take full advantage of what’s available.
When considering whether to do the redesign in-house vs. hire a pro or agency, it’s important to understand the magnitude of the undertaking at hand, and honestly assess whether it’s the best use of your resources. It can be tempting to want to save money by doing the redesign in house, but don’t underrate the value of having someone objective and skilled to guide you through the process.
If you do decide to stay in house, take a good look at your internal resources. Just as any other web or application project you will need a core team, which includes a designer, a developer and a project manager to stay on top of all the moving pieces.