When planning a website redevelopment it is vital to probe and find out as much information as you can from a client. There are innumerable questions to ask but here are ten website redesign planning questions that we look to get answers to in the project discovery and scoping phase. These answers help in the formation of a site specification and help both us and the client know what direction the site should take and what the deliverables should be.
1. Thinking beyond the website, what are your organisations short, medium and long term aims?
It’s vital to know what the context is – try building a site without knowing much about an organisation. The more info you can glean here the better.
2. Beyond the scope of this current project, how may your requirements for the website(s) grow and change? For example think about:
- Marketing requirements
- Information provision
- Revenue generation
Are you planning a rebrand, are you planning a new service offering, are you looking to monetize a specific product, do you want to market a particular product?
3. Who are your users ?
- What do they want from the site?
- What do you currently provide them with?
- What do you want to provide them with?
- Do you want anything in return from them?
- How do they currently view you and/or your site?
- How do you want them to view you and/or your site?
Knowing more about the site’s users is vital so the focus can be placed on user journeys, navigation pathways and really cater the site, its structure, design, content, functionality and hierarchy to meet the needs of those users.
4. What are the core objectives (both internal and external)? For example:
- Increase revenue generation / donations
- Increase efficiency internally
- Increase user base
- Raise awareness
- Enhance brand / profile
- To meet external requirements
It’s important to set objectives for the site to have something to aim for.
5. Stakeholder input
Who is going to manage this project internally and how many people are going to provide input?
- Focus groups, both internal and external
- Ensuring requirements and deliverables are met
- Signing off deliverables, wireframes, sitemap, design, draft site
- Quality assurance
- Maximising opportunities
- Getting stakeholder “buy in” and “sign off”
6. What do other sites do
Consider each site in terms of how it caters to its users, how it uses functionality, content and design to do this, and identify if there are any possible similarities of approach that can be used for your project.
7. Content, design and functionality
These are obvious questions but working out what the key functionality will be whether that is achievable in terms of budget parameters, getting a steer on design style and tone and making sure that the content for the site is rich and interesting is vital.
- How will this content be generated and managed?
- How will content quality be assured?
- What types of functionality will be applicable to your user base and your sites core objectives? – e.g.
- i. E-commerce
- ii. Search
- iii. Data interrogation i.e. searchable or filterable databases or catalogues
- iv. Social media integration
- v. User led content to develop “community” e.g. Q & As, forums, blogs etc
- vi. Accessibility requirements
- vii. Data capture options such as mailing list subscription
- viii. Integration with existing databases
8. What will be the cost or internal resource requirements?
Its vital to get a steer on budget so a realistic specification can be developed – there is no value in recommending a sophisticated set of deliverables if a client has a limited budget.
9. How will you measure the success of the project and how will you know if the project has met its core objectives?
A review of the site at regular periods post launch is vital – matching that review to the initial objectives and establishing some KPIs to benchmark will help ensure the site evolves.
- Post project review
- Internal impact i.e. more traffic, improved processes, creation of efficiencies, increased revenue
- Quantitative – ongoing web analytics
- Qualitative – ongoing user feedback mechanisms and analysis
10. What are your plans going forward?
The launch of the site should be seen as the start not the finish. A website needs to move forward and embrace new technologies and any relevant changes to an organisations structure or service offering.
- Ongoing review scheduled – to look at the “business case” for the future web presence
- i. Resourcing its maintenance and growth
- ii. Ensuring future quality levels
- iii. Reviewing its capacity for an upscale of requirements
- iv. Security and stability
- v. Examining its relevance to the business strategy of the organisation as a whole
- Ongoing analysis and consultation schedule