Your website is one of the first experiences a potential customer may have with your company. It’s only logical that you will want to put your best foot forward and have a powerful website that conveys your message and converts traffic into leads. However, there comes a time in every website’s life where a facelift or redesign is needed. This may be due to your evolving business, changes in customers’ expectations, or even technology trends.
Whatever the reason, redesigning your website can be a daunting task filled with uncertainty. So what should you expect when you start the website redesign process?
Getting the Scoop
Whenever we begin working with a new or existing client on a website redesign, there are several key steps involved in the process, the first of which involves asking a LOT of questions. We like to start by finding out exactly what the client wants, and why.
We always start with the same simple questions. We need to know why our clients want to redesign their website. Seems like a reasonable question, right? Are they just looking for a new look and feel overall? Are they simply trying to make it more user-friendly? Or are they looking to completely rebrand? It’s important to understand what’s driving the desire for change, so we can be sure to deliver what the client is actually looking for.
Once we’ve determined the motivation behind the project, we’ll need to know more about the buyer personas. Who is the target audience (or audiences) that we’re trying to appeal to? Is there a certain age group or demographic that our client focuses on? Knowing that information will help us to design the site in a way that will be visually appealing and intuitive to that particular audience.
What’s Your Favorite Color?
Seriously. We’ll start by asking what colors our clients envision for their website. What colors schemes do they prefer? Some clients have more of a vision than others. We find it best to ask the client to send us a list of at least 3 sites that they like, and 3 that they don’t.
Most importantly, though, we need to know why. Why do they like the sites they chose? Why don’t they like the others? Are the colors too bright? Too dull? Do they like the home page design on one site and the interior pages of another? We just need some ideas to build off of.
In addition to preferences, we also like to know if there are any branding guidelines we need to follow. Some companies have more defined guidelines than others, and that’s fine. Are there specific fonts that need to be utilized? Do they have a logo already, or do they need one? Do they want a new logo? A whole new brand scheme? It’s important to clarify the scope of the redesign before diving in.
We want to deliver a product our client will love, and we want to do it on time, and within budget. We’ve tweaked our process over time, and we think it’s a pretty good one, but we’re always evolving and looking for ways to improve. While every business has their own preferred way of approaching things; a typical website redesign process looks something like this.
There are typically 3 people involved in the process on our end. We have the project lead, who puts together the wireframes and sitemap based on direction from the client and any meetings/discussions that have occurred thus far. Then there’s the technical lead, who is responsible for providing input from a technical perspective. This person is essentially responsible for making sure that the design can function the way it is supposed to. And last, but certainly not least, there is the design lead, who is responsible for implementing all design changes.
We start by designing and presenting one homepage concept to the client, and based on feedback, we go through another round of revisions and edits before moving on to the next phase of the redesign process. We start off slow and simple to make sure we’re all on the same page before charging full speed ahead. If we provide too many designs to choose from, we’ve had clients in the past who have wanted to blend the designs of one page with the technical aspects of another, and that doesn’t always work out. So we keep it simple for everyone’s sake.
The typical website redesign process takes at least a month to get through the planning and design stages. However, if the design is more complex, it may take a bit longer.
Working with 3rd Party Designers
Sometimes our clients will have a third party designer that they’d prefer to work with. In this case, Commonplaces will put together the wireframes, while the 3rd party creates the designs.
We can certainly do this, but there are few things to consider when taking this route. Some graphic designers, regardless of how talented they may be, don’t have the right experience. It’s important to be cognizant of the differences between script designers and web designers. To design a responsive website that converts well, a designer really must have both types of experience. Otherwise the design may not function the way the client ultimately wants it to, or at least not without costing the client a lot of time and money.
For this reason, we like to meet with 3rd party designers before the final design is presented to the client, to make sure the website can function well from a technical perspective. Commonplaces and the 3rd party will then inform the client of what it will take to get the website designed the way they want, including the possibility of a higher cost. Whether you choose to work with one of our experienced designers or a 3rd party designer of your choice, the end result is always a responsive, mobile-friendly design that is easy to use and reflects the brand personality of our clients.