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Website Redesign Checklist: Get Ready To Rock It Down Before You Start

Redesigning your web site can be an exciting experience – and it’s easy for that excitement to cross over into overwhelming!  Most non-profits redesign their web site every 3 years or so.  Knowing you’re going to live with your site for a while, it’s really important to get it right.  As with any large undertaking, it is important to plan and prepare appropriately before diving in.  Here are some recommendations from the Firefly team for a few things you should do BEFORE starting a web site redesign project.

  1. Rebrand First, Then Design Your Site
    If a new logo or tagline are on the horizon, complete that process before starting a web site redesign.  The mood and colors for the new web site design will rely heavily on your brand (we don’t want to build a site that is dated the first day it goes live).
  2. Identify the Problem Areas
    Is it difficult for your users to find the content they are looking for?  Do users on mobile devices immediately leave your site?  There are a number of ways you can figure out what is and isn’t working in your current design.  Google Analytics can provide data on what items (like content and responsiveness) is and is not important to users.  Conducting user surveys and user testing can help you identify areas that don’t provide an optimal user experience.  If your users feel like your site is hard to use, they will leave.
  3. Got Photos?
    Images continue to be used as an increasingly important component of modern websites.  Think about the feelings and messages you want to convey with your new design.  Do you have an existing library of images that will convey those feelings and messages?  If not, you might consider how you’ll meet your image needs – perhaps even working with a photographer to generate new images that can be used for your new design before starting the redesign process.
  4. Audit & Update Your Content
    Many designs, out of necessity, include lorem ipsum placeholder text to give you a good idea of what the overall site will contain, content-wise.  But lorem impsum is no substitute for effective blog posts, news and programmatic content.  Having updated content early on in the design process will ensure that the designs will truly meet your content needs.  It may help to do a content inventory to determine what content you have and what new content needs to be written.
  5. Discover the Sites You Like
    Browse the web to find 8-10 web sites and blogs that you really like.  Remember, they don’t have to be nonprofit sites!  Love the Boston Red Sox site navigation?  Write that down!  Identify the specific things that you like and don’t like, so your design partner knows what to aim for and what to avoid.  Here are some elements of website design that you can use to create your +/- list:

Use of color & white space
Compelling imagery
Fonts and text sizes
Navigation & arrangement of information

If you have recently gone through a redesign, we know you learned some things along the way.  Share your planning tips below in the comments section.  Firefly is always here to help with your planning and redesign needs.  Check out our portfolio or contact us to learn more.

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