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3 Common Questions About Website Redesigns

Chris Osterhout SVP of Strategy
#Design Advice, #Discovery
Published on July 29, 2014

At Diagram, we speak to clients about website redesigns every day. Here are some questions that we hear regularly.

Website redesigns are complicated, and each one is different. That may seem like an obvious statement, but I speak to our clients every day about what they want to do with their websites, and I’m constantly reminded that each site is unique, with its own needs, goals, and challenges. However, it does seem like there are a few questions about site redesigns that I hear pretty regularly, so I wanted to clear them up, and hopefully help people better understand what to expect when going into a redesign project.

1. How can I keep the costs of a redesign manageable?

Clients often ask me, “I don’t want to spend a lot on a site redesign, so how can I keep costs down?” The problem with this question is that “a lot” is a relative term. Depending on the size of the organization and the scale of their web properties, the cost of a redesign can vary a great deal, both in terms of the actual price and in how it fits into a company’s budget. Redesigning a site with 96,000 pages of content will require a greater effort, and thus be more expensive, than a site which only has 500 pages, so each site needs to be approached differently.

In order to make sure that these costs are manageable, we recommend completing a thorough discovery process prior to embarking on a redesign project. This will allow you to more fully understand the needs of your website and what the redesign needs to accomplish in order to meet your business goals. Understanding the scope of the redesign will also determine the cost of the project, so you can be sure it fits into your budget. If discovery shows that the scale of the project is going to be larger than your budget has room for, you can break the project into smaller pieces, using Strategic Iterative Improvements to approach the redesign at a smaller scale over a longer period of time.

2. Can you re-use something you did for another client for my site?

At Diagram, we’ve completed hundreds of website redesign projects in a large variety of industries, including higher education and healthcare. Seeing this, clients within these industries sometimes ask us if we can save on costs by re-using the code or functionality we created for those projects on their sites. Unfortunately, legal issues, including copyright, prevent us from taking one client’s work product and giving it to another client. While we can utilize our code library to implement functionalities that we’ve developed, we can’t copy another client’s site and swap out their content for yours.

However, our experience in creating solutions for other clients can be put to use to cultivate similar solutions in subsequent redesigns. Efficiencies can be gained from the knowledge obtained from these previous solutions and applied to your site. In other words, each project we complete gives us more understanding of the needs and goals of the industries and organizations we work with, and we can apply this understanding to your project and help you determine the best way to meet your business goals.

3. Do I really need discovery?

Clients often tell us, “I don’t need to do discovery. I know exactly what my website’s visitors want.” But while they might think they have a complete understanding of how people use their site, this often couldn’t be further from the truth. Until you talk to actual users independent from the company, you won’t really know what they want. In fact, in our experience, nine out of every ten times we do discovery, we find that a website’s visitors’ wants differ from those of the organization’s stakeholders.

This is why discovery is an essential part of a website redesign project; until you see how people are using your website, you won’t understand their needs, goals, and pain points. Including discovery in your project will help you make sure you aren’t focusing your redesign efforts on the wrong areas, along with the aforementioned benefits in managing costs.

However you choose to approach your redesign, we can work with you to make sure your site meets your business goals while fitting into your budget. Please contact us to speak with a web development expert and learn how you can get your redesign project started, or schedule a free budget consultation to learn how you can make sure you are planning for the needs of your website. Do you have any other questions about website redesigns? Please leave a comment below.