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What You Need to Understand Before Embarking on a Site Redesign

Chris Osterhout SVP of Strategy
#Design Advice, #Discovery
Published on April 16, 2014

You might think you're ready to redesign your website, but first you need to look beyond its surface. Let us help you learn how.

“We need to redesign our website!” is a phrase that gets uttered on a regular basis in businesses around the world, but what exactly does that mean? Many people might think that updating the look of the site to make it fresher and more modern is all that is needed, but if that’s your only goal, are you just putting a new “skin” on a site that may need much more substantial changes both visually and “under the hood”?

When preparing for a site redesign, you’ll need to look beyond the surface of your website and gain an understanding of the whole picture. You need to consider every facet of the site and be sure you understand how it functions, from the way it uses the underlying technology to how it meets your business requirements. Most importantly, you need to know how these aspects relate to the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that you want to meet with your redesign.

What is a KPI?

KPIs are measurable goals that you want your site redesign to help your business meet. It’s important to specify these goals before you being the redesign process. The problem that many companies face is that their KPIs are too vague and generic. Goals like “We want to increase site traffic,” or “We want to get more conversions” are all well and good, but KPIs need to be specific, updating those goals to something like “We want to increase site traffic by 20% in the next 3 months,” or “We want to increase conversions by 30% in the next 6 months.” This will allow you to measure the effects of the redesign and make adjustments when and where they are needed if you are falling short in meeting your KPIs.

How do you meet KPIs?

By defining specific KPIs, you have a measurable goal for your site redesign. Any design decisions and changes to your site should relate back to these KPIs. What this means is that you need to consider whether a site redesign is going to help you meet these goals. A visual redesign may make your site look better, but in order for a redesign to be successful, you need to start by learning what is or isn’t currently working. That is, you need to know what you have before you can decide what you want to change.

This is where Discovery comes in. Discovery allows you to take the time to research your site and learn:

  • How people are using it.
  • What frustrations or insights they might have.
  • What does and doesn’t currently work.
  • How the technology (usually a CMS) drives it.

By answering these questions, you can learn everything you need to know about your site and how it is and isn’t meeting your business goals. With this knowledge, you can define your KPIs and use them to make sure your redesign is focused on meeting them, rather than just performing a superficial makeover.

Defining and understanding an interactive business strategy for website redesigns can be immensely complicated, but it is also critically important. Website redesigns can be notoriously unsuccessful because of a lack of proper planning, but by gaining a full understanding of your website through Discovery, you can be assured that you know everything you need to know, and every decision made during your redesign can be made in pursuit of meeting your KPIs. Do you have any questions about how Diagram approaches Discovery, or how we can help you gain a full understanding of your site? Please contact us or leave a comment below.