So you’ve got a project at hand, and it includes redesigning a product, website, ecommerce website, app, etc.
What’s your first move to ensure its success?
Would you get started right away, or would you establish a budget first?
I’d recommend you postpone both courses of action until after you’ve ensured that there aren’t any obstacles that will doom the project into oblivion!
In this article, I will go over the three key elements of a website redesign strategy that will remove any possible threats to your website redesign project’s success. They require you to be mindful of the problem you have at hand and the resources you have available.
This will help you achieve your business goals for the project, as well as acquire an increase in certain metrics such as SEO ranking, bounce rate, conversion rate, and lead generation while improving your new site’s functionality and introducing further optimization.
Let’s start with the first and most important part:
In this article
#1 Obviously: Include users when redesigning
If you’re not a novice project manager, you’ll surely know the importance of evaluating any project in terms of the user experience from the perspective of the individuals and stakeholders who will use it.
What I mean here goes beyond just evaluation and requires you to involve actual users in the website redesign process. Creating buyer personas isn’t going to cut it.
If you’re redesigning, the current website or product already has users available; if you’re creating a new website from scratch, it shouldn’t be hard to find people from your target audience. Don’t forget to consider information from Google Analytics, such as social media traffic and demographics, as this can tell you a lot about your target audience.
For example, American Airlines has reduced costs by 60-90% by fixing usability issues during their website design process compared to fixing them afterward. Including users in the design process can save you from making crucial mistakes that’ll cost you a fortune.
So before getting started with your project, sit down with your target audience and find out what their needs are, what they think is great in your current site, and any pain points in the previous design of the website or competitor products that they’ve noticed. These will act as a guide for you while you’re creating the MVP.
As soon as you have an MVP at hand, however, start presenting it to users to acquire feedback. Creating a convenient and enjoyable experience with the right design elements is your initial target, and if you’re collecting and utilizing the right feedback, that’s what you’ll eventually wind up with.
Don’t underestimate the benefits of involving users in your website redesign project; they can act as a test group for the project and assist you in the optimization of your existing website.
Read more about designing WITH the user in digital projects.
Don’t forget Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Also, by interviewing users and talking more about your product you can learn more about the language they use, which will help optimize your site for SEO and help find the right messaging.
SEO will be a big part of any digital marketing strategy that revolves around the new website, so don’t put it aside!
Step #2 – Establish a company-wide vision
“The best teamwork comes from people who are working independently toward one goal in unison.”
– James Cash Penney
As a project manager, you’ll usually be guiding teams of marketers, developers, and other team members. Part of your role is ensuring each of these teams are right where they need to be in the project roadmap.
But it’s not always as easy as it sounds. I’m sure you’ll agree.
The whole company has to be aligned under a single vision. This is especially true when working on a web design/redesign project. It’s critical to convey the essence of what you’re trying to build to each team.
And you have to do this right from the start, in the kick-off meeting.
Now I won’t tell you how you’ll run your kick-off meeting because you’ll have everything you need for perfect kickoff meetings here, but I will tell you how you can ensure everyone understands the vision.
Tell the story.
Remember when you interviewed potential users in the first step? Those users generally have stories of how they came to need such a product, and how this site redesign would make their lives easier.
Make a few changes to their story and include more details around their motives, needs, and the pain points they hate to encounter.
I can’t guarantee you 100% comprehension of the vision based on just the story, and you’ll need extra effort throughout the project to keep the team aligned, but we both know everyone loves a good story, and they are easier to remember.
Transmit the value you’re trying to achieve with this website redesign project in an interesting way. Believe me; it’ll work.
Step #3 – Put early emphasis on User Onboarding
This step usually comes into play when you’re a ways into your website redesign strategy, but the earlier you focus on this, the better.
User onboarding refers to the initial experience a user has with the product as they get to know the new product or the new design. This process ends with them realizing the value of your product and how they can achieve their goals with it.
How is this related to your website redesign project’s success?
How successful can the updated or new site be if the users are not aware of how it works?
Yes, your landing pages and homepage can be fairly easy to navigate, but users may come to your new website for a variety of functionalities or web pages.
And yes, you can postpone the user onboarding until the end of the website redesign process; but I wouldn’t recommend this.
See in user onboarding; the purpose is not to train users and provide know-how on using your website, it’s to show them your value proposition first hand.
Let me elaborate on that:
Most large and small businesses think that rolling out a few tutorials that teach users how to use the user interface is enough for onboarding, but they’re terribly mistaken. Its main purpose should be to quickly show the new users what value the product adds to their life and the challenges they’re facing. It should be a quick path to the Aha! Moment.
A lack of focus on user onboarding until the end of the project can turn the initial experience into something boring and incomprehensible, making the project fail in the long run.
What you should do is start scheming and experimenting with user onboarding templates. You might even try altering the value your website offers so it fits the perfect experience you’re after. Start this early in the project roadmap.
A Successful Website Redesign Project with a Great User Onboarding
An example of a successful redesign project comes from a South Africa-based courier company called RAM.
RAM’s internal IT system was outdated and was due for an update. With the majority of companies trying digital transformation, RAM needed to catch up and change their IT infrastructure as well as the platform that their employees use.
So with Steven Friedman, their Chief Information Officer, as well as the manager for this project, they’ve gone through a complete transformation.
As the third element above suggests, they have put emphasis on user onboarding during the project and created a smooth onboarding experience for the users of the new platform.
Allocating Resources for User Onboarding
As with most projects, the resources are always limited, including developer and web designer time. As project managers already know, proper resource management is crucial.
So focusing on creating an in-house user onboarding experience during the actual project risks taking away resources from the product and harming the progress you’ve made.
But who said anything about including the developers in this equation?
RAM, the company we’ve just mentioned, created their whole user onboarding flow without writing a single line of code, using the tool UserGuiding.
With a 3rd-party, no-code tool such as UserGuiding, you can create the user onboarding experience that is best for your project, which will help boost product adoption.
You can focus on making sure the users are on board with the value you’re trying to provide early-on and ensure the eventual success and optimization of your website redesign.
Bottom line: a website design or redesign project can be a challenge for every project manager, regardless of the experience they have. Mostly, you’ll throw something out there and hope your KPIs and metrics improve.
What you have to do to start building the pillars of a successful website is create a website redesign strategy that will:
- Align your team under a single goal,
- Address potential issues beforehand,
- Involve end-users in the website design/redesign process,
- Focus on using the best design elements in the new design,
- Focus on the user onboarding of website visitors early on.
- Bonus: Make everything measurable. Ensure that you’re collecting data way before the website redesign and collect a bit more after to compare.
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