How to Prepare for a Web Project Rebuild
A high-level, nontechnical overview to guide you through the initial planning stages of a web project rebuild. This guide is best used for businesses, organizations, non-profits, and institutions who are preparing to rebuild their website or app. While fjorge is here to help you every step of the way, getting a head start gives your team an opportunity to internally align before Kickoff, and will help create efficiencies throughout the rebuild project.
1. Compile the right stakeholder group.
Gathering insight from various departments will undoubtedly help identify the problems of your current website. Your customer support team may have the historical knowledge of common user complaints, while your marketing team may be more focused on increasing conversion rates or implementing a rebrand. The IT team, on the other hand, is likely more focused on security and performance. Gathering insight from all departments will paint a more colorful picture of how various teams interact with the current site, and what they hope to gain from the rebuild.
While all this insight is useful, we recommend whittling this group down to a few key stakeholders who can act as representatives for their department. Next, assign a key stakeholder to oversee the rebuild.
This person will mainly be responsible for:
- managing all stakeholders, determining what stakeholders would be most appropriate at different phases of the project
- being the main point of contact, available to attend meetings throughout discovery, development, QA, and content entry
- carrying the vision throughout the rebuild process
- being the key decision-maker
- securing the funding and/or managing the budget
- being an expert on the website and target audience
Are you still determining a key stakeholder from your team? Depending on your company, this person could be the CEO, or a member of the marketing or communications team. This person will be tasked with the most responsibility and will need availability to manage the rebuild.
2. Define goals and business requirements.
Defining goals and requirements is something that fjorge will lead you through in our Discovery phase, but taking additional time to reflect on these goals internally will give your team an opportunity to align before Kickoff.
With your refined stakeholder group, invite the group to share goals and business requirements for the new build. Write them down, and prioritize them in order of least important to most important. If a roadblock arises, debate and discuss. Once you’re able to refine and rank all the goals and requirements, take the top 3-5.
These will be your foundation throughout the rebuild. If your project gets off track, refer back to these goals. There will be opportunities in the Discovery phase of the project to create more accuracy around these goals. Ultimately, defining these will help ensure that your project:
- Has a cohesive voice
- Stays on track (timeline and budget)
Be mindful to avoid the kitchen sink approach. Trying to fit too many changes into a rebuild can add unnecessary risk to the project. Implementing a few decisive changes allows for a more agile and iterative approach, enabling time to take measures of what’s working/what’s not and make meaningful adjustments.
3. Create a measurement strategy.
You may find that while refining your goals and requirements, the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) can also be reassessed. Looking at your current metrics will help you understand how to set more accurate goals for the new website.
Use the SMART criteria as a guide
- Specific: well defined and focused.
- What goal do I want to accomplish and why?
- Measurable: criteria to measure your goals.
- What is the indicator of progress?
- Attainable: not impossible to achieve.
- Are we in a position to achieve this goal? Do we have the right resources?
- Relevant: within reach and realistic.
- Are we able to realistically commit to this goal?
- Timely: clearly defined timeline including a starting and end date.
- When do you want to achieve this goal?
At Kickoff, our team will ask if you have any analytics or metrics to share (access to Google Analytics, heat maps, etc.). This will enable us to more accurately track how users interact with your current site and make purposeful decisions going into the redesign.
4. Determine a realistic timeline.
A few questions that can help guide creating a timeline include:
- Are there any major roadblocks that will cause the project to pause?
- Do key stakeholders have the availability needed to commit to the project?
- Is there a definitive launch date set? Can your goals be realistically attained by this date?
Creating a sense of urgency around the rebuild will help keep the momentum going, communication channels open, and goals aligned. Conversely, an undetermined timeline may cause scope creep.
5. Consider technology options.
As a technology-agnostic company, our team of experts will adapt to whatever technology is best suited for your web project. Early on in working with you, we will ask what your specific technology needs are in order to determine the most viable options.
This looks different for every project, so taking stock of any current technology roadblocks your project has, and what you hope to streamline through the rebuild will enable the Solutions Architect to find the best path forward.
6. Refine branding, and create a content strategy.
Before the redesign project begins, some companies will take this opportunity to initiate a rebrand. This might look like a complete overhaul or simply a few minor updates to modernize the brand and messaging. Observe what’s working, and what’s not.
It’s also helpful to observe what competitor sites are doing. How is their content laid out? What positive or negative reactions do you have while navigating through the site? Determine what sets you apart from the competition, and communicate this during Discovery sessions with the UX/UI Designer and Solution Architect. Our team can take an even deeper dive into competitive analysis, finding opportunities to enhance the user experience, while making your website or app stand out against the competition.
Depending on how robust the rebrand is (more than an updated logo, for example), we recommend this happening before UX/UI design work begins. Our team will then work to translate your refreshed brand into a website or app that is accessible and easy to use.
In tandem, determine if messaging needs to be reworked. Before we hit the ground running with site mapping, wireframing, and visual design, consider looking for ways to refresh your content. If you need help, work with a content strategist to write strong copy that aligns with your business goals and brand voice.
As you begin the preliminarily planning stages of a rebuild, we are here to support you and hope that this guide serves as a starting point. Once our Discovery phase begins, we will work collaboratively with you and your team of stakeholders to further refine and become experts on your business needs and user goals.