Over the years, I have frequently worked with clients to design or redesign their websites. I find it very important to guide a conversation at the start of the process to determine exactly what an organization wants to accomplish. All too often they know they want a better website, but haven’t really thought through what that means.
We typically kick off the process with a brainstorming session. Although each one takes on a personality of its own and we usually veer off in many different directions since the website is really just a piece of their broader strategic communications effort, the following questions typically come up:
- What are the top 3 goals for the website redesign? (Be as specific as possible and list in priority order)
- What are the top 3 audiences for your site? (Be as specific as possible and list in priority order)
- What are the top 3 actions you would like visitors to your website to take? (Be as specific as possible and list in priority order)
- Identify 3-5 competitor websites. (Or websites of similar organizations even if you don’t see them as competitors)
- Are there other sites that you want to compare yourself against when the redesign is done?
- What do you like and dislike about your current site?
- Are there websites that you particularly like (even if they’re not of a similar type of organization)? Why?
- Are there websites that you particularly dislike? Why?
- Is there anything else that you’d like us to consider when we do the redesign?
You will notice a common thread here that most of these focus on what the outcome of the project — as well as the website itself — rather than the mechanics of specific design elements. While you can’t overlook design questions altogether, it’s most important to understand the goals and objectives first.
A version of this article originally appeared on the Franeo blog.