Redesigning your website is important to ensure its content, visuals, overall structure and more remain relevant and interesting to clients and others who visit your site. Before beginning the redesign, a discovery process can help you determine precisely which areas should be adjusted, and in what ways. In order to gather important data during the discovery phase, techniques such as card sorting, SEO strategy evaluations, user surveys, a marketing and branding assessment, feature benchmarking and a full content audit are often conducted. Interviews with your stakeholders and/or site users also provide valuable information. With a clear understanding of your particular needs and the behavior patterns of your website users, the redesign process is likely to provide the lasting, effective marketing results you're seeking.
The Discovery Process Reveals Four Key Pieces of Information
Once the initial research is complete, data from your site can be analyzed with visualization tools such as graphs and flow charts as well as affinity diagramming and/or journey mapping. Your web designer may create user personas to get a feel for the types of individuals most likely to visit the site; he or she may also conduct user testing with prototypes to obtain further clarity regarding the best direction to take. All of this information is intended to answer the following four questions:
- What are the reasons a user has come to visit your website? Were they seeking information and/or do they have specific questions that require answers?
- Was the information easily accessible on your original site or did the user experience frustration during their search?
- On what type of device was the search performed (mobile device, PC, etc.)?
- Which groups of people (ages, demographic backgrounds, professions, etc.) were most likely to visit your site and find its content helpful?
Moving Forward With the Redesign Process
Once data is gathered and analyzed, your web designer can provide recommendations regarding the best ways to move forward in the redesign process. Content development rich in SEO keywords, social media strategies which serve as an extension of your marketing and branding assessment, calls-to-action (CTAs) and upgrades to the overall structure and functionality of your site may be appropriate action steps. Ensuring that your upgraded site is mobile friendly is common during a redesign, as upwards of half of all users access many sites from their mobile device.
Obtain and Continue to Evaluate Your Goals
The discovery process involves important tools which can help you define and obtain your overall goals surrounding a website. Challenges foreseen on the horizon can be overcome with a clear plan of action; continuous evaluation of the site will ensure your visitors are benefiting from the site's content. A/B testing, Google analytics, a mouseflow and click-rate analysis and site user interviews all are helpful when used on a regular basis throughout the lifespan of the site.