Intelligence
Three Ways to Shorten Your Website Redesign Project

Intelligence

Three Ways to Shorten Your Website Redesign Project

Sep 14, 2015By Bill McLaughlin

It takes about a year to launch a redesigned website for a college or university. This includes discovery and strategy, information architecture (IA), user experience and creative design, content management system (CMS) implementation, and content creation and migration.

Many of our clients are keen to move more quickly than that. It certainly can be done. Here are three ways to shave a few months off your upcoming website redesign project.

  1. Know thyself. Ideally, your core project team is empowered to make decisions and provide definitive feedback to your design partner. If your campus is more hierarchical or bureaucratic, plan ahead for getting feedback or buy-in from key stakeholders. Schedule work sessions to get their input in real time, or block time on their schedules once monthly to review key deliverables. Poorly planned or reactive stakeholder reviews can stall projects for weeks on end.
  2. Plan the technical work during the creative process. In a traditional approach, the technical team waits for final and approved creative designs to begin documenting specifications and finalize the technical approach. However, many of the user interface decisions and creative finishing touches do not affect the technical work. Finalizing  content and functionality early in the creative process allows the technical planning to occur in parallel with creative design. This can shave at least a month off the timeline, and it’s a smarter approach that yields higher-quality work.
  3. Migrate content before the technical implementation is complete. Depending on your CMS, you may be able to start adding content into your new templates before all of the functionality and the presentation layer are complete. Another option is to use a tool such as GatherContent to stage all of your content and then later import it into the CMS. Drupal has a module for importing from GatherContent that even retains the IA in the process. Depending on the size of your website, this could save as much as two months.

We do not advocate speed at the expense of quality, and we certainly are not suggesting these techniques are right for everyone. However, in the right situation, with a committed team and with proper planning and project management, you can accomplish a successful website redesign launch in seven to nine months.





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  • Bill McLaughlin Chief Operating and Financial Officer, Head of Project Delivery I've spent my career in project-based organizations large and small. I enjoy projects because I like variety, creative thinking and problem solving. At the core I'm a consultant, trying to find the best way forward for each unique client or situation. I don't always implement content management systems, but when I do, I prefer Drupal.