In my last post, I explained why you should be listening to your users. Listening is monumentally important when you’re redesigning your website. Successful websites all incorporate user research and feedback throughout the design process.
When you initially decide to redesign, it may be based on feedback from your site visitors. You may have heard from your constituents that your site is outdated or that it’s difficult to find information. Alternatively, you could be redesigning because of an internal push from your organization. Either way, it’s important to keep in mind that your website is for the visitors. Ask them what they want that they don’t have today. Ask what issues they have with your current site so you don’t make the same mistakes again. You can have these conversations through an online survey or through individual conversations with your constituents. You can utilize and assess data you may already have from emails or calls coming in about the website. Collecting this data and incorporating it into your must-have list is the first step to a successful, user-centered design.
Once you’ve made some research-backed decisions about your new website, you should test it out. We’ve had great success testing out wireframes before the design has even begun. After all, if you don’t have a strong underlying structure, there’s no way to cover it up with a snazzy new visual design. Also, participants are more likely to provide candid, direct feedback to wireframes. They see an unfinished product and realize there’s still time to make changes. Run your wireframes by a few members of your target audience. Ask them where they’d go to donate, learn more about you, or accomplish other key tasks. Then, make changes based on what you learn. If you have time, it’s great to test the visuals too, but make it a point to test early. You’ll avoid costly and time consuming changes down the road.
Do you have experience listening to your users while redesigning? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.