Effectively manage your redesign process

Planned updates, regular reviews, and constant maintenance are the key to a successful website or app. Do not procrastinate on redesign—waiting too long can have a negative impact.

Managing and maintaining an effective website is hard. Technology evolves. Organizations grow (or shrink). Users come and go. The website that you designed a few years ago might not work well now. But redesign is a lot of work. So, you might have changed a few things here or there. You might have added a couple of features. You probably did just enough to increase your sales or increase your signups without doing too much extra work. You and your co-workers put off the redesign project until the issues get too hard to ignore. However, by then, it might be too late—you might be too busy to take on an arduous design project. When many designers get to this point, they have no choice but to turn to an outside agency. Ouch.

Effective redesign doesn’t mean you have to do everything at once. A large project can overwhelm your resources and create something that’s too big to tackle in a reasonable amount of time. If you approach redesign this way, something or someone will ultimately lose. Equally important objectives will have to compete to get the full attention they deserve.

At huge, bureaucratic companies, resource and budget allocation are so heated and so politically charged that it is nearly impossible to get something you want done without making a huge fuss to get it. A site manager might have to renegotiate their budget for the next 5 years to get adequate funding. By making such a huge deal of it, you bring on the unwelcome effect of promising that this redesign project is the answer everyone has been looking for—and that’s a lot of pressure.

When you only have one chance to “make things better,” critical pieces of the design process will inevitability get lost. Sometimes the only way to move forward is to defer redesigning the application or website so the impact can be realized by the organization, silencing any critics of “if it works, why change it?”

Massive redesign usually ends when the deadline hits and the money runs dry. If you plan ahead, you can avoid the tension and friction ahead of time by splitting up tasks at the project level. Create individual projects for each aspect of your site—content, backend, visual design—as equally important objectives on a timeline. By focusing on a single priority at a time, you’ll keep each step manageable and observable.

Don’t allow your redesign attempts to become a massive single project that targets only one objective. Don’t set yourself up for failure by promising to address every single risk at one time. You might be able to do it—but you won’t be able to do it well. Focus on one priority at a time—you’ll find that some problems might even fix themselves. And you’ll save yourself a lot of unnecessary stress in the process.

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