The Fundamentals of Website Redesign  —  A Case Study

It’s not uncommon to finish a website redesign project only to look back and think, “I would have done things differently if I’d known what I know today.”

We’ve All Been There

We’ve all been there. We get excited about a new project, banter with the client, sign contracts, and start mocking up prototypes. Life is looking good, but the project foundations are shaky.

Inevitably, revisions and scope creep start sneaking in as soon as the first design concept is presented, and it’s downhill from there. Communication falls apart, nothing goes as planned, and ultimately, the newly designed website resembles the monstrosity you were hired to fix.

World-class design and user experience doesn’t begin with a pretty mockup — it’s founded on strategic planning and a design vision that focuses on company goals. The primary objective cannot be, “Let’s make a prettier website.”

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Website designers are responsible for user experience (UX) and user interface (UI). It’s our job to make sure that users have an optimal experience interacting with the interfaces we design. This requires thorough planning right from a project’s conception.

This article outlines a dependable process that will help ensure your next website redesign is built on a solid foundation.

The Value of Website Redesign Pre-project Research

To demonstrate the process, let’s walk through the phases of a website redesign completed for Archaeology Southwest, a nonprofit organization that explores and protects archaeological sites in the southwestern United States.

After a preliminary investigation of the client’s field and competition, closely inspect every website asset that’s available. This analysis is billed separately and takes place before a project quote is ever written. Working this way prevents ambiguous or inflated estimates that result when web designers try to account for issues that might crawl to the surface later in a project.

In the case of Archaeology Southwest, we were faced with a site in dire need of attention — mountains and mountains of cluttered content inside an ancient CMS portal. It was bad, so we set out to create order.

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