Do you have PRSD? That’s the question Dan MacArthur, Director of Web Communications at Susquehanna University asked his audience at the eduWeb Conference. PRSD stands for Post-Redesign Stress Disorder, and MacArthur knows a little bit about it – he survived one full redesign and swore he’d put off doing another one as long as possible.
Here’s the truth that MacArthur shared:
Redesign = Time
Time = Money
Redesign = Time + Money
It can cost anywhere between $300 and $500,000 to complete a redesign project; that’s a major business decision. “All business decisions impact the bottom line, and a redesign is a major business decision,” MacArthur said.
MacArthur and Ingeniux worked together to show the audience that the common reasons that lead people to believe a redesign is necessary are often misleading. Some of these include:
- New brand
- New messaging or recruitment strategy
- New Technology (like personalization or integration with backend systems)
- Poor architecture
There are valid reasons to do a full redesign, but what if you had a CMS that could resolve these pain points or issues without launching into a full redesign?
Break the Cycle
There are things you can do to break the cycle of constant full website redesigns, and they involve putting in place regular reviews and processes to ensure your web experience is meeting the needs of your audiences and your institution:
- Fix problems first
- Keep track of non-critical desired changes and prioritize them
- Create a list of peers and competitors
- Hold ongoing content meetings
- Consider atomic design vs. well-defined, pre-designed page templates
This last point is perhaps the most important. It means you have an evolutionary strategy when it comes to your website.
Plan an Evolutionary Strategy
An evolutionary strategy is one where you plan for ongoing maintenance of your web experience, and it requires an atomic design strategy.
When you follow atomic design, you allow maximum presentational flexibility by creating components that you can mix and match to create different experiences. All the components are reusable and syndicated, and you can extract individual data for different designs. MacArthur also pointed out that individual components mean tighter permission options.
Sharing his experiences with redesigning the Susquehanna University website, MacArthur and Jim Edmunds, CEO of Ingeniux, shared how they created the new website following an atomic design. The two things you need to pull off this type of design are people and partners, including strategic designers, content managers, developers, and easy editors. Most importantly, according to MacArthur, you must have a CMS partner you can trust. A good CMS partner helps advise your organization on industry trends and best practices for managing a web experience and is invested in helping you meet your strategic goals.
MacArthur ended the presentation explaining the importance of measuring everything you do. A few ways to do that: user testing, focus groups, and A/B testing.
“An ongoing process helps alleviate constant redesign cycle.” And that’s time well spent.