4 things that will halt a redesign and how to overcome them

Michael Gabrian

by Michael Gabrian on 06/07/2017

Deciding you need to redesign your website is an exciting venture. You begin to imagine all of the possibilities and how much you can improve. At the same time, redesigns are supported by specific goals, requirements, a healthy budget, and laser focus. So there are a lot of things that could knock you off track and force you to delay the project. Let's talk about some of those things and ways you can overcome them.

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."

- Will Rogers

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The upfront costs

The costs of traditional design are high. Building a custom site from the ground up takes a lot of hours, so you're looking at tens of thousands of dollars, maybe more depending of features, size, and complexity. What do you do when a budget gets slashed?

Larger projects will likely have larger upfront costs and it's always scary when those numbers are staring back at you. So this is a common factor that could cause a project to get postponed. So how do you work around high upfront costs? 

Another issue that could arise is the perception of these upfront costs being a fixed cost. This is not the case. It's likely that traditional web design projects will be over budget, so you might get surprised with a couple of extra hours tacked on. 

Getting around high upfront costs in web design

If your heart is set on traditional web design, you could either try to invest more into your budget or cut down on your requirements. I know this isn't the ideal solution, but trimming the project will make it more affordable. If you plan on cutting down on the project, map out all of the features your site needs and rank them. See which one you absolutely need and which you can do without.

The ideal solution is to try a Growth Driven Design tactic. Instead of spending 40K on your new site, build the minimum you'll need in 2 or 3 months. From there, set a retainer to make updates and grow the site as you go. This method helps a lot because rather that compressing a massive budget into 3 months, you're spreading it out over time. This also helps you see how users interact with your site, so your requirements can evolve. 

Grab your free copy of our GDD playbook below:

Get your free Growth-Driven Design playbook

Poor communication between teams

There are different types of relationships created during a redesign and it all really depends on how involved the team that needs the redesign is. Ideally, setting up more meetings will help more information be passed back and forth. So if an error comes up, it can be addressed quickly.

How could poor communication halt a redesign? Well, one example is the requirements are misunderstood and the project begins on the wrong foot. Pivoting back on track takes time and money.

Another example could be during weekly meetings, poor feedback being given so that the project continues in the wrong direction until the point where correcting the issues will be huge investments.

How to ensure good communication between teams

Initially, there should be some time mapped out to go into a strategy/research phase. The goals of the project should be outlined, samples and ideas should be exchanged, and a course of action should be routed.

There is typically an assigned project manager who takes the requirements and scope and hands out tasks to the team. By having an organized project management method, you're avoiding having any information lost in translation or misunderstood.

You could also use tools, like YouTrack and InVision, to track all of the assigned tasks and bugs and see progress as the project moves on. You can use the data in the future to understand how long certain tasks have taken in the past and how long some could take in the future.

Try to set up a meeting or two each week to go into detail on what's been done on the project and what will be done next. InVision could come in handy here. Show screenshots and go through the design with everyone involved. As long as each party understands what's expected of them, and individuals thoroughly understand their tasks, communication shouldn't be an issue.

Letting other priorities get in the way

Your website is a huge piece of your company and is a priority, but obviously it's not your only priority. Some teams postpone their redesign back and continue pushing it back until months have passed and there has been no change. This could be a real problem. There is always a problem you're attempting to solve with a redesign. 

For companies who decide they need to redesign their site because it's not getting the traffic it needs or the conversions, pushing the project back isn't going to help correct that problem, it's just going to brush it under the rug.

Ways to balance a redesign with other priorities

How do we balance our website with our other priorities? Well, you could try assigning a dedicated team to manage the project and make it a top priority for them. As long as that team understands the project and what needs to be done, they can ensure the project continues forward. 

If your team is smaller, you could just set a specific time each week to dedicate to the site. Give yourself an hour each week to meet with the designers/developers. Go through the work they've done, leave comments, and let them handle the corrections.

Loose or changing requirements

The middle of the project is not the time to change existing requirements or spring up new ones. The process of estimating and adding the cost of the changes will only delay the project and cause some tension between the teams.

If the estimate was for a traditional website redesign, then it's based on predetermined conversations and goals; making changes will take time and money to implement. So this becomes a common issue in traditional web design.

Adjusting and working with requirements in a redesign project

The best way to understand what a site's requirements are, is to understand the goals of the site. Once you have measurable goals, you'll be able to sort the "must-haves" from the "nice-to-haves" on the site.

Alternatively, if you try Growth Driven Design, your requirements evolve with the project. What seemed absolutely necessary in the beginning of the project seems almost irrelevant now, but some other ideas have come into place. At least with GDD, you can use your retainer for your new, refined requirements.

To conclude:

There are plenty of roadblocks that come up when redesigning your website. Whether it be budgetary restraints, communication issues, changes in website needs, etc. Halts in these projects aren't uncommon though.

Planning out your project could definitely shed some light on your requirements and help sort out some of those "must-haves" and "nice-to-haves" mentioned earlier. To see our guide to building a redesign strategy, click the image below.

Learn how to create a redesign strategy