I frequently work with clients to redesign their websites. We find it very important to guide a conversation at the start of the process to determine exactly what they want to accomplish. All too often they know they want a better website, but haven’t really thought through what that means.

We typically kick off the process with a brainstorming session. Although each one takes on a personality of its own and we usually veer off in many different directions since the website is really just a piece of their broader strategic communications effort, the following questions typically come up:

  • What are the top 3 goals for the website redesign? (Be as specific as possible and list in priority order)
  • What are the top 3 audiences for your site? (Be as specific as possible and list in priority order)
  • What are the top 3 actions you would like visitors to your website to take? (Be as specific as possible and list in priority order)
  • Identify 3-5 competitor websites. (Or websites of similar organizations even if you don’t see them as competitors)
  • Are there other sites that you want to compare yourself against when the redesign is done?
  • What do you like and dislike about your current site?
  • Are there websites that you particularly like (even if they’re not of a similar type of agency)? Why?
  • Are there websites that you particularly dislike? Why?
  • Is there anything else that you’d like us to consider when we do the redesign?

You will notice a common thread here that most of these focus on what the outcome of the project — as well as the website itself — rather than the mechanics of specific design elements. While you can’t overlook design questions altogether, it’s most important to understand the goals and objectives first.

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