As you may have noticed, the Institute website has undergone a major renovation in the past six months. What once felt like an easy to navigate, user-friendly site became a convoluted and messy web address. Many of you may be facing the same problem. Your website is hard to maneuver around, your board wants an updated site, and you, the employee, want an updated site. You believe an updated website will attract more members. So where do you begin?
First, decide what is most important to your users.
For Institute, we wanted to provide the content currently being displayed in a more user-friendly experience. What does that mean? We wanted users to find the exact information they needed in 60 seconds or less. We categorized the typical user of the Institute website into three groups. He or she was: a prospective attendee, a current attendee, or a graduate of Institute. Although a slim majority of people don’t fit into this generalization, we determined this margin was slim enough to exclude.
Second, determine if your content is relevant or if certain pages need to be rewritten entirely.
Institute concluded that the content on our website was good, it was just displayed poorly. This was good for us because it cut down on our production time. In our eyes, the less time spent on new content equated to more time spent on design.
Finally, budget the resources necessary for this project.
The first time you hear of a new product or organization, what do you do? You look them up online. With the move to digitalization, people go to the web before they go to the yellow pages or pick up the phone. Understanding the need to put resources behind your redesign is critical. Institute teamed up with the U.S. Chamber’s web team to strategize and ultimately build the new site.
A couple final tips to modernize your organization’s website:
- Put information that is most valuable and relevant in the top third of your page. View your homepage as you would a newspaper by asking yourself, what is the most important information I have to share? For example, if registration for your upcoming conference is closing soon, consider putting information about the conference and a link to registration there.
- A great website does not need flash or a ton of images. What separates good websites from great ones is the content. Make sure your content is information your users need and is as up-to-date as possible.