At Netroots Nation last week, I did the second iteration of a training first introduced at Organizing 2.0 with Fureigh in December 2009: How to Plan for Your Website Redesign. I was joined by Erin Hofteig of Middle Coast and Paula Brantner of Workplace Fairness, who both offered additional perspectives on the process. Read more about Erin and Paula.
We described the training as follows:
Redesigning your website can be easy and fun or expensive and painful. We’ll cover content management systems (CMS), customer/constituent relationship management (CRM), writing RFPs and how to select a vendor. This panel will include a handful or organizations and blogs that have recently completed the redesign process.
Some key take-aways from our training and the crowd:
- Don't pick the "best" CMS and CRM. Pick the tools that are right for your budget and project. Also consider how big you want to scale. Need to roll out a campaign microsite in a few days, low cost and low functionality? Maybe WordPress is for you. Long term, scalable and complex user permissions? Drupal is the answer. (Yes, I did just say that Drupal may not *always* be the best choice.)
- Metrics, metrics, metrics: Look at your analytics data and see what pages have lots of visits, where those visits are coming from, time on site, etc.
- Design for your organization's mission and goals, not to have the newest and shiniest toys.
- RFPs are often not the best way to select a vendor. More on this to come soon from Adam Mordecai.
- Think about placement of the Donate buttons and links. You can put more than one link and you should. Check out Human Rights Watch for an example. How many can you find? New research shows that users do scroll and that they view pages in an F-pattern, across and then down, across, less, etc.. A great summary of this research is available at Usability.gov.
Eye-tracking heat map showing the F-pattern of viewing page content.
- The web project is never complete. Always be designing, tracking, improving.
Resources we mentioned:
- Idealware's Research on How to Pick Tools
- Non-Profit Technology Network (NTEN)'s 501 Tech Clubs
- NTEN's Annual Conference
- My blog post on The Web Development Process for Newbies
- NetSquared's Local Groups
- ProgressiveExchange Email List
- Steve Krug's book Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability
- Dan M. Brown's book Communicating Design: Developing Web Site Documentation for Design and Planning
We got fantastic feedback from the crowd and I will definitely be doing this training again as I continue to refine it, perhaps at next year's Organizing 2.0 or NTC.
What tips did we miss? What big questions do you still have about this process? Comment and I'll respond here or write a whole blog post to answer your questions.