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Web Redesign: 5 Steps for Success

Successfully redesigning a website requires more than superior knowledge of coding and great user experience – behind the scenes, the ideal project involves mutual respect and understanding on both the part of an agency and its clients.

For last 12 months we’ve been working with Phoenix College defining the user experience, site architecture, technical specifications, design, development, training and now support for their new website. Phoenix College wanted to present their rich heritage and comprehensive educational resources in the best possible way to support their community, while providing new opportunities for interactivity and multimedia integration. This month the completed site launched on time and in budget.

So what made this project such a success on the part of both thinkPARALLAX and Phoenix College?

  1. Test the waters: Before embarking on a large scale project, it’s good to develop a good client/agency relationship, so you can get to know each other on a personal and professional level and learn each others’ working styles. We accomplished this when partnering with Phoenix on a smaller web project for an interactive timeline in 2010.
  2. Respect: It’s smart to establish a mutual respect, regarding knowledge and skill set, from and for both parties. Phoenix knew their audience and industry in great detail and could provide thinkPARALLAX with feedback about their needs and the direction they want to take the organization. Their design and development knowledge was more than a step above the average client. They respected our feedback, ideas and the time it would take to achieve the results that we were both aiming to achieve.
  3. Vision: When you’re on the same team, it’s much easier to accomplish your end goals. From the start of the project, both thinkPARALLAX and Phoenix shared a vision for desired results and how to achieve objectives.
  4. Process: Stick to the process – don’t skip steps. For a site of this size, the process from discovery to training is more important than ever. Jumping to the development stage before tech specs are finalized never turns out well. For this project, both parties were comfortable and willing to adhere to a step-by-step process.
    Our Process
  5. Transparency: thinkPARALLAX is always transparent while working with clients and partners. With an ongoing and moving project like this, being clear about roles and responsibilities is key. We hired Sage Tree as our development partner and resident Drupal experts. When it came to engineering and the core of Drupal, they were our go-to partner – not hidden under the thinkPARALLAX shell, but a partner. On the thinkPARALLAX side we called out each team member by name, and established their skill set and responsibility for the project, so everyone knew who did what. On the client side, transparency with approvals, timing, budget and internal workings always creates an improved process.

As with all projects we’ve learned how to improve for the next one. We realize that regardless of the type of project, client or desired outcome, we’ll make sure to include these 5 steps to ensure a smooth process and a great outcome.

The Main Site: presenting Phoenix’s academic offerings and organizational information
The Social Site: Bear Tracks delivers the school’s event calendars, blog posts, and social media
The Athletics Site: showcasing all eight athletic teams, the sport facilities, and the athletic staff
The Library Site: managing access to the abundant offerings of library and research tools available to students

Phoenix College is the flagship school of the Maricopa Community College district that now ranks as the nation’s largest community college system and the single largest provider of higher education and career training in Arizona.

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