Website Redesign Project Risk Factors With Examples
“Our clients are confused and complain to us.”
“The website is frustratingly slow.”
“And, it looks dated.”
“While our competitors look modern and rank higher.”
“We are losing business!”
Businesses should take steps to improve their risk management capabilities as per the 2022 Global Risk Survey. Websites are often the first point of contact with your audience, and a poor website is a real problem.
As the negative impressions accumulate, business suffers. Eventually, the pressure becomes sufficient to create a consensus to act. When this happens, executives allocate budgets, align priorities, and form stakeholder teams. By being aware of website redesign project risks, you can be better prepared to deal with them if they do occur.
The teams draft RFPs, then source and evaluate vendors. Everyone works hard to steer the project through months of meetings, designs, eventually implementation, and deployment. Finally, after setbacks and delays, the new site goes live. Often times, the fruits of this labor are met with more criticism:
“It’s faster, I think?”
“Better than before, but looks kind of weird on my phone.” “Why did it take so long?”
“Wait, how much did this project cost?”
“Clients struggle to figure it out and are annoyed.”
Underwhelming responses to website redesign projects are surprisingly common. Worse still, companies struggle to learn from the experience. Ironically, the most impactful miscalculations occur early in a project and have relatively straightforward remedies. Based on our extensive experience, we have compiled the key website redesign project risk factors that are most often underestimated or entirely ignored.
List of 4 Website Redesign Project Risks
Many website redesign projects operate under unreasonable time pressure. This is largely due to organizational complexities and team dynamics. Moreover, unrealistic and overly aggressive timelines tend to compound other factors as well.
Often, the stakeholders try to substitute assumptions for a genuine discovery process. This is particularly true concerning the development of thorough user personas and user journeys. Constrained by time, these exercises are demoted in priority or afforded only a surface-level treatment.
Taking shortcuts and rushing will ultimately cost you. For example, when direct user interviews are not conducted and instead stakeholder-provided descriptions are adopted unchallenged.
Due diligence is important for any business venture. However, when it comes to website redesign project risk, there is an increased chance of failure if the stakeholder lacks proper research in structuring a website and competition.
Direct interviews and current site analysis will yield unique, unexpected discoveries indicating customer goals not currently understood or fully serviced. Improving the value proposition to align with these goals will contribute significantly to the ROI of the redesign effort.
Such opportunities to interact with your users are important and rare. Rushing past them to form conclusions off of assumptions is a basic website redesign project risk you should avoid at all cost.
Timelines are not the only project constraint with significant impact on outcomes. Budgets can help to prioritize and trim scope, but inappropriately low budgets can trigger economic traps where relatively inexpensive steps are skipped in service of fitting an initiative to a number. This is a significant website redesign project risk as well.
Turning meaningful choices into missed opportunities saves no money over the lifecycle of the website redesign project. In particular, short-term budgetary concerns can override the need to perform a clean slate platform assessment on open-source CMS projects.
Formally evaluating a few potential website platforms to determine the optimal choice in support of requirements is never a waste of resources. There is not a single best CMS that works for everyone.
Picking a CMS based on online reviews, even from a trusted source, then searching for an experienced vendor is not a process that yields optimal long-term ROI and business value. It is far more valuable to invest in a deliberate and unbiased choice of a platform.
3. Compromising Vision
Every project concludes with a backlog of low-priority features slated, which usually are slated for completion during maintenance or in post-MVP phases of development. While this is normal, the risk of a wrong decision rises when valuable aspects of a project are traded for temporary or superficial gains.
Prioritizing approval cycles or consensus-building for relatively minor elements over vital considerations such as multi-device responsiveness and adaptive architecture introduces limitations. Losing focus on value is what led to the need for a complete redesign in the first place!
Making assumptions about how your audience accesses your current site runs the risk of degrading their experience when they visit the newly deployed site on their mobile devices. Simply choosing a responsive theme is rarely a complete solution to this problem. As this example shows, long-term project goals and vision should take precedence over short term gains.
4. Ignoring Metrics
Making decisions based on assumptions is a risk. If you are feeling tentative about measuring your baselines and then planning to work on improving them, it may be a sign of a lack of confidence in your decision-making process.
A company undertaking a website redesign project is usually at their wits end with their old site. Therefore, spending more time analyzing it may seem counterintuitive. Often, this is reflected in how SEO concerns are treated within the larger context of project requirements.
For the best results, the SEO objectives must not be addressed as a secondary follow-up to the rest of the process. This needs to be considered when undertaking a website redesign project.
To optimize discoverability, relevance, and eventually conversion and acquisition, these objectives must be factored into the Information Architecture phase, or even earlier into the User Journey creation. Measuring user statistics before and after a complete redesign is a powerful way to demonstrate the realized ROI of the overall effort. It is a fantastic way to highlight and showcase the stakeholder success.
We hope that this list may help avoid basic website redesign project risks. However, examples cannot stand in for real experience. To make the best decisions, it helps to have a design system roadmap. If you want to know how to use one, click here. That’s the goal we set for ourselves. Contact us or write to us for any web design and consultancy needs, and we’ll be ready to help. The number one way to avoid common pitfalls is to bring in an expert who has, in the words of Niels Bohr, “already made all the mistakes which can be made, in a narrow field.”
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