Building a new website: Part 1

In the past I’ve blogged about hiring a new web design agency and how we approached it. Since my last blog the groundwork for the new site has started with the new and shiny agency. 

Very sensibly the process started with a kick off with our digital team, agreeing how the project would run, what tools we would use and key deadlines. We also agreed on running a quick and simple survey of all staff via email, plus a more detailed meeting with the senior team and a Website Steering Group of thirteen (representing each department and need). 

The purpose of the initial meetings are to understand people’s concerns about the project, what users will use the site and what the priorities for the site are. 

Prioritising users and their needs is a very interesting exercise and very challenging, with heated discussion from different teams, each seeing their people to be high up the priority list. It needs strict moderation, otherwise you end up with a big clump of priority audiences – which we did! 

The challenge with any web build like this is to manage expectations. If we said yes to everything the project would be over budget and wouldn’t be delivered on time. We’re going to review individual requirements against the business plan and budget and phase development over three years. This means the website is always improving, but you can build quicker and more cost effectively. That means that in just four months we can start reaping the rewards of out investment. 

In our early meetings I’ve also found myself feeling confident that we’ve chosen the right agency. They are communicating well with everyone across the organisation (board level, staff, volunteers and supporters) and not trying to bamboozle people with jargon. 

As I write this I’m on my way to an event ot the Houses of Parliament and the agency is coming along as well to meet supporters, MPs, trustees and staff. It’s a great opportunity for them to really get under the skin of the work we do. 

In the thick of the action....

In the thick of the action....