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Introducing: The New Website Process
Tens of thousands of years ago, Wooly Mammoths roamed the earth. I like to imagine a bunch of Mannys from the movie Ice Age roaming around—a bit awkward and slow—but loving and courageous. I visualize a bunch of huge teddy bears that enjoy warm cuddles together around a campfire. Unfortunately these friendly giants didn’t have quite the glamorous lifestyle of today. Instead, they survived by their physical attributes, using large tusks to dig through snow in search of food, a heavy blanket of fur to keep them protected from the harsh temperatures, and a secreting oil to cover their fur to offer more protection from the cold. Those characteristics kept them alive until, that is, they disappeared completely. The end.
So what happened?
Climate change. And humans.
And the Wooly Mammoth couldn’t adapt fast enough.
Organizations are facing a similar challenge to the Wooly Mammoth, in regards to their digital marketing presence.
The digital environment is facing a dramatic climate change, and has been the past 10 years. And just as the Wooly Mammoth failed to evolve quickly enough to survive climate change, organizations face a similar challenge. Here at CV, we’ve recently updated our web design process to create a simple way to embrace this terrain, allowing for steady and constant progress. Here are our takeaways:
1. A Strong Foundation.
I like to view this as sketching the skeleton. Businesses must understand and map out their organizational goals, demographics, and distinguishing factors that set them apart from their competition. Once this discovery phase is accomplished, priorities are set and teams can start strategizing their overall digital plan based on this foundation.
2. Content Structure.
The keyword here is ‘structure’. Essentially, this is the process of creating a blueprint that establishes the content structure and organization of your digital presence. This step sets the framework for what a user experiences when viewing your site. Organizing content can be a common challenge for organizations, but since we have defined goals and an established demographic (see step 1), referring to your foundation will allow for clarity and focus when you are faced with a challenging content decision.
The beautiful part of this step? You do not need to know word-for-word what you want to communicate; you simply need to define the structure to continue moving forward.
“You can create good experiences without knowing the content. What you can’t do is create good experiences without knowing your content structure. What is your content made from, not what your content is. An important distinction.” – Mark Boulton
We’ve recently transitioned from designing full page mock-ups to working in a framework called Atomic design. Atomic Design is the idea of working on one design element at a time. It’s like looking at the atom first, then combining atoms to form molecules. Instead of mocking up an entire home page, it might be deciding the button, form, and headline style first. This way we have a set of design standards that we can start putting together to form larger design structures that are consistent. This allows for small but quick changes that overtime keep your website constantly adapting.
4. Test and Repeat:
After we have built and launched the website it is time to start optimizing. This typically means reviewing the overall user experience. Maybe a homepage image with 2 buttons is converting less than a homepage image with one button. Maybe it’s best to change the wording on a call-to-action and split-testing.
This process is treating your website as if it were a living organism—allowing it to evolve and adapt when needed. This way even if your website is a Wooly Mammoth, its Wooly Mammoth 2.0, ready to survive any climate change that comes its way!