How a wishlist could transform your next website redesign
by Anna Kaine on 28 January 2019
Want to know how the humble wishlist could transform, not only the look and feel of your website and the user experience for your customers, but the way your team imagines, plans and creates the future of your business?
From our very first letters to Father Christmas, to the daily post-its that adorn our desks: humans love lists. It’s a way many of us cope with the endless “to-do” nature of our busy lives – doctor’s appointments, birthday parties, important emails – everything goes on a list to be nicely ticked off. It’s a physical way to show progress (how good does it feel to realise you’ve ticked off half your list?), encouraging yourself that you’re not that far off finishing your workload for the day.
Using this same model in a website redesign can be the crucial difference between getting the website you’ve longed for – a website that is far better than your competitors’ and creates a user experience that is a joy for visitors – and creating yet another mediocre site that ticks all the predictable boxes you’ve always ticked before. Colourful pens at the ready: it's time to get creative.
This isn’t a trick question – it really is a simple concept. A wishlist consists of all the requirements from a website that you can possibly think of, all in one place. HubSpot simply defines it as:
“A continually evolving list of the creative, game-changing ideas to solve user challenges, bring them value and ultimately hit business goals.”
And the best way to come up with these ideas? Getting representatives from across your business to join together and dedicate some serious thinking to the cause. A wishlist needs to be created in the strategy stage of the process – before you even start planning the design or discussing budgets. And that takes lots of creative minds.
When designing a website, it can become all too easy to want “everything”: new branding, new pages built, old ones updated, chatbots added, forms included, a content overhaul and fresh imagery. This is the reason a traditional redesign usually takes six months – sometimes even longer – to complete. Businesses often feel they need to change everything immediately, to show instant impact. But sometimes making small changes at a time allows you to step back and assess what’s actually working – and what’s not. Digital 22 puts it this way:
“When you’re ready to launch your website, it’s not always a wise idea to include every single feature. That’s a crucial error made in the traditional web design method. Think about it, if you’re throwing every feature possible on your website, how can you improve from that even more? You can’t learn effectively about user behaviour and you can’t make impactful changes down the line.”
If you create a wishlist, and prioritise certain points, businesses can evaluate the most urgent updates and start making those, analyse the results of these changes, then start feeding further wishlist elements into the redesign through a launchpad website over the following weeks and months.
As previously mentioned, you need a good cross-section of your business represented at your first brainstorming session. From sales and service operators, to the marketing and content team, web designers and developers – make sure you have an even spread of the business covered.
You want the ideas brought to this session to stand for every aspect of the business – there are some things only front-line sales people will know, just as there are things only your web team will be able to communicate. Some of the ideas Impact recommends your attendees consider to help them get started are:
It is advised to roughly use the following structure for the meeting:
Top tip: Ask teams to keep a ‘running journal’ of ideas during these initial strategy weeks, rather than writing all their ideas just an hour or so before the wishlist meeting.
Top tip: You might have upwards of 200 suggestions from the team – from site elements and features, to brand new sections and pages. You need to create a grading system – or an impact score – to categorise how much of an impact each idea will make to the user and the business.
One you have decided which items are “must haves” and others “nice to haves”, you’ll have a clearer idea about which ideas need to be turned into a reality first. The general rule to stick to is – of the items you have on the list, which 20% of them will produce 80% of the impact and value for site users?
We will go into more detail about how to use this 80/20 split to analyse impact, as well as how to create hypothetical statements for each redesign element, in our next post. We hope this has given you food for thought, and the help you might need to structure your next wishlist planning session. Remember, talking, listening and giving everyone the opportunity to share their findings is at the core of the strategy stage: get this right and your launchpad site will fly.