Saturday, January 30, 2016

For whom are you designing your website?

The TechGirlz team decided mid-year that we needed to redesign our website. We have been experiencing a good amount of growth as we were executing on our vision and strategy. This growth had us adding more pages to our site and it was becoming unwiedly. We needed a new design.

Becca, TechGirlz co-webmaster and graphics designer (of the many things she does), decided to take on the redesign. (As a note, Becca is also my marketing assistant at Chariot. She had recently taken on a project, under the guidance of my coworker, Ken, and wanted to expand upon her knowledge and experience). 

Before we have even looked at a new design, Becca started with a site map. She worked with the stakeholders on the TechGirlz team, since they are her clients, and clarified their goals and frustrations with our current site. Then she and I sat down to discuss the flow.

As we started reviewing the site map plans, we had a discussion about who would be using the site.  Understanding our audience and what their needs would be, helped us think through the flow of how one of the members of the different audiences would go go through the site.  

After 5 years of TechGirlz, we understand our audience is comprised of parents who want to have their girls involved in tech, people who want to volunteer, people who want to use our materials for their programs/organizations, potential funders, and press/media.  Most people assume because of our name, the girls would be the biggest audience for our website and that is not the case.

If you are a new service or product, you will have hypothesis of who your audience is. Talking to your clients, not only will help your sales and define your product/service, but will also help you understand what information you need to feed them.

After revising the site map, we went and had a review by trusted advisors and potential visitors to make sure we did not miss anything obvious (sometimes another set of eyes is a good thing to catch a really dumb mistake).  This second set of reviews also allows for some new ideas.  Sometimes, you think you know everything, but you really don’t. 

Even if you are hiring an outside firm to design and implement your site, they do not know the people you are trying to reach as well as you do.  Make sure that does not get lost in color and image selection, platform choice, etc.

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