I always experience stress when about to hit 'publish' on a B2B website redesign. Sometimes alot, sometimes a little. Managing that led to making a mental checklist, which you'll find below. It's intended to help those directing or approving the redesign, to check whether a site really is going to do its job. In my experience, if I can enthusiastically answer 'yes!' to all 9 of these questions, we are good to go.
[Note: The content and title of this post were updated 10/21/2015 by Rebekah Donaldson. The original title of the piece, which was by Cris Rominger and posted in 2009, was "B2B Website Design: Check the 9 Must-Have Qualities".]
If you have an opportunity to redesign your company's website, you can make a giant leap forward in its effectiveness. Thoughtful redesigns can transform a website generating no or few leads into one generating leads every day.
What does 'thoughtful redesign' mean? To me it means, at minimum:
- Meeting branding goals (if what they are isn't clear, it may be time for from-the-ground-up rebranding)
- Meeting user goals (ideally, talk with real users; intel also available from website analytics and Sales)
What does 'meeting branding and user goals' mean? In practice, it means you can say 'yes!' to the following. If you can do that, you're probably good to go and can hit 'publish' with confidence.
- Can users now accomplish their goals quicker?
- Is our site better organized? Are paths to information clearer than before?
- Are labels in the navigation etc familiar and instructive? So users are better oriented now?
- Do we have all and only the content needed to instill trust and build credibility?
- Are the downloads we offer up to date, authentic, and useful?
- Wherever a user lands, do we communicate a clear value proposition?
- Can our users share more easily now via social media, PDFs, etc?
- Do the design changes better communicate what we stand for?
- Does our updated site look great on any device, browser, or operating system?
Even some top brands have failed
While these questions may sound straightforward, they are also very easy to overlook in implementation.
Recently Forrester Research released its Best and Worst of Brand Building Web Sites. They looked at 20 top brands through two key questions:
- Test A - Does the site cater to user needs?
- Test B - Does the site support brand positioning?
The results were shocking:
- Only 4 sites passed Test A
- Only 7 sites passed Test B
- And only 1 site passed both tests!
Fixing branding problems
According to Forrester's Ron Rogowski, “common brand action problems included poor text legibility, confusing category names, and missing or buried content. On the Brand Image side, sites were guilty of layouts, imagery, and production values that failed to support brand positioning. To improve the online brand experience, top firms should document their users’ goals, clearly define their brand attributes, and map relevant attributes to the right target users.”
Managing your redesign stress
If you need to plan or evaluate website design changes, try going down the checklist of 9 items above. If you need help, you can check out examples of our work and learn about our company here: