The Quick and Dirty Guide to a Successful Website Deployment: Part 1: Research

So, you've been charged with the responsibility of giving your company website a facelift. Your logo looks as though it was designed by a six year-old, the overall design screams, "1998," and the blinking text effects are starting to cause problems with your epileptic readers. Let's be honest. You've got a lot of work ahead of you and the next 3-4 months are going to suck. But, before firing up the ol' Photoshop, before nesting 37 div tags into a single wrapper, and before punching your fist through the wall, consider the following bits of advice that may make this project a bit more tolerable.


Every time I embark on a new site design, I always go hunting for prime website examples within the industry at hand. The goal here isn't to start ripping off the competition's site design, graphic design, copy or product images. You're looking for ideas and inspiration.

Perhaps Company "X" has a great slideshow that engages the user the moment he/she visits the site. Perhaps Company "Y" has some very helpful widgets on the homepage that display their newest and most popular products. Perhaps Company "Z" has an exceptional method of generating leads (such as a non-intrusive "Request for Information" form that's shoved in an I-frame or Lightbox). You get the idea.

Your goal is to create a general site layout in your head and have a running tab of ideas you can present to the development team BEFORE the coding and design processes even begin.

If you can pull it off, you'll be hailed as a brilliant project manager that KNOWS how to get things done in a timely manner. If you fail, prepare to be called every name in the book. Prepare for your co-workers to doubt your abilities and prepare for your bosses to doubt your competencies as a manager.