This article scares me. The article says site redesigns are rarely necessary and that we need to take baby steps to redesigning a site. Add a new function one at a time. I’m redesigning our intranet now, and I don’t want to think that it’s for nothing and that it will only frustrate users. At least the first few comments I read support redesigns, though.
He is exactly right when he says “At best, it just rearranges the elements. At worst, it frustrates the existing, loyal users without bringing anything valuable to all those new users the site is trying to attract.” I’m rearranging, but it’s quite a clean up, too. And I did show the prototype to users, and they liked it. I made sure my focus group and testers were people in my organization who hate change and criticize any time they are asked for their opinion. And guess what: they like my new design.
But I don’t want to upset users. I am giving all departments and nursing units a packet with the new design and quick guide to how to use it, where things went and why the rebuild. Hopefully they won’t be surprised at go live because they should have seen the posters in their department and seen it on our CCTV and screensavers around the hospital.
It is important to add new elements one at a time. At relaunch, we will have a new banner at the top and new navigation buttons, but the new “functions” include a survey and comments after each news item and embedded video. Awesome! I know users will like that. We already started using discussion boards, but we didn’t promote it much. We will soon though.
Coming soon (post relaunch): wiki, executive blog(s), photo galleries that allow for downloading images (right now we just link to our Flickr site), and RSS feeds (can’t link to our Twitter site though because it’s blocked).
Intranet tips/suggestions welcome.
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