As marketers, you want more prospects and increased sales, right? Then make sure you are involved in the design and development process of your company’s new or redesigned website BEFORE it’s ready to launch.
I came across this article by Five Sparrows and was reminded what marketing should be looking for when a website (re)design is in the works (audience, message, call-to-action, etc.). What the author doesn’t mention, however, is WHEN marketing should be concerned with these aspects of a website. The quick answer is definitely NOT after the design and development team has completed their work and the site is ready to launch.
Communicate Early & Often
IAs, designers, and programmers need to communicate early with marketing and let you in on the planning and wireframing process. (Other stakeholders should also be included, but we’ll save those for another post.) By communicating early, marketing’s questions can be answered and requirements quickly fleshed out in the beginning–before the site is about to be published.
For example, what is the key goal of the website? For many companies, it is to increase sales conversions. But if your team isn’t on the same page, the main goal may vary for each department. IAs want to showcase the company’s capabilities (products and/or services) in an intuitive, usable manner. Designers want it to look good and appear engaging, while programmers want clean code that is compatible across browsers. And you want to showcase the values and/or benefits of the company or its products. It’s also important to you that the website is consistent with the company’s branding and messaging. You usually get to share your feedback when the design and development team has done their part, they’re about to launch the site, and just need your approval. However, if your needs are not addressed, friction occurs and the site will have to be reworked.
By collaborating with the development team in the planning and wireframing stages of the process, you can express your needs alongside the needs of the rest of the development team, before the site is built. Your team will then experience fewer headaches, less rework in the programming stages, and produce a better website in the end.
It’s easy getting involved in early-stage collaboration during the website development process by using to a tool like ProtoShare. The development team can easily create wireframes, upload comps, or even build prototypes to demonstrate interactions then quickly invite you to view their work. You can see what they’re working on, add comments to specific areas of the layout or design, and they can make adjustments instantly. Once all sides are satisfied with the outcome, programmers can then build the site with few edits needed afterward.
So if you aren’t already invited to the party, make sure you give your development team a call to find out when the planning and wireframing festivities begin. You might have some insight they missed. Better sales conversions = happier teams.