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Chapter 1. Planning a Web Project > Preparing to Redesign an Existing Site

Preparing to Redesign an Existing Site

Most of the preparations that you need to do for a new site also apply to an existing site. Some differences that you should take into consideration as you prepare to redesign a site include these:

  • Evaluate your current Web site. The first task is to look at the current site and evaluate how well it aligns with your needs. Look at the content, functionality, and look and feel as separate elements. Take each aspect of your site into consideration — technologies used, coding techniques, site structure, colors, style of writing, and so on. List them all and rate them based on whether they can be used on the new site.

  • Have experts look at what you have. Large or complex sites need to be evaluated by selected experts or consultants. In particular, coding and technologies need to be evaluated to make sure that you don't reuse old, outdated technologies instead of using a redesign as an opportunity to make important upgrades.

    Don't get caught up in the “newer is always better” line of thinking because it isn't. You know the old saying — “If it isn't broken, don't fix it.” Sometimes that's the best course to take. Make sure you weigh the pros and cons of keeping or replacing code carefully before you dive into a big project.

  • Include all stakeholders in the initial evaluation process. This can help you verify that the information on your site is current and accurate. A site redesign is a good opportunity to involve all interested parties in looking at and updating materials that have been posted for a while. It's common for certain types of information to be posted to a site and then forgotten. Be sure to look at contact information and directions pages — they often harbor out‐of‐date information.

  • Check the front‐end code. Look at the code that handles the display of your interface — HTML and Cascading Style Sheets (if your site has them). These technologies have undergone many rapid changes over the past few years, and many sites could benefit from recoding the pages. Book III, Chapters 2 and 3 have information about current HTML and CSS coding.

  • Gather the data and make decisions. When the analysis and evaluation is done and you've collected all the feedback from interested parties and content owners (people responsible for the content of part or all of a site), it's time to start the planning process. Compare what you currently have with what you need your site to be and decide what parts of the current site can be used as is, repurposed and used, and what needs to be thrown out. As you're deciding what to do, keep in mind that it's often better to put a little more effort into recoding or reworking an existing item than it is to roll a cumbersome or badly developed piece of functionality into a new site. One of your project goals is to make the site more efficient than it currently is. With the analysis in hand, you're ready to start working on meeting with stakeholders and your team to plan your approach.



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