Article

Jill Grozalsky
Jill Grozalsky 14 July 2017

How to Keep Your Eye on the Prize During Website Projects

You may not have heard of Redesign Excitement Distraction Disorder (REDD) as it's not recognized by clinical professionals, but trust me when I say it’s a real thing. If you have ever worked on a website redesign or redevelopment project, then you have seen the symptoms first hand as they are pretty easy to spot. 

You may not have heard of Redesign Excitement Distraction Disorder (REDD) as it's not recognized by clinical professionals, but trust me when I say it’s a real thing. If you have ever worked on a website redesign or redevelopment project, then you have seen the symptoms first hand as they are pretty easy to spot. 

It starts with enthusiasm and excitement about the possibilities for what’s to come in the project. There is then a need to discuss grievances and frustrations with the current system in place; and lastly, there is a feeling of anxiety as the final deadline approaches.

In addition, throughout the entire process, there is an urge for new and more content, which often contributes to overwhelming anxiety.

So the question becomes,  how do you keep your eye on the prize and not succumb to the symptoms of REDD?

It may sound simple,  but there by keeping your business objectives, and, more importantly, target audience top of mind, you will be able to keep your focus and battle REDD symptoms. 

At the beginning of a project, one of the first activities tackled is aligning on business objectives and success factors. You answer critical questions such as “What does our organization want to achieve in the next three years? Five years?” “How do we deliver the best experience for our users?” and “What do they need that we aren’t delivering today?” Yet, somehow throughout this whole process, objectives are often thrown to the side, despite their role as a foundational element to the project.

Prior to attending project meetings, or as you enter a new phase in the project, make sure that business objectives are reviewed with all participants, new and old. Make a point to have all objectives visible to ensure they’re not overlooked. In fact, have them printed on a poster or write them on a whiteboard. Whenever there’s a tough decision to be made, use your objectives as a guiding light so the decisions support the larger effort and remind you of why you started the project in the first place.

Keeping business objectives top of mind isn’t the only thing you can do to cure or prevent REDD symptoms. Prioritizing your users and always bringing it back to your audiences can also help.

Audiences become especially important when talking about content – either for a redesign or just content creation in general. However, the notion that “Content is King” can propel everyone into an unnecessary frenzy thinking that they need to produce pages and pages of copy. I’m not saying you don’t need content, but you need the right content. How do you determine the right content and the appropriate amount? You guessed it: remember your business objectives and your audiences!

A wise man once told me, “You don’t want to create audiences for your content, you want to create content for your audiences.” Not only should you jot that down, but know that prioritizing audiences not only makes content creation more efficient, but it can also help make sure you’re developing a strong personalization strategy.

So, while REDD may seem scary at first, just know that keeping your business objectives and audience groups in sight can help cure REDD. Business objectives and audiences help teams stay focused as they work towards a common goal.

All that being said, there may be some side effects to these two antidotes, which could include: effective content, an increase in KPIs and conversions, faster decision-making processes, sprint efficiency, and increased customer loyalty.

Experiencing symptoms of REDD? Let’s chat – tweet at me @jgrozalsky

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