An Event Apart: A Site Redesign, Part 1

by May 6, 2009

Jeffrey Zeldman's opening presentation, A Site Redesign Part 1, at An Event Apart in Seattle highlighted some of his thinking behind Web site redesigns and letting the content of a site drive design decisions.

  • Any redesign project starts with “what problem are we trying to solve?”
  • A process gives you a way to bring people along during a project & helps people make decisions
  • Research produces achievable goals. It's important to look at the market and see what is out there to frame your work.
  • Research also makes you a credible partner. Understanding the problem helps people perceive you as a strategic partner. One of the hardest challenges as a designer is changing how people perceive you.
  • Build the relationship before you show the design. Lots of early meetings with clients set the stage for site redesigns
  • Content strategy –you need one. Content can help provide personality to your site.
  • You need to recap and repeat (gently) so people are always reminded why you are doing things. If things go astray, its usually because people forget the direction and decisions made. Reiterate them throughout the process.
  • Sell ideas, not pixels. Design is like music. When people see the design, they say –that’s for us.
  • Turn criticism into a listening exercise to understand the real issues people have.
  • For an internal redesign, the process is the same. Look at where you have been and define the problem you are trying to solve.
  • Design from the content out. Make a series of decisions based on the purpose of the site. Use real data to make representative layouts.