This is Part 2 in our series about the questions you should ask before redesigning a web or mobile app. Head here for 7 user need questions to ask.
Today we’re talking through process questions you as product owner or team should ask before you begin a redesign process.
These questions are meant to get you thinking about things that might not be at the forefront of your mind yet. But we’ve been through this before and hope you’ll benefit from our lessons-learned!
1. Who are the stakeholders?
Whether you’re working alone or with a product team as you begin this relaunch process, it’s important to identify upfront the stakeholders and decision makers across your organization.
Stakeholders include everyone who will be impacted by the redesign, from users and support staff to the CEO and investors. Many of these people will have input into the process and the scope of the work, although some will be affected by the outcomes without any direct input.
2. Who are the decision makers?
Similarly, who are the decision makers? Do you as the product owner or product team have final decision-making power? If not, which decisions need to be run by other stakeholders? What will the process look like for involving them?
This is important because moving forward without these approvals can result in wasted time, effort and, ultimately, money if the design or development team has to rework something that was approved initially by the product team.
Similarly, because our team designs the user experience very intentionally around user needs and organizational goals, we’ve found it’s helpful to have the design strategist or developer working on the project explain the rationale behind design or development choices. Presenting these directly to those decision makers ensures they have the full picture before making a final decision.
3. What type of deadline(s) do you have? Is it a hard deadline based around other events, or are you flexible?
Once we know your deadline (and just how firm that date is) we can work backwards to create a scope and budget.
There’s a principle known as, among other things, the project management triangle. This principle states that all projects have three constraints: scope, budget, and timeline. The over-simplified punchline is, “Scope, budget, timeline. Pick two.” In reality, project managers juggle all three, and changes in one impact the others.
What that means is you can get an app done quickly and within a budget, but you’ll have to adjust the scope to do so, perhaps launching with fewer features initially. Or you can create a larger scope with more features, but that will increase your budget or your timeline (and sometimes both).
When a client comes to us with a short deadline, we’re careful not to overpromise. However, we can often work within those deadlines as long as you’re willing to let go of the “nice-to-have” features and focus on the core features of the project instead.
4. How much time do you have to dedicate to this project?
You may be envisioning a process where you simply describe the updates to the app you’d like to see and then the agency you hire does the rest. Unfortunately, that’s not quite how it works. In order to build a website or app that serves your organization long term, you’ll need to provide insight and feedback throughout the process.
You may find your involvement will ebb and flow with the natural cadence of the project advancement. Much of your input will be at the very beginning of the process (during discovery and kick-off) and then again as the app gets closer to launch. But in the middle, you’ll still need to provide feedback around the design, feature implementation, and testing.
In addition to making sure you have the time available for this input, it’s important to think about the roadblocks you can see coming on the calendar. Is there a conference or event your team hosts that will make you unavailable for a period of time? Do you have busy seasons that will extend your response time?
As an agency, we can work around your availability, but delays in your input may impact how quickly we’re able to finish.
5. Who is responsible for providing content?
Whether it’s written copy, product images, or multimedia content, who on your team is responsible for getting those things to the development team? Are those things ready now, or will it take time to gather / create them?
If you’d like help importing content from a previous site, there may be a period of time during which your team will need to maintain the data in the new site as well as the current site while we finalize launch plans. We try to make this as painless as possible, but it’s something to consider when planning an app or website launch.
6. Will your team be involved in testing? Do you have the capacity to provide support once the app or website is launched?
It’s important to think long term here. How robust is your support team? How big do you expect your user base to be? Do you need a support contract in addition to the app development? Similarly, do you want to be involved in testing throughout the development process, or is that something you want the developer to handle?
The answers to these questions will impact our estimate for completing the work. But it’s important you answer them realistically and not just in the hopes of getting a lower estimate. Creating test groups for an app can be time consuming, as can gathering and sorting through the feedback from testers. We love to partner with organizations on these processes when client organizations have the bandwidth to do it well.
7. What is your budget? Is it a hard number or flexible?
Even if you’re not ready to share this number with the agency you’re working with (although we hope you’ve established enough trust that you can), it’s important to know these numbers for yourself. Providing a range before you send out requests for proposals can help those agencies to craft realistic proposals rather than quoting the moon only to find out your budget is a fraction of the estimate.
As with tight deadlines, we’re able to work for clients with smaller budgets. But—you guessed it—you’ll likely need to make some concessions on scope in order to get the app to market. Many apps can be built in a way that allows us to add additional features as more funding becomes available, and we’re happy to outline this process for your specific project when we meet!
Want to learn more about the redesign process?
If you’re wondering what a realistic timeline or budget is, what’s involved in user testing, or what the redesign process looks like, we’d love to share more!
Contact us today to schedule a call to learn more about our process and how we can help you throughout this process!
Rachel is responsible for everything from payroll to client billing so the rest of the team can focus on helping clients. She’s been with the team for more than 13 years and brings a positive attitude to everything she does.