I’ve managed many website designs/redesigns, but my current project took an unusual turn this week that I haven’t experienced before.
When my team first met with our selected vendor, we described what we wanted to achieve with our new website. This is always a critical part of the process, making sure the designers understand what the users want. Everything seemed to go well, and about a month ago we received the vendor’s wireframe for review.
My team was disappointed with the wireframe, and during a conference call we offered the designers feedback on how they’d like it to be tweaked. And so last week, we received an updated wireframe. I then scheduled two meetings, one with our internal team, and the other (a day later) with the vendor to hopefully approve the latest wireframe.
To my great surprise, when I joined the first meeting, I learned that our team had spent the last few days completely rethinking how they wanted the new site to work and had prepared sketches of most of the principal pages. (This is not a group that has previously been involved with website development.) I suggested we provide the sketches to the vendor in advance of the second meeting so they could digest the new ideas. (I also called my liaison so discuss what had happened and to prepare for our group meeting, scheduled for later that day.)
I explained to the vendor that the new design wasn’t a rejection of what they had done, but rather our team re-examining their requirements. Instead of being insulted as I feared might happen, the vendor was impressed with our work, and promised to do their best to translate our sketches into the design. And with my team’s heavy involvement in deciding how the site should work, I am almost certain that they will be happy with the vendor’s final product.
Never have I seen an internal team work together so well to clarify website requirements – and to develop a design that will serve user needs. We’ll have to see how the site turns out, and perhaps our launch date will be a bit delayed, but if I had this level of involvement from other users on projects I manage, my job would be much easier.