Website strategy; building solutions

1. Define the problemDesign Thinking Process

Most website strategy solutions come about from a specific problem or combination; conversion drop, lack of sales, high exits, wrong traffic. Once the problem(s) has been identified and agreed at all levels it is simply a matter of process to find the solution to test.

2. You need to decide what success looks like – your goals

You need to think of long and short term goals, larger goals can be broken down into smaller more achievable goals – making it easier to measure.

How will the goals be measured?
What targets will you set to measure success?
Don’t forget the SMART approach – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time!

3. Generate ideas through brainstorming

There are a number of ways to brainstorm ideas to problems; use a computer, set a time limit, use a whiteboard. The idea is to try and come up with as many different ideas as possible to solve the problem that has been identified.

Any group brainstorming needs to be managed carefully – meet early in the day, set a time limit, ensure there is a facilitator, go away from the office or pick a comfortable location, assign someone to take notes, encourage an open positive atmosphere – no idea is a bad idea! Then prioritise your ideas.
Apprentice-style cop-outs and criticism can be saved for the TV; this is real life.

4. Prototype your top ideas

Prototyping your ideas can be a process in itself and takes many forms from wireframing (information architecture), multivariate testing to full blown user experience studies. It will often be the budget or time frame that determines how the prototyping will be carried out. As a minimum wireframing is the quickest and easiest to produce and can be produced on anything from a whiteboard, scraps of paper and full blown computer simulations produced in software such Axure.
The most important aspect to prototyping is gathering meaningful feedback which you act upon. Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Be prepared to abandon some elements to get a maximum specific benefit not a diluted, fits-no-one conclusion.
Does the prototype have any reference to the original website strategy?
Does it now need re-considering?

5. Get buy in from all levels

Once the ideas have been prototyped then it is time to get buy-in for the solutions. Revisit the steps you have already completed to whittle your ideas down to the most compelling ones.
Do your wireframes meet the intended goals?
Does the experience offer a solution to the problem identified?
Does it keep the users needs in mind?

6. Implement your ideas

Break your idea down into manageable tasks and assign tasks to individuals to complete. Bring in project management at this stage is the piece of work is large enough. Make sure the tasks can be completed in the timescales set, schedule progress meetings to monitor delivery. Ensure timescales are agreed with the “engineers” who have to carry out the tasks!

7. Evaluate the success of your ideas

Set a specific time to measure results against goals and consider how it might be improved in the future. Set the benchmarks and start collecting the data. But don’t stop there, keep refining and updating the ideas and coming up with new ones. Keep testing new variations; don’t throw away elements just because the whole didn’t work.
Remember Wile E. Coyote;  All his best ideas failed due to a freak of chance… but he never tweaked them and tried again!

Don’t forget we don’t have problems; we have solution start points.