NetCommunity redesigns: make it easier

Are you thinking of updating or redesigning your NetCommunity site? Many non-profits pick this time of year for a website spring-clean. Before you dive into the process, we have some hints and tips to make it easier for you.

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  • Step away from the computer, and talk it through
    • What do you want to achieve with your new design? What are your specific aims and objectives? What do you want users to do on your site?
    • Include all members of your team in this discussion. Find out what everyone’s experience of using the site is from the business end and what works or doesn’t work. All of your colleagues’ experiences and input are valid, and can help create a better site.
    • With all of the team, put together a one sentence summary of what you want your site to tell the world, not for publication, but for the team to work from. This means you are all working towards the same objective.
  • Look at the numbers
    • How is your website being used at the moment? People often have very strong ideas about what does and doesn’t work on their sites, but you need the data to back it up. It is worth using Google Analytics, or similar, to check out how visitors got to your site, where they came from, how long they stayed, and what they did once they were there.
    • Is your content working for the visitors you want? Are you serving your demographic?
    • Are people accessing your site using their phones or tablets more than their desktops? Do you need your site to be responsive, or would a mobile app be more appropriate?
    • Which pages have the longest retention time? Which pages do users leave straight away?
    • All of this data should help inform your next design, and the changes that you make to your site.
  • Agree a priority list
    • You may want to start again from the very beginning, but you are probably working within budgetary and time constraints. Based on the discussions you have had, the objectives you have worked out, and the information you have about your current site, you should have some idea of what you need from your new design. Decide and agree on what your main priorities are, making sure that everyone involved in the process has signed off on it. Remember that form and function are equally important on the web, so no matter how beautiful your site is, it needs to work easily and smoothly too.

Completing these steps will help you to create exactly the site you want. We would recommend that you consult with a NetCommunity expert, to ensure that you are using it to the best of its ability and that your design team and your data team are all working together. Our colleageus at Beyond Nines have a great blog post about why your design team needs some NetCommunity expertise. SmartTHING have our own in-house designer, so we can offer a complete redesign package, however we are always happy to work with external design agencies, or your own internal design team.

Whether or not you use NetCommunity, we think it is always worth setting aside some time to discuss what you want from your web media, and assessing whether what you have running currently meets your needs. You might be surprised by how effective this is at keeping your web material modern and up to date.

Some examples of SmartTHING designs:  TAMBA have just had a complete NetCommunity redesign, working with our designer, and shifting the focus of their website. We worked with them every step of the way, and ensured that the site makes full use of NetCommunity’s power, including: targeted members’ area, campaign landing page, blogs, a slide show and mobile customisation.

Middlesex University approached us with designs already drawn up, we implemented the full redesign for them, and think that the look of their site is really modern and exciting, and like all of our recent designs is tablet and mobile responsive.

Contact us if you want a full redesign of your NetCommunity site, if you want to improve functionality, or if you simply want to talk NetCommunity. If you are on our mailing list you will soon be receiving an email detailing some of the NetCommunity work that we do, from small improvements to large design projects.