Lessons from MapLight's Web Site Redesign
SESSION #1: Lessons from MapLight's Web Site Redesign (focus is on homepage)
Facilitated by Jay Costa, MapLight (Revealing Money’s Influence on Politics)
I. Redesigning the Home Page
· Your redesign strategy must take into account your organization’s strategy; you are not smarter than your users! They know what they want and need!
· Embedding dynamic content on the sidebar (i.e. the FORM for a take action, versus making people click through)
· Determine where the “prime real estate” space is on the home page.
· Involve your users and incorporate theirfeedback; they tell how things should be positioned on the site; try and orientate your users as much as possible. Use your users!!!
· Do interviews with a dozen or so users you have a relationship with. Bring them into the process early; it will make thingsclear.
· Ask general questions to get a sense of what needs are:
o What would you click on first? Then next? Then next?
o What’s most interesting to you on this page?
o Can you find what you need?
o How would you go about looking for what you need?
o What do you see in the first glance?
o More than just getting an impression
o Try to understand who your users ARE; develop from there.
o When you get up, what is your process for work?
o What would you ideally like the website to be?
o How can it be the most valuable to you?
· Real World vs. Online: a NYTimes mention will generate more views than just a web-based approach.
· Should showcase the things that would interest your target audience/primary user type.
· Get feedback and incorporate prior to re-design via forms, informal conversations with primary users etc. “Does this serve their needs?”
· Need to involve the users: they will tell you what they want and don’t want. (Map Light’s user type = journalists (wonks and beats)
· Make data relevant and accessible to primary user type.
· User types include “citizens” and “issue advocates” – need to take into consideration how the NOT primary user could use it.
· What is the most effective use of space on the home page? Don’t distract of confuse users with things you don’t need.
· Maybe present a couple prelim designs to users and have them vote on what they like. But don’t spend all your $ on mock-ups!!
· Talk to the funders: we have a plan, it will cost this much, we will put in X, can you put in Y amount?
· In-house versus outhouse
· Attach price tags to ideas! (Cost not hours!)
· Involve users
· Figure out who you are trying to reach (primary user)
· Cater website to primary user
· Maybe want to do quick iterations
· PRESENT STEPS AND REALITY to match Top-End “ideals” and “fantasies” of the non-tech staff (mitigate “founder’s syndrome”)
· Consider using a beta page, more cost efficient than several mock-ups sometimes.
· Nielson blog
· Make sure to look at websites that you consider “good”
· Look at Sierra Club website (beyond coalcampaign)
· Drupal versus Wordpress
· Look at Exhale.org website