What happens when you get pulled into a meeting where you already know it will end in someone important saying, “And we’ll need this up by Friday.”?
This just happened to us – twice in the same week – and it’s made me realize that almost anything is possible with an amazing team, a few good resources, and event just a brief background on the subject at hand. It’s just like a regular website redesign project process, but in fast-forward. Here’s how we did it:
- Meet with the stakeholders, or at least someone who can speak for them, and find out what they want/expect out of the final product. We met with the VP for Academic Affairs, the VP of External Relations, and the Asst. Dean of Undergraduate Education.
- Find/Request any existing documents, images, videos, etc. that you can use. We used 1) a research report on the success of the program and its students, 2) information from the one-pager on the Undergraduate Admissions website, and 3) a document containing potential website content.
- Communicate with an informed contact that can give you the background on the topic. We met with one of the people who handled the actual program and interacted with the students, and she handed over a nicely done mockup of a couple ideas to present the information via the web.
- Ask the right questions. I put myself in the mindset of an interested student who knew little to nothing about the program, asked questions from that POV, and organized the content accordingly.
- Get your hands dirty. I asked the team to put together a single-column blank site template, and we dug into the blocks, formats, and CSS/HTML to mold it around the content.
- Gather feedback. We put the site up on our dev server and sent the link out to all the stakeholders. Once the feedback was in, we tweaked the content as needed.
- Launch and spread the word. The site went up without a flaw and we linked to it from several resources. Analytics are being gathered and everyone’s happy.
- Bask in the glory. We did it in less than a week. Our VP noticed. WebComm rules.
The results for both projects were equally great, and we received great feedback and thanks for getting everything up so quickly. Bonus: these efforts secured two larger projects for us that will grow out of the fast-tracked ones – we have sign off on designing/developing the new Undergraduate Admissions website (YES!!) and our team will be creating the new Chinese-language website for our students overseas.