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Prioritizing Work to Maximize Effort in Website Design

By , User Experience Designer , Hanson Dodge

Even when everything goes as planned, website work can sometimes feel overwhelming. Whether you’re starting from scratch, doing a much-needed update, or adding new functionality to your site, it’s easy to become overwhelmed with features, updates, and decisions. To avoid that—and to make sure your website delivers the most business value as soon as possible—consider the following.

Consider your strategy

Think about your audiences. Which users will drive the most business benefit, and which features or updates will best serve their needs and drive your business goals? What functionality is most critical to satisfying your users? How much of a return on your investment do you anticipate getting on each feature? Which might allow a strategic move that most benefits your business?

Suggestions can come from many sources—users, stakeholders, and project team members may all play a part. However, not all ideas are strategically important. When prioritizing features and functionality, don’t lose sight of your business goals.

Consider your resources

Taking stock of your available resources, as well as any limitations, can help set priorities during a project. Knowing the available resources and constraints can help you focus on the work that’s most impactful and within reach.

What content is available? Who can create additional content and assets, and how quickly can they do it? Is there a launch deadline? Can you realistically hit it? How many working hours have you allocated for designers, developers, and other team members to conduct the work? Have you allocated enough hours? What technical or process requirements will limit the work that can be done?

These are just some of the factors that might impact your prioritization decisions.

Consider the MVP

Over the course of planning and developing a project, you may generate hundreds of ideas—features, requirements, user scenarios, content, and more. It’s never a bad idea to consider all possibilities. But at some point, your notion of the ideal final product will bump up against budgets and time constraints.

If you don’t have the time or the resources to get every single feature on your wish list, or if you don’t want to wait that long, consider releasing an MVP (minimum viable product) version of your website. An MVP allows you to begin reaping the benefits of your project sooner—and with a smaller initial investment.

The goal of an MVP is to get a site up and running with the lowest possible investment that still allows you to conduct business.

In many cases, it’s possible to develop an MPV that allows you to advance your business goals via an initial website launch that incorporates only a fraction of the features and ideas.

This may sound counterintuitive, but launching the barebones site allows businesses to begin receiving a return on their investment as quickly as possible. Once this version is released, you may immediately begin work on the next release to incorporate more functionality and design an optimal user experience. Incremental releases can introduce more features, serve more audiences, and build upon the content of the previous release.  

How Hanson Dodge can help

When you work with Hanson Dodge, you work with a full-service branding, marketing, digital commerce, and technology shop. We’re able to see the whole picture across all disciplines and create a holistic view of your needs and options. We’re also experts at using agile methodologies to help clients make the most of their time and money.

Interested in learning more about how HD's team can make a difference for your brand? Check out our capabilities and offerings, or contact Tim Dodge at tdodge@hansondodge.com.

Ellie Jerow, User Experience Designer , Hanson Dodge

Ellie is a User Experience Designer and has been working in the Milwaukee web and software industry since 2010. With a background in SaaS and business consulting, Ellie now works as a user advocate, aligning business objectives and technical requirements to user needs. She has designed information spaces for clients in industries that include higher education, health care, insurance, technology and more.

She holds a Masters degree in Library and Information Science from UW-Milwaukee, with a focus on digital information organization. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, writing, and playing the banjo.

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