Annette Fowler

Website Analysis

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“We need to redesign the website”–  Now what???

Many marketing and IT departments are faced with the sometimes daunting task of taking on a wholesale redesign of a website, without much guidance as to where to start.  Before the more glamorous tasks of selecting colors and graphics begins, it is a good idea to take a step back and carefully analyze the purpose of the site and its audience.  This analysis phase pays deep dividends later because, in many cases, consensus and allegiance among a company’s disparate departments can be achieved, even before one line of code is written.

Here are some questions that we often use as part of our Needs Assessment projects in order to guide our clients in their redesign plans:


  • Who is your target audience?
  • What are the goals of your target audience?
  • How can we help them achieve their goals through this website?
  • Make a list of competitors websites and determine their degree of success in achieving their goals


  • What kind of design and graphical presence are you looking for?
  • Are there company-wide graphical and/or marketing standards that must be considered in the new design?
  • Make a list of websites inside and outside of your industry that have appealing designs and note specifically what attracted you to them


  • What works well on the current site?
  • What could be improved on the current site?
  • What kind of feedback do you get from current site visitors?
  • Make a list of websites inside and outside of your industry that have particularly good functionality and/or navigation and note specifically what attracted you to them

Administration and Maintenance

  • Who will create the content on the new website and how will the site be maintained?
  • Who will host the new site?  Are outside vendors or consultants required for the site hardware setup?
  • Who are the stakeholders and decision makers in the process?

If carefully considered, these may lead to other, more complex, questions.  A carefully prepared analysis phase is the first step towards a well designed website and will help to avoid “surprises” later in the process.  Then you’ll be ready to take the next step—Development!