Deb Paylor

About Deb Paylor

Deb's clients benefit from her wealth of knowledge in website redesign, accumulated throughout a successful, 18+ year career in IT with companies like AT&T, Lucent Technologies, IBM and Graphik Dimensions. Customers find her mix of people skills, positive attitude and business sense dependable and comforting. She has managed website redesigns for Lees McRae College and Del Mar College, as well as projects for Macomb Community College (online new student orientation feature) and Scranton University (News Hub & e-Newsletter). Deb earned a B.S. in Information Science from East Tennessee State University and an M.S. in Computer Science from Kansas State University.
6 12, 2017

Managing a Website Redesign: Overcoming 3 Common Problems

By | 2017-12-06T20:43:15+00:00 December 6th, 2017|Categories: Web Development|Tags: , |

The moment has arrived. Your website needs an overhaul. There’s a great deal at stake and if you’ve never gone through the process, it can be overwhelming. However, if you take the right approach, it isn’t that painful. Done right, it can even be exhilarating.

Either way, there are sure to be surprises. Nobody likes surprises. The small ones take care of themselves but the big ones, well that’s another matter. Consider this a heads-up. It’s your insurance policy against a costly mishap.

1. Understand the Full Scope of Content Issues

Content is one of the most important things to consider in any website redesign. It is also the part of the project that is most often underestimated. Content consists of old information that you’ll want to carry over as well as new content. This new content includes video, photography, and social media.

There’s more there than meets the eye. Here’s why.

User habits have changed. Attention spans are shorter so you’ve got to create easily scan-able pages. If someone cannot find the information they seek at a glance, they won’t hesitate to move on to a competing website.

Google’s algorithm has changed. Once engineered to emphasize written content, the algorithm has changed to reflect the habit of today’s users. Engagement and user experience are big factors, hence a new emphasis on video and other engagement tools. You’ll want to consider who you’re presenting information to, new and old.

Accessibility is a hot button issue. Not only has accessibility become part of Google’s algorithmic changes, it has become a legal consideration for schools and companies. You’ll need to make sure that your content – new and old – meets compliance requirements.

Step one is to thoroughly assess your content situation. Place your pages into categories so that you’re working with manageable groups. If you’re a college website for example, a few appropriate categories may be admissions, programs, news, and alumni. Some of these categories will require that you update or rewrite the information. Typically, this is the case with your program pages. With your news pages, you may wish to carry the more recent ones over while eliminating some that are so old they’re no longer relevant.

You’ll also want to review your admissions content as that information may need to be newly created or updated. The same may be said for student life pages. By now, you get the picture. Before you begin the redesign process, make sure you have a realistic accounting of the total pages you’ll want to carry over, which ones require updating and which are to be newly created.

2. Maintain Consistency Throughout the Redesign Process

This problem is particularly acute in cases where there are many stakeholders, such as a college or university. The marketing or admissions office may be driving the bus, but there are deans, professors, administrators, athletic directors, and students who all want to tell the driver where to go.

If you’re spearheading the website redesign project for your school, don’t get hung up on pleasing every stakeholder equally. What may be ideal for one school or department may not work as well for another. Try to maintain a singular vision throughout the entire website redesign.

The stakes are high so try to keep all interested parties on point. Managing the expectations of deans, administrators, and other interested parties can be paramount to the project’s success. Your redesign firm’s project manager will do their best to give the website redesign the momentum it needs.  But it works best when all parties involved adhere to a singular vision. Otherwise, you run the risk of a delayed launch and cost overruns. Or worse. If everyone gets what they want, you may have so much clutter you may wish for the old website back. Imagine having to redesign your redesign just a few months later!

3. Adhere to a Hierarchical Strategy

Earlier, we spoke about decreasing attention spans and scan-ability.   Your hierarchical strategy needs to consistently follow this same principle. Information must be organized so that the content that’s important to your audience is simple to find. This should be reflected in the organization of your content as well as its visual design. In order to develop a sound hierarchical strategy, do your homework in advance.  At Beacon, we perform a user engagement analysis early on to identify the ways in which your audience uses your website. We strongly suggest you do the same. After all, good data makes for sound decisions.

Once you’ve reviewed the data, you’re ready to develop a hierarchal strategy based on user behavior, increasing your chance of success exponentially.

Breathe easy with Beacon.

If you’re looking for a new website, talk to me. I’m here to answer any questions you may have regarding the process and how Beacon can make it easier for you. We know a thing or two. We’ve been redesigning Higher Ed websites for over 20 years. Contact me any time or call one of our team members at 1.855.467.5447.


30 09, 2015

Triple Constraint – Customer Satisfaction within Scope, Budget, Time

By | 2017-06-16T12:22:29+00:00 September 30th, 2015|Categories: Web Development|Tags: , , |

The triple constraint in Project Management refers to the scope, timeline, and budget of a project. Change one and you impact the others. But where does customer satisfaction fit into that triangle? Without it, can a project be considered a success?

Here are 7 ways to satisfy your customer while staying within budget, within scope, and delivering the project on time:

  1. Define the goals: Taking time to clearly define goals at the beginning of a project is sometimes seen as a waste of time that only delays the start of work. However, a lack of clarity around project goals will almost always result in time spent later making corrections or adjustments to the project.
  2. Write it down: Once the goals and requirements of a project are clearly defined, put them in writing and require your customer to review and sign off on them. Provide a realistic timeline of when the project will be completed and include significant milestones.
  3. Know your customer: Are you working with a small business or a large corporation? Each type of organization has different resource constraints and needs. Know your customer so that you know how to better meet their needs.
  4. Communicate: Check in with the client on a regular basis to provide project status, check the pulse of the project from the customer perspective and see if the customer has questions or concerns. As soon as you realize that a project timeline is in jeopardy, discuss the problems with the client.
  5. Have an agenda, literally: Prior to project meetings, provide an agenda to all attendees.  This helps to manage customer expectations, keep the meeting on track, make sure that obstacles get resolved, and gives the client a chance to provide input on meeting topics.
  6. Establish relationship: Be friendly, be courteous, don’t be late for meetings, return phone calls, and do what you say you will do.
  7. Say ‘Yes’: If a customer request is quick and easy, say ‘Yes’. If not, say ‘No’ with respect and without emotion and clearly explain why. Where possible, offer alternatives.

Customer satisfaction often results in repeat business and contributes to good word-of-mouth advertising. While focusing on scope, timeline and budget, don’t overlook the overarching objective to satisfy your customer.

1 05, 2015

New WordPress Website Launch: Matthews Specialty Vehicles

By | 2017-08-08T08:39:00+00:00 May 1st, 2015|Categories: Beacon News|Tags: , , |

Beacon is pleased to announce the recent launch of a new WordPress site for Matthews Specialty Vehicles. The new site features new imagery and a responsive design that works well on tablet and mobile devices.

Here is the old site:


And here is the new site:


Visit the live site here.

If you are looking for a content management system to help you maintain your website, we have different solutions depending on the needs of your business. Contact us today to see how we can help.

29 04, 2015

New Website Launch: Used Bus World

By | 2017-08-08T08:38:47+00:00 April 29th, 2015|Categories: Beacon News|Tags: , , |

Beacon is pleased to announce the recent launch of a new WordPress site for Used Bus World. The new site features new imagery and a responsive design that works well on tablet and mobile devices. Here is the old site:


And here is the new site:



Visit the live site here. If you are looking for a content management system to help you maintain your website, we have different solutions depending on the needs of your business. Contact us today to see how we can help.