6 Steps to a Successful Web Site Redesign — How PBS Did It
As a company best known for its videos and call-in television programs, PBS decided it needed to upgrade its Web site if it had visions of success in a future dominated by multichannel organizations. The nonprofit network did have an e-commerce site, but it wasn’t very effective. It was out-of-date, text-heavy and hard to navigate. A redesign was in order.
In a session at last week’s Internet Retailer Conference & Exhibition in Chicago, Andrea Downing, PBS’s vice president of home entertainment and partnerships, disclosed the company’s six-step process to its successful Web site redesign.
1. Take the time to plan. Noting that it took PBS nearly 18 months to complete its redesign, Downing advised attendees to define their goals and visions for the future. For PBS, Downing noted, that included improved navigation and search functionality on its site, enhancing the look and the feel of the site, and incorporating an “editorial” voice. It’s also necessary to examine your customers’ behavior, both online and offline. PBS employed a survey to help it accomplish this, Downing said.
2. Get to know your customers. Allow your customers to be part of the redesign through customer feedback, Downing said. Techniques to gathering information on your customers include:
* reading customer reviews about your brand and products;
* talking to the customer service reps in your call center;
* looking at your site search to see what people are looking for;
* communicating with your customers on a one-to-one basis through e-mail; and
* implementing Web analytics to identify customer browsing patterns.
3. Keep your eye on the competition. For PBS, this comprises Amazon, Discovery Channel, Acorn Media Group, National Geographic Society, and Barnes & Noble, among others. Go shopping on your competitors’ sites, and take notes, Downing advised. While not copying, make note of what functionalities your competitors’ sites offer so you have an idea what customers expect from an e-commerce site.