Implementing a new website or intranet is a unique opportunity to work with new functionality and ideas and push the bounds of what the site will do. When a new underlying platform is being implemented, such as a content management system or portal, the scope for rethinking the site can be increased further.
Yet, despite all of this opportunity for change, the simple rule of thumb is that the new site will be at best 20% different from the current site.
There are fundamental reasons for this, which will be explored in this briefing. The implications of the rule for the design and technology aspects of the project will also be discussed.
‘Blue sky thinking’ explicitly provides scope for rethinking the purpose and design of the site, allowing radically new approaches and ideas to be considered. Even without this, any site redesign allows for some reconsideration of how the site is designed and delivered, along with a concrete opportunity to implement these changes.
When the underlying technology is also being changed (such as installing a new content management system), the opportunity for change is even greater. High ambitions combined with an opportunity for reworking the site, can generate the desire for significant site changes, such as:
- Reworking the entire site as a ‘web 2.0’ platform, where content will be actively provided by users.
- Reworking the static CMS-based intranet into a dynamic, personalised portal that will target information to specific staff roles.
- Creating a dynamic, data-driven website that will use user profiles to deliver targeted information and functionality.
These three examples have been drawn from real projects. While desirable in vision, such ambitious goals will always need to be tempered into a concrete scope for the project, and into a clear design for the site.
[CM Briefing 2007-14, read the full article]