Iterate Or Overhaul – That Is The Question

August 21, 2017       THE NONPROFIT TIMES      

People are doing much more research before contributing or getting involved, begging the question of what sort of first impression your organization is making. Is your website modern and engaging or does it look like something that was cobbled together ages ago?

During the 2017 Nonprofit Technology Conference in Washington, D.C., Rose Liebman and Paul Schulzetenberg, vice president of accounts and senior back-end developer, respectively, for Advomatic; Eleonora Luongo, director of web and digital for Rutgers University; Barbara Tobias, web specialist for the American Federation of Teachers; and David Mascarina, digital communications manager for Conrad N. Hilton Foundation discussed means of assessing one’s site during their session “Your Website: When to Iterate and When to Overhaul.”

    The guidance from the panelists included:

  • Determine whether your site needs an iteration or a major overhaul. Existing quality site structure accompanied by visual or strategic issues are signs of a need to iterate. An overhaul might be necessary if the site was hand-coded, has become too difficult to maintain, or provides a poor mobile experience or another otherwise unfixable accessibility issue;
  • Budget time and money annually for small iterations, upgrades, and maintenance. Remember, a website is never really finished and always a work in progress. Prioritize needs and wants;
  • Plan ahead. Incremental improvements are cheaper in the long run. Also manage stakes and expectations. Decide on the outset to release the simplest thing possible;
  • Audit content. Is your website’s code base healthy? Determine if the site is responsive and accessible; and,
  • Understand that an overhaul won’t fix everything. Iterations should be your organization’s default even if an initial overhaul is necessary. The goal should be to become an iterator.