Producing the content required for our recent redesign has reaffirmed a simple rule – content will always take longer then you think to produce. Given our experience of working with clients we know this is rarely down to a lack of application.
All the same experiencing it first-hand has been pretty hard to take.
Let me explain why
Our website was designed around the content we wanted each page to support. That means much of the copy and content you see on the website today was produced months ago. This was great from a design and coding perspective but the truth is our website is still missing a core page and at least half of the stuff we’d like to include in our portfolio.
How is that possible?
I think it was down to 3 reasons:
- In the process of creating our wireframes we produced 80% of the content we would require. Unfortunately we then underestimated how much time the remaining 20% would take to complete.
- We did not maintain an ongoing content development process. Instead there were two distinct phases at the start and at the end of the project. This meant risks were not addressed before issues arose.
- All of the missing content requires third-party inputs and clearances. Now these aren’t particularly difficult to obtain but they are dependent on external forces and therefore take time – months in some cases.
So we’ve decided to launch the website and add the outstanding content as soon as we can. Not ideal but certainly better then delaying the launch.
What could we have done to avoid this?
We should have:
- maintained an ongoing and not a phased approach to the content development process
- included micro-elements in the content development critical path that would have helped us identify potential blockers before they occured
- started obtaining external inputs much earlier in the process
- ensured that sourcing external inputs was treated and resourced as a separate sub-project
And the most important think we’ve learnt – do not wait for a redesign or exhibition to cue a mad dash for external inputs. Try to secure these as part of your post-project process even if there isn’t an immediate need for them.
In the future there’s no doubt we are going to be more understanding and accommodating when clients go through issues with content. Sitting on the other side of the fence it’s all to easy to forget just how difficult a process to manage this can be.