Website redesigns are expensive and time consuming, so if you need to refresh your institution’s online presence, don’t redesign—realign. The Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco (FAMSF) recently addressed this challenge with its websites for the de Young Museum, the Legion of Honor, and the FAMSF parent organization. The FAMSF web team recently realigned its websites in response to changing trends and user feedback.
This presentation outlines the steps taken to update the look and functionality of the FAMSF websites without committing to a full redesign effort and working within existing brand guidelines. Instead of overhauling the institutional branding of FAMSF, a traditionally costly endeavor, the web team set about refreshing the information architecture of the website. Updating the menu bar items, design, and page structure would set the foundation for future branding redesigns and provided a cost-effective solution to improving the user experience—and the SEO and functionality—of the website.
The project was accomplished in three stages. First, the web team upgraded to Drupal 7 for greater functionality and security. Second, the basic web design of the three websites was refreshed, based on existing brand guidelines and site structure. And, third, the navigation was rearranged based on institutional goals, user feedback and research in order to generate a better experience and tweak the user interface in response to navigation.Implementing these incremental changes to the design and navigation of the website, rather than conforming to the macro-evolutionary idea of redesigning it, proved a great way to extend our investment while keeping our website updated, user friendly, and functional. This presentation seeks to unpack the technical process and reasoning behind this example of technical evolution, an effective and important strategy for non-profit institutions to employ.