Design changes require a lot more than picking a new color scheme or logo for your site. Let’s take a quick look at some of the integral components every business should consider when creating a budget for design changes, site updates, and regular maintenance.
But first, why?
The tools you have today reflect your customer experience (CX). People aren’t necessarily coming to your physical storefront anymore; instead, your website and your applications are your storefront. Your customers are using your tools on a daily basis. It’s their entire relationship with you, and this means that under no circumstances can it be a set-it-and-forget-it situation. If you have any interest in providing a better CX, you absolutely must invest in it. In the Amazon age, where people have learned to expect seamless digital experiences, there’s no cutting corners when it comes to attracting and maintaining the interest of your customers.
It’s equally important to note that it isn’t just your customers demanding a well-rounded, improved, and easy-to-use experience. It’s also your staff, your investors, and any other stakeholders who regularly interact with your products and services. Today, the user experience affects everyone, and neglecting it is not an option.
Remember this: Mobile apps and software are living things
Truly, I can’t hammer this point home enough. Even Microsoft and Apple update their operating systems every month (yes, every month!). With the landscape constantly changing, you need to continuously look at all the relevant data and then make positive iterations based on those key points. If you don’t do these things, you risk becoming irrelevant.
The budget you’ll need for your design updates can be roughly estimated based on a few key scenarios. Are you working with software that someone else designed and now you’ve got your eye on a new vendor to get the job done? Will you be working with the vendor who initially designed your website and applications? Are you planning for design enhancement or optimization? Regardless, the change has to be intentional because, contrary to popular belief, design is more than just aesthetics. The degree that you invest in optimizing your experience will directly impact the value it brings to your business.
Needs vs. wants
Maybe you have no idea how substantially you want to evaluate and change your software, and that’s OK. But you’ve gotta start somewhere, and a great first step is putting aside between $5,000 and $10,000 for a comprehensive analysis of your analytics, along with a usability and accessibility audit. These are critically important because they catch any issues right off the bat and help you define a starting point.
For small-to-medium businesses, updates can run anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000 and continue to increase from there. That can seem like a high number if you’re just getting into the thick of your digital transformation plans, but remember that this number does not just reflect design and development changes — it’s also an evaluation of your analytics. This crucial first step helps answer questions and establish a baseline for evaluating your analytics moving forward. In other words, if you’re monitoring the right digital benchmarks and events taking place on your site or software, you should have a much clearer view of the steps you’ll need to take in order to further improve your CX.
Doing your homework
Do you have an understanding of how your users are behaving or what their pain points are when using your site? This requires you to conduct user and stakeholder interviews and watch people use whatever it is you’ve made. There’s real homework that needs to be done in this type of evaluation, and most of the time it’s easier and more cost effective to pin this giant undertaking on a dedicated team. When you have a vendor that you trust implicitly for these changes, everything becomes much easier. What’s more, when you consult regularly with the same vendor, you worry less about sudden design changes and big updates because they already know the work as well as you do.
No matter the size of your project, an experienced and skilled vendor will use an agile, sprint-based approach to continually knock things off the list in order to meet your budget.
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