A Non-Web Developers Guide to a Website Redesign




Planning a website redesign is daunting, and the process is long and tedious — especially if you don't do it on a regular basis.

Have no fear: This guide aims to help make your job easier by providing an overview of the common phases and resources involved in a website redesign project so that you can set expectations and properly staff your internal and/or external teams. 

Before You Begin

  • Review the process overview below. While the process you ultimately follow may not mirror the steps exactly, it should follow similar guidelines.
  • Familiarize yourself with some basic web development terminology.
  • Download the template, which allows you to fill in your own data and ideas for each step.

    Download the template now

Overview of the Process

Phase One: Plan


  • Identify the website’s purpose.
  • Determine success metrics.
  • Identify target audiences.
  • Assemble a project team.


  • Assess the current website.
  • Audit current content.
  • Interview stakeholders.
  • Look at competitor websites.


  • List required features and functionalities.
  • Determine the content management system (CMS), web hosting, and other integrations.
  • Indicate Institute- and department-level requirements.
  • Set a preliminary budget.

Phase Two: Design 

UX Design

  • Draft a sitemap.
  • Articulate user flows.
  • Create content outlines.


  • Design homepage wireframes.
  • Design main template-page wireframes.

Visual Design

  • Using the Drupal theme as a base, determine the overall visual feel.
  • Using wireframes, design homepage and main page mockups.
  • Create and gather visual assets.

Phase Three: Build 


  • Set up CMS.
  • Install and customize the theme.
  • Build page templates.
  • Install and configure any data and service integrations or modules.
  • Program any custom functionality.
  • Customize the backend.


  • Add content including text, visuals, and files.
  • Add links and functionality to the content.
  • Proofread and edit where required.
  • Create a 301 redirect strategy.

Phase Four: Deploy 


  • Test on different devices and browsers.
  • Track and correct bugs.
  • Find and fix broken links.
  • Optimize and adjust as needed.
  • Test for accessibility compliance.


  • Assign user roles and train on CMS.
  • Push the new website live.
  • Implement 301 redirects for new URLs.
  • Celebrate your good work!


  • Monitor website traffic.
  • Validate your page load times.
  • Inform linking partners of your new URL structure.
  • Create/update the XML sitemap and submit it to search engines.

Next Step

In the initiation phase, the project sponsors and other important stakeholders will decide whether to commit to the web project and define it at a broad level.