Goals First, Then Tactics

When I kick off a client project, two of my first questions are:

  • What are your project goals?
  • What are your project tactics?

Most of the time, my clients define their goals as tactics. For example, “I want a beautiful site with a great user experience.” While this is a useful thing to identify, it’s not a goal. It’s a tactic.

What purpose does a beautiful site serve? Does beauty drive revenue? Why improve the user experience? Doex UX cultivate positive emotions towards your business?

Asking the “why" behind the tactics can help reveal the true goals of the redesign. It’s easy to define the purpose of a project as “I need my site to look better” because it’s the most obvious thing to be improve. However, there is a missed opportunity in looking only skin deep. 

Defining the right goals for a project keeps things on track. It helps to reign in ideas that risk taking the project off course. It also frees up the imagination to imagine numerous tactics which may achieve the goal. For instance, if a project goal is to “build brand trust,” many tactics may work to a achieve this goal beyond making the site beautiful. For example:

  • Conducting user testing to identify and fix pain points
  • Reworking the content
  • Changing the tone of the copy to sound more friendly

Notice that some of these tactics transcend the web. "Changing the tone of the copy" may affect print materials, social media or other communication channels.

What this begins to illustrate is the need for the business strategy and goals to be in place before embarking on a website redesign. The goals should be shared across teams. Each team may then use their localized expertise to achieve the goals, leveraging whatever tactics they deem necessary. Tactics may evolve, but goals remain consistent.

Some of the most successful organizations I've seen maintain a solid vision and strategy paired with evolving tactics to maintain interest, cultivate new customers and grow their brand.

So, before starting your next web project, define your strategic business goals and share it across your teams.

Here are some helpful resources: