Amplifying online impact: website migration expertise for charities

Introduction

In the realm of charity and non-profit work, the significance of a robust online presence can hardly be overstated. It’s not merely about staying current; it’s about harnessing the power of the web to drive your mission forward.

Recognising the intricacies non-profits face, Studio Republic has refined its focus, channelling efforts into providing a specialised website migration service that speaks directly to the needs of the charity sector. Moving to a new platform can often seem like a Herculean task, but we’ve streamlined the process, making it more accessible and less intimidating.

Through careful planning and strategic execution, our approach to migration honours the core message and goals of your organisation. We believe in building upon the strengths of your existing platform, transforming it with precision and purpose. In doing so, we ensure that your digital presence is not just maintained, but enhanced.

Join us as we detail our methodical three-step migration process, a solution born out of years of dedication to digital excellence. With Studio Republic, upgrading your online ecosystem is a thoughtful evolution, not a disruptive overhaul.

Dive into our blog to learn how we can facilitate a smooth transition for your charity’s website, setting you up for a future where your online impact resonates even more profoundly with your audience.

1) Discovery / Onboarding Zoom call with Studio Republic team and your team

This introductory meeting is where we can get to know you more and discuss your future plans and objectives for the website and as an organisation which will enable us to understand how we can support you in achieving those through our services.

What we will cover

Welcome and Introductions

  • A brief overview of Studio Republic
  • Highlight our SR departments and provide an overview of these service offerings
  • Organisations to share some background information about themselves

Goals and Objectives

  • Discuss short-term and long-term business goals
  • Explore your objectives for the upcoming year and how they relate to your website
  • Chat through the definite and likely future developments for the next six months

Discuss the current website

  • Chat through your site’s current performance and any existing user or internal pain points (providing data if possible)

Target audiences

  • Dive deeper into your target audience demographics
  • Understand their needs, expectations and frustrations

Questions

  • Time for both you and us to ask any further questions (which we are likely to have)

Next steps and outcomes

Next steps and outcomes

This will allow us to start a collaborative working relationship where we understand your needs and objectives and you can understand how we can best support you. We will be able to make informed recommendations for future projects that align with your goals and objectives.

Timescale

Timescale

The workshop itself takes approximately 2 hours and would include our UX, brand, development leads as well as your project manager and our technical director.

2) User Experience Audit

We know how important a website’s performance is to success, and that it requires consistent and thorough evaluation and iteration to help stay ahead and continuously improve its performance.

Our user experience audit will provide us with the opportunity to understand who you are and your objectives as well as your audiences and their needs in order to effectively identify potential pain points and usability issues with your site in its current state. It covers all aspects of your users’ experience including the information architecture, layout, accessibility, visual design and technical performance to create actionable recommendations as part of the onboarding process.

It is designed to elevate the website’s user experience by proactively identifying opportunities for improvement, and to guide strategic enhancements that are backed by data and align with your objectives and your users’ needs to create a more intuitive and converting site that better serves your growing audiences.

The goal is simple: to discover what isn’t working on your site and pave the way for ongoing digital growth. Together, we’ll create a roadmap for updates that will transform your website into a powerful tool that serves your growing audience.

Our UX audit forms part of our research and discovery phase which are the first 2 steps of the process shown below. Here we empathise to develop a deep understanding of the challenges with you and your users. We then use this insight to define the problems, so that we enter the ideation stage with complete clarity and confidence on the problems we need to solve, in relation to your objectives. We then prototype and test any updates before they are built. 

UX Discovery Workshop

Before getting into the research phase, we understand the importance of setting clear goals and targets. That’s why we’ll begin with our UX Discovery Workshop where we work closely with your team to discover and define your objectives for the website which will guide the strategy for the review.

This collaborative approach ensures that our research and testing plan is closely aligned with your business aspirations and provides us with the opportunity to learn more about you.

  • 2-4 hour remote workshop using Miro to discuss goals and objectives, and clarify expectations
  • Gather information about your organisation, target audiences, and existing website
  • Gain insight into your vision, goals, and pain points

Research and Discovery

We analyse user behaviour through user research, testing and analytics, to provide us with insight into how users are interacting with your site, and to identify needs and pain points.

We’ll select and define the appropriate UX research methodologies required to gather the insight we need after the kick-off meeting. These methodologies can include…

  • User surveys: Online surveys to collect data on user demographics, behaviour, and satisfaction with the website.
  • Usability testing: Observe users as they interact with the website to identify usability issues, navigation problems, and areas where users get stuck.
  • Competitor analysis: Analyse the websites of competitors or industry leaders to benchmark usability, features, and design practices to identify strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improving your own site.

User persona development

User personas are fictional profiles representing your target audience, based on real user data. They are essential in our UX review by humanising your users and guiding recommendations based on their needs.

By creating and referring to these personas throughout the process, we can prioritise features, content, and interactions that resonate with them, which will ultimately deliver a more user-centred and effective website.

  • Create user personas based on research findings to represent the primary user groups.
  • These personas help the team empathise with users and make design recommendations aligned with user needs.

Conduct a Heuristic evaluation

We use our wealth of knowledge alongside established usability heuristics using Jakob Nielsen’s 10 general principles for interaction design as a guide to evaluate the website.

This enables us to quickly identify key usability and accessibility issues as well as areas for improvement to ensure best practices are being followed on your site.
Perform a heuristic evaluation of your website to identify usability issues based on established UX principles.

Create a list of usability problems and prioritise them based on severity.

Review the design and structure

We review all aspects of the user experience across your website, in relation to the objectives of the review defined at the beginning of the process. This is backed up by the data collected in the research and discovery phase and your user requirements defined in your personas.

This includes reviewing the information architecture, layout, accessibility, visual design, content and technical performance in order to…

  • Evaluate the site’s information architecture to ensure content is organised logically and intuitively.
  • Identify opportunities to streamline navigation and improve content hierarchy
  • Ensure key user journeys, call to actions and conversion points are optimised as well as they can be.
  • Provide recommendations for improving accessibility.
  • Suggest ways in which to improve the overall experience and satisfaction for your users through the site design

Create a report prioritising recommendations

Once we’ve completed our review, we compile our findings into a comprehensive report which you’ll receive as a PDF document that includes our recommendations for improving the website experience and performance based on our findings.

We prioritise our recommendations based on the intended impact they will have on your goals and objectives identified at the start of the process and your user needs defined in your personas. Where appropriate we’ll include visual references such as screenshots and basic wireframes to support our recommendations.

  • Compile all findings and recommendations into a comprehensive usability report.
  • Include visuals, such as screenshots or diagrams, to illustrate issues and proposed solutions.
  • Prioritise recommendations based on impact and feasibility.

 

Implementation Planning

Following the review, you’ll have the report to inform future developments to your site. At this point, we’d recommend that we continue to work together in collaboration to plan the implementation of the prioritised recommendations, provide quotes, allocate resources, and establish realistic timelines for making the proposed changes in accordance with your budget.

This plan ensures a smooth transition from insights to action, aligning the improvements with your goals. Effective communication and collaboration during this phase are essential for successfully executing the recommended changes and enhancing your website’s user experience.

  • Collaborate to plan the implementation of recommended changes or improvements.
  • Create a timeline and allocate resources as needed.

 

Design and Development Implementation

Our designers and development team will bring the approved improvements to life, ensuring a seamless and visually appealing user experience. These enhancements will be presented as prototypes, subject to user testing and feedback for validation before proceeding to development. We’ll collaborate closely with your team to maintain brand consistency, align with your business goals, and ensure the objectives outlined in the research phase are met.

  • Design Iterations: Our design team will refine and test the proposed design updates based on the UX review’s recommendations. This includes creating high-fidelity prototypes, updating visual elements, and ensuring a consistent user interface (UI) that aligns with your brand.
  • Development and Testing: Our development team will build the updated changes and features. Rigorous testing and quality assurance will be carried out to guarantee a seamless user experience.

 

Ongoing monitoring and iteration

Our commitment to your Growth doesn’t end with implementation. We’ll continue to adopt a test-and-learn approach as part of our ongoing relationship, continually monitoring how the updates affect your site’s performance through our Growth retainer.

User research and testing will be an ongoing part of our collaborative process to ensure that your website remains optimised for your audience and utilises their ever-changing requirements alongside technological developments within areas such as accessibility and IA.

Next steps and outcomes

Next steps and outcomes

After changes are implemented, conduct a follow-up review to ensure that the improvements have had the desired impact on user experience. Optimising the user experience and performance of your site is an essential process as the site evolves and adapts to the ever changing needs of you and your users which we focus on with clients at Studio Republic.

Timescale

Timescale

This takes between 7-12 days depending on the size of the site.

3) Technical Review and Migration

The final stage of the 3 step process is the technical review and migration. As you will come to expect by now, it is another scoping call but focused on getting our development team as informed as possible.

Technical Scoping Workshop

The first step is to gain a full understanding of the current website implementation. This would ideally take the form of a meeting between yourselves, our development team and the current maintainers of the website. During this we would gain insight into how the website was built, any plugins in use and their associated costs, the spec of the current hosting environment, as well as any custom functionality that was created for the site.

We can host the website for you on Digital Ocean’s cloud hosting platform, our own dedicated server (managed by Positive Internet), or in some cases it can remain with the current host. We will discuss the pros and cons of each approach during this meeting.

 

Initial Migration and Testing

Having fully understood the website’s implementation, we would provision a suitable hosting environment and would carry out an initial migration of the website.

The code of the website would be set up in our version control system, and code deployment strategies for testing and live changes to the website would be created.

Once the site is up and running, we can then fully test the implementation and the code deployments to be sure that no interruption will be caused by either the go-live process or any future changes to the site.

 

Site launch

Once the new hosting has been fully tested it will be ready for go-live. This will involve a content freeze on the day of migration to ensure that no changes are lost during the process. The database and filesystem will be synced at this stage to ensure no content is lost in the process. We will require access to your DNS provider or a contact we can liaise with to make the changes to the DNS records in order to switch to the new hosting. The propagation of DNS records tends to be very fast these days, but some ISPs are slow to update so we would ensure that your site editors are accessing the new hosting before giving the go-ahead to carry on making updates.

For your end users, there would be a brief period of downtime while a new SSL certificate is installed on the new hosting. This is generally no more than a few minutes.

Next steps and outcomes

Next steps and outcomes

Having fully onboarded your website, we will then be in the perfect position to begin to iterate and improve it, ensuring it remains fit for purpose and delivers against your organisation's goals.

Timescale

Timescale

This takes between 5-7 days depending on the size of the site.

To recap

So there you have it. A call to get acquainted, a user experience end-to-end review for us to see with a fresh set of eyes all of the opportunities of what and where we can improve, a technical onboarding and an end-to-end review before migrating the website hosting and support to Studio Republic. 

Total timescales are achievable within 4 weeks from kick-off to migration. 

Are you ready to amplify your website with a new agency?

Hi. I'm Chris, founder and technical director at Studio Republic. In my 20+ years in the industry I've worked on many a website, and I'm always open to talking through the options and implications of transferring a website to a new agency. You can book a call with me, or email me using the links below.

Photograph of Chris Todhunter