Definition, Guidance, and Direction: Strategy at Blend
Blend’s strategic design practice is dedicated to being intentional about the site and organization's audiences, and the expectations those audiences encounter. We are well versed in what it takes to serve the needs of site users, resulting in a positive site experience.
Strategic design is more than just graphic design, however.
At Blend, we know there’s a wide spectrum — and with it, a balance — of granularity in regards to how a site is put together. Every “what” needs to include a “why,” and every feature must tie to actionable user goals.
- Content strategy
- Information architecture
- Technical and integration planning
- CMS selection
- Governance guidance
Understanding Your Site and Your Users
Building a website is like building a house — each decision is built upon the decisions that came before. Just as an architect doesn’t just throw a number at you and begin working on blueprints, we don’t begin working on a project until we fully understand:
- The audiences and potential visitors of the site.
- The content and functionality the site will require.
- The editorial needs of your team.
We ask a lot of questions up front so that we can work more efficiently at the end. This is our discovery process, and it all leads toward one goal: providing an honest and accurate scope.
Discovery may include:
- Site inventory
- Site audit, including SEO and accessibility preparedness
- Definition of audiences and outcomes
- Site archetypes and personas
- Interviews with stakeholders and/or potential site users
- Competitive and contemporary analysis
- Other industry research as needed
Defining the Site
Once we know who will use the site, we can build a site plan. During this phase, we narrow down needs until we know exactly what to do, which makes for a more fruitful — and more enjoyable — project experience on all sides.
This phase can include any of the following, depending on the project:
- Content strategy
- Site map and navigation UI
- Content and template modeling
- Taxonomic needs
- Wireframes or non-functional prototypes
- Iterative technical scoping
- User testing and research, such as card sorting or prototype testing
A Strategic Partnership
We are well versed in what it takes to strategically combine your domain knowledge with our experience in content and design.
But, we’re also really good at working with others.
When we say we embrace design and technical partnerships, we’re not exaggerating; some of our best projects have been in partnership with other development firms, design firms, and agencies.
We love opportunities to share our experience and expertise with others to come to a collaborative solution.
Some areas where we provide guidance:
Blend's Work in Strategic Design
Strategic Planning for a Storied University
Developing a content plan that can be maintained by an existing on-site development team.
- Client: Minnesota State University Mankato
- Industry: Higher Education