The Emotional Rollercoaster of a Web Site Launch

January 16, 2009 | Website Design and Redesign

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It seems that every web site launch—whether it’s a brand new site, a redesign, a blog launch or just adding new sections, content or features—goes through the very emotional, but somewhat predictable series of ups & downs.

Getting beyond denial

As with most self-improvement projects, we often have to sink really low before we decide to make a change for a better. This is often the case with web sites that have outlived their original organizational set up, or have content jammed into an out-dated navigational hierarchy.

I know with my own site, which I redesigned in the fall of 2008, I had started to absolutely hate it. It used a flash-based navigation system which seemed really cool when I developed it several years prior, but I loathed by late 2008. Also, my publishing work had grown significantly and the book work was hidden within the other print work. Honestly, I was beginning to cringe inside whenever I gave out my URL.

At some point, the pain becomes too much and we realize we need to allocate the resources to a redesign. At this point there is sense of optimism. Like it’s January 2nd and you’re going to finally lose those 15 lbs.

The first high-energy frenzy

At this point there is a lot of excitement to get the ball rolling. Enthusiasm is high. The potential is unlimited! As a designer, this is when I’m creating design mockups. The client is usually extremely excited to see the first glimpse of something new. And they especially love the idea of being able to review more than one option.

Then the first bit of drudgery emerges

As the design is finalized, the client suddenly realizes they actually need to do the work to clean up and reorganize their content. All those areas of shiny new content have to get researched, written, edited and posted. As a designer, I start realizing the many little things that have to be addressed that did not arise in the design sample.

Things start coming together, another burst of optimism

As the design gets tweaked and the development tools get completed, one starts to see the shape of a finalized web site. There is a sense that this is really going to happen. This gives everyone—designer, developer, client—another shot of adrenaline to keep moving. Usually this is when a looming deadline starts to approach quickly; but we’re all so excited to pull it off.

Some flashes of panic

There are always a few moments as things get close to the launch when you realize something was overlooked. Or some functionality is not acting correctly in some browser configuration you thought no one even used anymore. Hacks are made and things keep picking up speed.

The launch. Woo hoo!

You made it. You are so excited to type in that URL and see the old site gone. You are proud of yourself. Until…

The discovery of bugs, typos, and other offenders

No matter how hard we try, there are always little things that show up after the launch. Oftentimes, a rushed deadline means that we all didn’t proofread, and linkcheck as closely as we should. Sometimes moving from a development site or hidden URL over to the live site causes a few things to no longer work or link correctly. Sometimes we are just human and make mistakes.

To err is human and you should remember to look back and realize how far you’ve come and enjoy the fruits of your work.

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