Redesigning web maps takes up a lot of resources, time and can often leave web map builders feeling secluded as they work a project that many people can have an opinion on, but aren’t able to execute on. When done correctly, these projects can have major benefits to your company and the team, but there are always challenges that get in the way of successfully completing the initiative.

In the past, web map builders were left almost completely in the dark when building out their project. Not only in terms of team goals, but more so in user feedback and usability.

1. Define the scope and U/X of the build and stick to it

Define what your goals are and scope and don’t waiver. To have the most success, do quick 5 to 10 minute interviews with all stakeholders and get them to provide no more than 3 of their goals with the project. Depending on their responsibilities to the company, stakeholders goals will vary. Once you’ve collected all stakeholder goals, define all of your visitor goals in a large list and find common goals.

2. Set metrics that correspond with success

You will be asked by your team if the launch and design of your web map app was a success, so be prepared to answer this. You can prove success by using both quantitative and qualitative measures. A few quantitative measures would include lowering bounce rates, increasing interactions per session or increasing time spent on your web map. Qualitative measures would include general feedback, social media activity and shares.

Working with your key stakeholders, come together with what metrics to track that can hint to a success or failure.

3. Know your baseline data to define goals

If you’re working strictly on a web map redesign, you should know the baseline metrics inside and out. You should understand the performance of visitor audiences that matter most to your business. Get intimate with your analytics and find out how much traffic your current web map currently gets, when conversions happen and which segment of your users are most engaged.

When you’re aware of current interactions, you can overlay your teams goals of current user interactions and make insightful presumptions about how your new goals will align with visitor goals.

4. Test and get feedback before, during and after launch

You should be testing during your redesign and build. The more data you have in hand the better decisions you’ll make before launch. In fact, launch your site as a test and drive a little bit of traffic to it as you make changes. This allows your team to view the map and the public, so that you can start tracking engagement rates.

This is especially useful when working on a project with multiple stakeholders. If you’re managing the project, rely on testing and data to guide responses when management or colleagues ask about a project. Rather than offer an opinion, tell them the team is testing and iterating and that you’re basing decisions on test results, data and actual feedback.

A web map redesign or launch is high-risk, high-visibility and sometimes an emotional undertaking. But the more data-backed insights you can provide about its usage, performance and interactions, the better you’ll shape out and ensure a productive use of time. It’s better to find out early that users aren’t interested or don’t understand your goal.