We're working through a web redesign project and want to develop an RFP to bring in outside help for this project (information architecture, design, and implementation). Would anyone be willing to share RFPs you've used, recommend any agencies that you've worked with, and give any advice on pitfalls to avoid in this process? Anyone who's done this, would you also be willing to share the scope and cost of your project?
College of Lake County
We've had good and bad experiences with redesigns, which seemingly had no relationship to the amount we paid to accomplish them. When we started talking redesign a number of years ago, I prepared the attached document to go over the types of things that we should be sure to specify as we entered the process.
Two redesigns ago, we went with the vendor who helps us with rebranding without even reviewing a portfolio of work, and ended up with something awful and having spent something like $75,000. The most recent effort, I (not a designer) made a wireframe to begin the discussion, and we just had them do the homepage. We managed to come up with the generic templates by adjusting what they gave us. We spent in the neighborhood of $10,000 and got a much better result in the end. (We specified that they had to use some sort of CSS framework, and the result let us build custom templates trivially easily using a variant of http://960.gs/ .)
If you're going to employ a top tier higher education design firm to do all that you mentioned above, you are going to need to spend six figures on the project, possibly twice or more over to get all that help (depending in part on what you mean by "implementation" and how much of the site you want them to write for you). I have never worked with one of them.
Whatever you do, review a portfolio of work.