How to Redesign Your Website
Today, more and more often you can find redesigned websites. I am sure that most of those who are now studying this article also think about the redesign of their web sources. Information technologies are constantly updated, new trends that require enhanced functionality come out all the time, and the field of design progresses. It is very important to redesign a website in such a way to give the brand latest advantages; otherwise, you’ll likely be eliminated from the market in the conditions of tough competition. So, what should you do to avoid this?
1. Make Sure that You Really Need a Redesign
The need for a redesign can occur for various reasons. It can be small improvements in appearance or a complete renovation. However, the need for a redesign is not always clear, especially if you use the site for a long time: you just get used to the design – it’s so clear, comfortable, and familiar – and you may think that it’s the best in the whole world.
What could be the reasons to redesign?
Poor usability. The website has to be convenient for visitors, have a clear structure and easy navigation. Use Google Analytics or ask professionals to analyze the key metrics of the website.
The development and growth of the company. If your company is growing rapidly – it gains new customers and partners, and you have to make the website adequately reflect these changes. Modern design shows that the company cares about its image online. Which of the best designs of 2015 do you like best?
The site is outdated. This is one of the most common causes for a redesign. According to statistics, a redesign is done on average 3 times a year.
Rebranding. If the company decided to change its corporate identity, of course, it needs to reflect the changes in the design of the website.
Who wants to throw money away? Think about whether redesigning is worthwhile. Painstaking calculations of all the pros and cons will give you a clear answer.
Having regular visitors, you must understand that many of them have their specific requirements and expectations: they know where to search for information, how to use the navigation, where to find popular items, etc. Therefore, creating a website design, you have to minimize all potential changes regarding the internal structure of the site. At the end, you can try to conduct a survey and find out the dominant view of the need to update the design.
2. Introduce the Redesign in Stages, Guided by the Feedback
Do not change the entire design of your website at once. Why?
You have to see the reaction of the audience before introducing the new version of the redesigned website. The best practice is to place a survey on how people relate to the innovations. You have to make sure that the new design won’t be more difficult than the previous one – and this can be found by the means of feedback.
3. Testing the New Design: Give the Public the Right to Vote
Testing should not take place under the slogan "the private screening." Please make the final decision together with your visitors. Give them the opportunity to test the new design and make sure they can send you their wishes or grievances through a special form. Accessibility is one of the main indicators of confidence.
Always be aware of the latest reviews, do not leave them unattended. This approach not only saves and increases the loyalty of the constant audience but also conducts to attracting new visitors. By allowing the user to test the design before it is introduced in the final use, you have the opportunity to adjust it correctly. This is a rather long and complicated process, so be prepared to overcome many obstacles.
4. Allow the Users to "Go Back"
This strategy is particularly applicable to popular social networks. After each change, they allow using the old functionality within a certain time period. The most striking example of the application of this method is Facebook, which, have developed a new «Timeline» design and gave the opportunity go to go back to the old design for two months.
Why does it work?
The answer is simple: not all users have the free time necessary for familiarization with new functionality. The new design takes time and if the public does not want to waste the time at once, they have to get the opportunity to use good-old version.
5. Feedback After the Redesign is Released
So, let’s assume the redesign is introduced: visitors have no right to return to the old functionality; they have no choice but to take it as you wish. So do not forget one thing: you must allow your users to express their personal point of view.
If a significant percentage of visitors will tell you about a problem, then you’ll be able to resolve it fast. People have to believe that their opinion matters and is valued.
6. Indicate the Reasons for the Redesign
Informational insufficiency can generate human negativity that will affect your business negatively. Most of the visitors have no idea about constructiveness, convenience and other technologies used on your site. Therefore, explain the reasons for the redesign long before the start. Try to use the basic theory and provide all the advantages of innovations.
7. Create a Guide for New Functionality
The manual will greatly simplify the study of the new design. The redesign includes global updates; the introduction of major changes will change users’ behavior unless they have a guide. Visitors who are not familiar with the new algorithm of the site will appreciate your manual and quickly get used to the new design. Also, it will give users the feeling that you care about them i.e. increase the loyalty.
It is worth noting that the redesign makes sense only if you have a really worthwhile product. So do not think that you have any chance to boost your income only by the means of visual changes. The content is still at the forefront.
Brian Jens is a blogger on DesignContest. He’s also a freelancer and a writer. He enjoys modern trends and tendencies, as well as bright up-to-date stuff and, of course, web design.
- Design & User Experience