The process of website redesign is more than just giving your website a fresh coat of paint. It involves overhauling the website’s design to make it more contemporary, usable and engaging than before; this overhaul is not just visual but technical as well.
Website redesign as a process is not just about making changes to the front end but the back end as well. Redesign is also about optimizing the website’s loading speed and making sure the makeover takes the business’s brand to more people. It’s important to understand that the focus of this process is to improve the usability of the site and the interaction of users with its interface. It is at times more complex and time consuming than the process of designing a whole new website.
How do You Know Your Website Needs Redesign?
Your website needs redesign when you think there is something wrong with it and when it’s not delivering the results you are looking for. If your website isn’t performing as per your expectations, you need to look for certain signs that scream “website redesign needed.” Let’s take a look at some of these signs:
Responsive is missing
Responsive web design (RWD) is not the next big thing, it’s the big thing that just happened. It ensures your website renders effectively on desktop as well as mobile devices, irrespective of the changing sizes of their display screens or resolution. RWD ensures your website functions on all devices, without harming its user experience. With over 17.4% of global web traffic coming from mobile phones, your website cannot afford not to be responsive. Your website’s current lack of responsiveness might be the reason why people have stopped coming to your website and its decreasing profitability. In such cases, the website needs to be redesigned conforming to the principles of responsive web design.
Visitors are fleeing
A tell-tale sign that your website needs redesign is that the number of visitors coming to your site has progressively declined over time. One of the reasons for this could be the lack of engaging content on your site or the fact that it’s not been updated for a very long time. In this particular case, you also need to take a look at your SEO and whether it’s doing enough to get traffic to your site. One reason that visitors stop coming to a particular site they have been visiting regularly is that the site stops delivering value to them, or there is another site in the same niche that delivers much better value. Therefore, before taking your site through a process of redesign make sure you know what your competitor sites are up to, especially the ones that are attracting a huge amount of traffic. Identify their strengths and make sure you keep them in mind while designing your site.
Loads like a tortoise
Contemporary website users expect their website to load quickly and not waste their time. A website’s response time determines the quality of its UX and it also offers SEO benefits. So, test your website’s speed with tools like PageSpeed Insights, Load Impact, Web Page Test or others to see if your website speed can be categorized as fast. A website with quickly loading pages doesn’t makewebsite visitors wait endlessly to access the information they are looking for. Typically, if your site takes more than 5 seconds to load, its speed needs to be optimized. Redesign is important in this case as you can take care to implement design elements that do not take a long time to load. You can optimize the size of your background images and pick only those textures and fonts that load quickly.
It’s reminds your dad of his wonder years
You must have come across sites that looked like they belonged to the last century. Did such sites work for you? There is a good chance they did not. Take a close hard look at your own site. Does it have a contemporary look and feel about it? Does it look trendy? Does it look fresh and one with the times? If it looks old, it needs redesign. It’s not that there is anything wrong with your site in terms of its features, usability functionality; it’s just that the world and your website’s target audience have moved on, while your website’s design hasn’t. If this happens, your target audience might find there are all sorts of things wrong with it, in spite of there being nothing really wrongwith it at all. For example, if your target audience is increasingly coming across sites conforming to design minimalism and your site doesn’t display minimalist design, it might come across as being cluttered. This is why you need to give your design an overhauloff and on, to be in step with changing user expectations from your site.
If your website exhibits any of these signs it needs some serious redesign quickly. It’s important that you take the decision to redesign for the right reasons. This will help you maximize your ROI.
So, are there are any “wrong reasons” to redesign?
The Wrong Reasons to Redesign
Redesign is expensive and is often a time consuming process. So, you must be really very sure, your website is seriously in need of redesign. You’ve already been through the signs that are symptomatic of a website that needs redesign. But quite often, website owners take a decision to redesign based on the wrong reasons.
Here they are:
You’re bored of the existing design
As far as reasons go, this is the most frivolous. It’s quite natural to be bored of your website design, because you are looking at it everyday, all the time. But, this doesn’t mean your visitors feel the same way. A successful site attracts a mixture of unique and repeat visitors every day. These people aren’t “bored” of your site and will keep visiting your site as long as it delivers value to them. By choosing to redesign a successful site, you might actually be setting the stage for its failure. What if the redesign is not as effective as you hoped it would be? Also, you will get bored of your redesign as well after a certain point of time, and might think of getting it redesigned again. Don’t get sucked into this vicious cycle.
You’re awed of the design of a particular site
There will always be a series of successful websites whose design you would love to emulate. But, that’s a terrible reason to redesign your site. If your current website is working for you, overhauling it will be a sheer waste of time and money. This is again something that you need to avoid. Just because you have fallen in love with the design of a particular site isn’t a logical reason to redesign your website.
Your competitor just redesigned their site
The question to ask here is why did they redesign their site? Maybe it was because they felt threatened by the success of your site, and wanted to make their site more competitive. By following their footsteps, your website might lose its competitive edge. Do not underestimate the efficiency of your site and the insecurity of your competition. Also, do not fall prey to such insecurities.
You want Google to love you
Sometimes businesses take a decision to redesign their sites, just to make these sites acceptable to the reigning Czar of searching engines –Google. They think Google hates their existing website. So, the core objective of such redesign is to get a better ranking on Google SERPs. But it doesn’t get sillier than this. Why? The job of SEO is to get traffic to the website, and the job of the website is to convert this traffic. If your website’s doing that nice and proper, why redesign it. Just sort out your SEO problem, if you think it’s not delivering results. Why redesign?
If you’re redesigning your website based on these reasons, you’re setting yourself up for a lot of redesign grief. So, stay away from them.
The Redesign Process
If and when you decide to give your website a makeover, you need to take it through a comprehensive process of redesign. This process isn’t very dissimilar from the process of designing a brand new website. The basic design process consists of the following stages:
Research and brainstorming: This includes understanding the reasons for redesign and what needs to be achieved through this process. Clients talk to designers about what they think are the problem areas of their websites, and designers understand and conduct some more research on the same. They then do a bit of brainstorming to conceptualize a website redesign that they believe will achieve the client’s desired goals.
Wireframing the design: Once designers work out a concept, they wireframe the design to give a clear idea to their clients regarding the look and feel of their website. The client can suggest the necessary changes and after the wireframe has been green lit, designers get started on the actual design process.
The dirty (or pure) work: The actual process of website design begins, ensuring the website is designed as per client expectations. Regular updates about the progress of the project are sent to the client and the design process culminates in the actual launch of the website.
If you are a client getting your website redesigned, you must make sure designers know what you want. Also remember, experienced and expert designers are more aware about the latest designing trends and the kind of websites target users expect. So, make sure you take their help to work out your needs and requirements. They have as much stake in the success of your website redesign project as you do. So, it’s important to trust them.
This brings us to the question,
How do you Identify Designers You can Trust with Your Redesign Needs?
This question comes up if you aren’t getting your website redesigned in-house. In this case, it’s important to understand that the process of redesign requires a special sort of expertise. It involves building on, reworking and modifying a website’s existing character to align it with changing user expectations. Designers need to be able to add new features and functionalities without hampering the website’s existing brand value and enhancing it for better audience connect. So, it’s doubly important that you are able to choose the right experts to work on your redesign project.
One of the ways of identifying an expert designer is by taking your time. Draw up a list of website design companies or individuals designers who you believe offer the kind of expertise your project demands. Talk to them about your project; judge their levels of passion for the job; their knowledge and above everything else, talk to their past and/or present clients. Discuss with these clients the merits and demerits of handing your website redesign project to a particular designer/design company. Work with a designer, a majority of whose clients are happy with the quality of services delivered.
The Wrap Up
Redesign is tough and to make a decision to go for redesign is even tougher. At times, certain problems with the website can be sorted out without implementing any major changes to its design. When it comes to website redesign, it’s important that you don’t jump the gun. Think very carefully about whether you want to redesign your site or not. If a few modifications can change its flagging popularity, go for it; but if you think wholesale changes are required, go for redesigning your site. Whatever you do, take an informed decision; know why you want to redesign your site and how you are going to earn high ROI from this decision.