Website redesign can be an interesting and exciting project. It is certainly challenging to create a fresh, new design while retaining the current brand and contents. For many web designers, this type of challenge is motivating. Nevertheless, a redesign project is tricky to execute, both in the planning and execution phases. When redesigning a site there are several constraints that we should consider that might not usually exist if we were start with an entirely new project. In fact, many web designers would argue that a redesign project can be more difficult than a new project due to these boundaries.
A decision to start a site redesign project should be based on the need to solve certain functional problems or make major improvements. If a site redesign project is based solely on aesthetic factors, the incentive can be insufficient.
A website can quite costly and troublesome, both to its owner and to its users. For example, a design reconfiguration or a new navigation scheme may require existing users to re-learn the interface. It also often requires plenty of planning and decision-making process to ensure the new design can integrate well with the site. You may also need to edit the existing contents to better match the new design. This way, you can be sure that the new design project can justify the cost.
These are a few valid reasons for a website redesign project:
• The website is not user-friendly
• The redesign can make the site faster and perform better
• Objective information gathered through data analysis indicates that the current design has a number of structural flaws (such as poor navigation and categorization).
• The redesign can potentially increase sales and profits
• The site no longer fits with the evolving company brand
• Adding new features that can enhance user experience
• Replacing outdated technologies that burden the users unnecessarily, for example, Ajax techniques can improve outmoded interactions, animated GOF backgrounds and table-based layouts.
You should determine whether the site really needs a total design overhaul or the issues can be solved simply by adjusting certain site components. There are cases where a partial redesign is already enough. For example, your site may have a cumbersome user experience due to a poor implementation of checkout web form. Your resources can be focused more efficiently, if they are directed to the troublesome components instead of spreading your efforts thin as you’re trying to tackle all issues at once.
Two important factors of a website’s success are purpose and contents. During a redesign project, you should still prioritize them. A redesign project should still be in line with the site purposes and support your long-term goals. Also, poor contents can’t be resolved by simply making your site aesthetically more appealing.
If your website design is already 5 years old, the idea of having a fresh design can be an alluring one. Before you commit yourself to this endeavor, it’s important to have a good planning, which takes into account all important considerations. For example, you should consider whether you really need to start a potentially costly redesign project. It is wrong to think that the goal of site redesign is just to improve the aesthetic factors. It should also address design flaws, add missing features, remove unneeded components, reorganize the content architectures, enhance functionality and de-clutter the interface.