Website Redesign: How To Approach It For The Best Results

There has been a paradigm shift in the dimensions of online presence of a business. Earlier websites were used as a simple platform where the businesses would showcase themselves to the prospective users. Over the period, websites have transformed into means of personalized interaction with the users and clients and offering them services on the fly. As the roles and responsibilities of the websites have changed, their look and feel need to be changed too. This is where the concept of website redesign kicks in.

The advancements in the web technology has enhanced the capabilities of the website. The websites, no longer just fulfill the responsibility of informing the users about the services offered and the contact information. They actually offer the services and products by acting as a full-fledged online marketplace and more.

Another factor that substantiates the need for redesigning of an old website is the UX. The preferences of the users have changed and they desire for a more user-centric and smooth user experience for the website. Responsive web design is one of the attributes of a website that enhances the user experience that a website offers. As an increasing number of users now prefer mobile devices to browse internet, mobile-friendly website design becomes one of the most important reasons for website redesign.

Factors That Govern Website Redesign

Website redesigning is not a standalone process. It affects a lot of other components too. Therefore, you need to take a lot of factors under consideration before you start with the website redesign process.

A few of them have been enlisted here:

Server Support

Before getting ahead with website redesigning, you need to ensure that the hosting service provider supports the the plugins, technology or the programming language that you are going to use in the process. For instance, a server running on PHP may not support the ASP.NET component of the redesigned website.

Existing CMS

If you are redesigning a website for the client, you need to convince them about changing that existing CMS that is too dated for the new website. They may be used to working on that CMS and may be reluctant to part ways with it. If this is the case, redesigning the website might be a futile exercise.

Competition Analysis

If you think your website™s performance has gone down in the recent parts, the reason might be the competitors with better websites. Hence, it is important that an analysis of the competition is performed so that those areas might be identified where other websites score brownie points. The information extracted with the analysis can act as a base on which further redesign strategies can be built.

Business Repercussions

As a business owner or the website designer, you must be aware of the impact the new design can have on the business in entirety. Will the website redesigning process enhance the credibility of the brand? Will it project the business in a stronger way than what it used to be earlier. These are some of the questions you need to ask yourself.

Impact On The SEO

SEO has a major role to play in enhancing the online visibility of a brand. The impact of website redesigning on SEO becomes glaring when it requires shifting of the website to another CMS. The URLs change when the CMS is changed and the search engines have to be informed about the same. Failing to do so wreaks havoc on the ranking of the website.

Social Media

Social media interaction of the web users has been a major contributor to the changing perceptions of the website. It is one of the factors that needs to be taken into consideration while redesigning a website. The website needs to be redesigned to be social media friendly.

Impact On Usability & UX

The user experience offered by the website as well as its usability are two factors that are impacted by the change in the design of the website. When you redesign the website, it has to be made sure that it enhances the usability and UX and not diminishes it. For instance, how easy it is to login to the website or how adaptive is your website to the different mobile devices after the redesigning.

Web Design Trends

Web design trends have evolved over these years. If you have a website that is still text-heavy, has a confusing content hierarchy or uses old and boring typography, it is the time to say it good bye and embrace the new trends. Users also expect the websites to be trendy and it is the safest bet to listen to what your users have to say.

Assess The Website For Redesigning Before You Proceed

When you plan to redesign a website, it must be a thoughtful decision. There are certain questions that you need to ask yourself before you set out to redesign your website.

Analyze The Existing Codebase For Feasibility

If you have one of those websites that is built using HTML tables rather than divs. If the website is quite big, you might reconsider going for the redesign. However, if its a small website, it is better to build the website structure from ground zero to ensure that you have good quality tableless markup.

Does The UI Look Outdated

There has been several changes in the way UI is developed nowadays. If your UI appears old school, it is time to get it revamped. Remember that if it is only the UI that needs to be changed, you do not need to disturb the other code base. Also, you need to be careful about the new UI™s compatibility with the back-end.

Is Your Mobile Responsive?

Does your website still have a mobile website version? If it is so, you might want to do away with it and rather upgrade the underlying technology of the website to make it mobile-friendly. A responsive website makes use of Bootstrap 3.0 and fluid grid layout to create web pages that adapt to the screen size of the target device.

Amount Of Legacy Data To Be Moved

This is the case with websites that compile a lot of data. The system becomes heavy with legacy data that is almost impossible to move to the new setup. If you are ready to hire a data entry professionals for moving the new data to the redesigned website with the new CMS, you can go ahead with the plan to redesign.

Any Other Factor That Warrants Redesigning

There can be several other factors such as poor performance of the website, addition of new features, UX improvement, technology shift etc that can be compelling enough to consider website redesigning.

How To Approach Website Redesign

The prelude to the website redesigning has been made clear. The focus now shifts to the way, this process should be approached. The analysis of the website™s current design gives you a deeper insight and based on it, the redesigning goals should be set. Regular measurement of the goals that are achieved must also be done in order to be sure about the approach.

A Stepwise Design Process:

Brainstorming

It is quite obvious that the decision of website redesigning has been taken after examining all the pros and cons. Therefore, the ideas that truly represent the new design paradigm, must be discussed by the concerned people. The process of design approval where the designs are approved by several committees should, however, be avoided as it tends to divert the design from its original idea.

Creating Wireframe

Creating a wireframe for the new design should ideally be the next step. If you have outsourced the redesign process to another company, you must provide the wireframe of the design which is the rough sketch of the design.

Designing Mockups

Based on the wireframe, the designers can create mockup designs. The mockup design is a design file that contains all the design components that have been mentioned in the wireframe. The clients can request for changes at this stage.

Final Design

The final design is created as PSD, Sketch or in other formats using specialized tools. This is a layered design layout that can be converted to the markup one layer at a time.

Development Phase

This is the phase where actual HTML, CSS and JavaScript code is written or modified. The PSD is converted to markup using HTML and CSS code.

Test and Debug

After the markup is ready, the design is tested for responsiveness, performance and loading speed etc. After testing and debugging, the new design is ready to be launched.

Final Word

Before you make the decision to get your website redesigned, you must assess all the strengths and weaknesses of the current design and also must be clear with the design changes. You must be in a position to link all the design changes with some benefits for your business. There is an old saying, If it ain™t broken, don™t fix it. It clearly implies that you need not fiddle with the components of the website that are working fine and delivering expected results.

If it is only the aesthetics that need to be revamped, make sure that you do not mess with the functionalities of the website. Also, you have to ensure that the new design elements interact well with the business logic and the UX is not affected adversely. To make the most of the redesign process, make sure that you monitor your website™s performance on a regular basis. Google Analytics and several such tools can help you with that.

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