Things to consider while planning a website redesign process

Redesigning a website can be just as difficult and time consuming as creating a new site, not to mention expensive. When you do make the decision to redesign the website there are a few things you need to consider in terms of planning and process.

Deciding to go with the same agency or trying someone new

Many of the redesign jobs we get are from clients who are not happy with their current agency and want to switch to a better more professional one. Therefore it is not necessary to stick to the same company when redesigning your website. Of course there are benefits to retaining the same agency - they know you, they know your business and they know your website. However you must watch for complacency by the web design company so that they do not take you and your business for granted.

Incremental improvements are nice but try for a bigger leap - its better.

Many businesses try to redesign their site in small increments but we do not recommend this method because all it does is build on a shaky foundation. When going for redesign, take the opportunity to go for something completely new and refreshed. Shake things up and take a bigger leap in terms of technology and design. It might be costlier then incremental changes but the improved interest level from visitors will pay for itself.

Take the opportunity to revisit your website content and information.

A redesign is the perfect time to revisit your website content and information. Telling the web designer to use the same content as the older site is just plain lazy. Take the opportunity to rewrite, edit or scrap information on your services and products. Use the impetus of the redesign to introduce new ideas and information. Make the site deeper in terms of content and information. Add a knowledge base, add tools and downloadable resources. Make the site very useful for clients and visitors.

Design and technology both must be upgraded

The speed at which online technology and design usage is changing is mind blowing. A few years ago Flash was dominant. Now, thanks to Apple in part, Flash is on its way out. IE v/s Netscape is ancient news, now there is a three way browsers battle between IE, Chrome and Mozilla with Safari for the Apple users fighting for space. JavaScript is out, Jquery and HTML5 are the new and improved boys on the block. CSS websites are in, tabled sites are out. We can go on and on. Ensure that your web designer is on the cutting edge of design and technology.

Revisit the forms - the Achilles heal of any website

If you ask me what is the critical part of any site that should be relooked at, I would say, the forms. The indispensable but also complicated part of any website. Forms should be checked for clarity, ease of use, clear JavaScript validation and no errors. Good forms mean good enquiries, complicated forms means poor enquiries. On most sites, forms tend to test the patience of any visitor and many leave in disgust. Get the forms right.

Align the new site with business goals

Redesigning simply to improve the design or usability does not make sense. The new site should also align with changes in your business in terms of strategy, branding and product/services. A very well redesigned site which is not aligned with the business goals will not give you the result you want.

You can ask these questions to ensure that the new site reflects your business properly:

  • Is the entire site aligned to a clearly set goal? i.e. more enquiries, more sales, more visitors (if branding).
  • Is the branding on the new site design a match to all my other offline collaterals and material?
  • Is the product/service information on the site in tune with how our salespeople would demonstrate it in person?
  • Will the product/service information on the site help with the sales process, both online and offline.
  • Is the tone of the site information in sync with how our company conveys information. Is the language, grammer and tone identical.
  • Is there synergy between the site and different departments in the business? E.g. is HR using the website to help recruitment? Is procurement using it to get bids for items? Is the management using it to deliver PR statements? And so on.

Redesigning a site is an opportunity to reinvent yourself online, improve and strengthen lines of communication with prospective and current customers and overall set the tone and message for the business to the general public.

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