It’s not just the look of websites that has changed, but also the tools we use to build/access them and the expectations users bring to the table when navigating them.
Keeping up with technology and user expectations can be a full time job, but the benefits of providing your customers with a site that does both can aid tremendously with your business’ potential for success on the web.
There are many reasons why your company’s website may need a redesign, but these are some of the most common cases we run into with our clients:
Your content has changed
If the main elements on your site have changed, the demands of your design will too.
In the last few years, we’ve witnessed a serious push for brands and online businesses to provide a steady flow of fresh content on their sites, usually in the form of a blog. Whether it is video, photography, or plain text, everything needs to find it’s own place on your site.
We address the organization of blog content for our clients with the addition of a news section in their content management center. This tool allows our clients to create and organize posts of any length in a chronological format that is easy to read.
Beware, content scalability can become a huge development issue for your site if you aren’t prepared to accommodate for the addition of these new content formats, especially video. Additionally, you’ll need to ensure the presentation of this content works on a variety of devices, including tablets and smartphones.
In the event that your current framework or CMS can’t handle the changes in content you desire, consider finding a better solution through a thoughtful redesign.
Your customers have changed
For designers, one of the most important steps of designing a website is understanding the audience.
Clients can aid with this step of the process by providing access to customer data and analytics, both of which can paint a clearer picture of the types of people who are accessing the site. For designers, this information can play a major role in the design decisions that go into the site layout.
Consider our clients from A Place at Home. Their website is directed primarily at the children of aging seniors who are looking for at-home care in the Omaha and Council Bluffs area. However, the site needs to be usable for the spouses and older relatives of these same seniors.
Large type, easy-to-click buttons and phone numbers, and a meaningful use of color and animation are all decisions that were made with audience demographics in mind.
Beware, even when the client and the designers devote enough time and attention to understanding the audience, the audience can change.
If you are concerned that your website’s audience has deviated from the original target demographic you set out to reach, perform an analytics audit for the site. Using Google Analytics, you’re just a few clicks away from accessing a wealth of incredibly useful information about the visitors on your site.
Also, look at device specific information about how your customers are accessing the site on the web. Mobile browsing has become so commonplace that even Google has made changes to its search algorithm to better accommodate mobile users. If you notice that more and more of your customers are using tablets or phones to visit your site, a mobile-friendly design should be a top priority.
Your look or logo has changed
Anytime your brand undergoes a noticeable visual change (logo, naming, etc.) it is an ideal time to consider giving your website a new design to complement the brand’s evolvement.
Back in 2013, the Corporate Three Design logo got a new look. Our colors didn’t change much based on the logo alone, but launching a new website to show off the new look was part of a comprehensive rebranding.
It gave us an opportunity to address some of the usability issues that plagued the old site and settle on a redesign that reinforces the meaning, colors, and variations of the new mark.
Your goals for the site have changed
Did your site begin as a one-pager with a basic contact form to simply generate interest and awareness for your brand?
Do you need to implement an eCommerce solution to sell products directly on your website?
These situations can be characterized as changes to site content, but they are examples of more fundamental shifts from the original goals of your website.
When we sit down with a client to establish a look or feel for their website, the goals of the site always matter. Clients who understand their goals and realize that their website can be used as an effective tool to achieve these goals will be the most successful.
Beware, goals can and will change. When they do, make sure your team has these goals defined on paper and for the appropriate parties to consider how they impact the demands of the overall design.
Your competitors redesigned their site
Does one of your major competitors have a flashy new website that makes yours look or feel dated?
Jealousy can only take your business so far. Decide what is best for your customers by evaluating the state of your current design:
- Is your site mobile-friendly?
- Are customers able to find the information they need in order to make purchases?
- Are customers able to share the information on your site easily with their friends?
- How is your conversion rate?
- How is your bounce rate?
- What do you like about your competitor’s new site?
If you notice a serious need for improvement in any of these areas, then capitalizing on the fact that your competitor boasts an updated design could be timely and effective.
Beware, you don’t want to simply change your site just for the sake of change. Designs that may be dated and less trendy than others may still be effective for your audience.
Take the Drudge Report for example. Matt Drudge has created a conservative news empire with a site that displays nothing more than republished headlines with clever anchor text.
If the design works, find other ways to improve the current user experience by focusing on aspects like load speed, performance and even content.
Communication is key
In conclusion, there are many reasons why your company website may require a redesign. But no matter what the case, proper communication is key when it comes time for an overhaul.
Decision makers must make sure the redesign is being set in motion for the right reasons, and be able to communicate these reasons clearly to the creative team. Your trusted creatives must be able to take these motivations for change and use them to shape an improved user experience.
Are you in need of a brand refresh or complete overhaul? Improve the quality and impact of your online marketing with the power of custom web design.