What does it take to redesign your website successfully?
You are ready to take the plunge and redesign your website. Perhaps you are looking to rebrand your company’s image. Or, your company has grown and it is time for a content overhaul. The redesign process can differ depending on your project, but your end goal should be a working creative brief for your business. It is the effectiveness of this creative brief that will determine the ultimate success of your new website design.
This article will take you through the redesign process and its three main phases:
- The initial research and objective-setting phase;
- The redesign process itself and how to manage it;
- The launch of your new website and how to assess its success.
Here is how you can successfully redesign your website within your time constraints.
Preliminary Research and Objectives
Always begin with preliminary research. This phase will guide your decisions as you think about how you want to redesign your website. Your design firm will do its own research, but you must convey your vision for the new website to your designer. Give your designer a better sense of this vision. Show them your inspirations from other websites. Share any design elements related to your brand, your desired stock images, and your aims for the new website. This first step in the process will guide your designers as they work to understand and execute your creative brief.
Your preliminary research will also help you formulate specific objectives for your redesigned website.
Do you want to increase user registration by 20%?
Are you looking to optimize your website’s visibility?
Increase the number of customers who ultimately buy your product?
Whatever your objectives in redesigning your website, be sure that your goals are measurable. Consider analytics software or any other methods that you will use to quantify the success of your redesign after launch.
Engage with your design agency or web designer and learn what to expect from their process. Some firms have a longer process while others complete the redesign in fewer steps. Look for a firm whose process is simple and makes the most sense for your redesign project. Most firms will have their own unique website design process.
The agency will conduct its own preliminary study;
- It should have a design questionaire – Your answers will help them design your new website;
- It will provide mockups – Usually there are two designs, the homepage design and the inner page design;
- It will then design and develop your new website – This phase only happens after you have approved the new design.
Be wary of firms that design by committee. More designers is not better when it comes to website redesign. It is easy for your original vision to get lost during a process involving too many people who are unfamiliar with your objectives.
Once you’ve had a chance to review the new design, consider it from your end users’ perspective. Communicate to your designer any changes you want before launch. However, be sure that your proposed changes will help your goals for redesigning the website. Avoid making changes that will improve only your own experience with the website. Remember, you are redesigning your website for your users! If you have doubts, consider split testing to gauge your users’ needs.
Unveil Your New Website
If you followed the redesign project from its preliminary phase through development, you are now ready to launch your new website. Decide on the date your website will go live, but allow enough time to test-drive the new website.
As you vet your newly redesigned website, be sure to consider:
- The website’s overall functionality (Do the links work? Do the images load? Is the content correct?)
- Accuracy (Does it look like the mockup you approved?)
- URL addresses (Are your old pages redirecting to the new ones?)
- Tracking scripts (Are they in place?)
- Backup (Can you restore quickly in case something goes wrong at launch?)
When you’re sure that your new site is completely functional and ready to use, launch! There is one critical step left: evaluate the success of your website’s redesign. Use the methods you decided on in the research phase to compare the new website’s performance against your objectives. You may need several tweaks to the new website to meet these objectives. Again, consider split testing at this stage to assess your users’ preferences.
Once your new website is performing (and hopefully outperforming!) your objectives, you can congratulate yourself: you have successfully redesigned your website!
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