Change is the only constant in this rapidly changing business scenario and nothing manifests it better than the Internet. Initially, Internet was one dimensional, but now, with the advent of Web 2.0 and all its interactive capabilities, the internet has become a multi-dimensional, interactive and dynamic ocean of communication and knowledge sharing. If that wasn?t enough, a truly revolutionary Web 3.0 is taking shape forcing websites to look closely inwards and find out whether they are ready to face the new challenges.
Under these circumstances, companies or businesses need to make their websites be up with the times. Updating websites and if required, redesigning them as per the latest web trends, is now becoming a necessity to make websites get noticed amidst the cut-throat competition.
Website redesigning is a specialized task. Though there are scores of web design agencies in the UK, the US or Europe and Asia, one needs to pick and choose a web design company carefully to ensure that the company has the required expertise. Following is a discussion of what needs to be kept in mind while redesigning a website.
Step 1: Understand the reason behind redesigning the website
Why must you redesign an existing and perhaps even established website? A website design would require overhauling if it fails to reflect the changes in the vision and strategies of the company, when it does not enable the company to showcase its new products or services properly. A change in the business direction and needs of the company also requires the website to be made capable of handling the new demands. Whatever the case maybe, one needs to chalk out the reasons which have necessitated the redesign.
Step 2: Test the website?s current usability
Do your homework before jumping into a web redesign project. Analyze web traffic data and feedback from users to get a fair idea of website?s problems from the user?s point of view. Online surveys, face-to-face interviews, or usability tests can also be used to understand the needs and expectations of the target audience.
Step 3: Treat the redesign as a project
A website redesign is quite a major undertaking requiring proper budget, time, and resource management. Therefore it?s better to treat each redesigning assignment as a project by clearly defining schedules, budget, and resources. It is also important to set up realistic schedules to avoid aggressive timelines as at times it can compel designers to take short cuts or bypass necessary consultation.
Step 4: Refurbish the content
While redesigning, don?t forget to review your website?s content. Based on users’ expectations and needs, review and reorganize your website content. Make it SEO friendly conforming to Web 2.0 practices. This way you will be able to give your site better information architecture.
Step 5: Take one step at a time
Don?t go the whole hog at one go i.e. don?t introduce radical changes all of a sudden. Rather, adopt an incremental approach. This approach would involve changing one thing at a time and gauging user?s reaction to that change. With this incremental approach, not only would the changes be less dramatic, the budgetary concern can also be addressed better.
Step 6: Implement a Content Management System
Since the needs and the aspirations of the target audience will always change, along with the progress in technology, there will always be a constant need to update the website?s content. Hence, it is better to equip the website with a proper maintenance tool, namely Content Management System (CMS). This will make the next redesign much easier task because you will be able to focus on the core design elements as the content will already be in an updated state.
There will be certain sections in the site which would require constant updating such as blogs, company news, updated service offerings, career opportunities section etc. Therefore it?s prudent to plan out ongoing maintenance with your web designing company.
These are things which any reputed US or UK based web design company would take care of while redesigning a website. It pays to follow them to avoid heartburn later on.
James Elliott is a website designer who works with a UK Web Design Company. Besides working as a senior designer in a Web Design Agency in UK, he dabbles into writing too. His articles on affordable web design have been appreciated in UK and in various online platforms.