There is a lot more that SHOULD go into a website re-design than most people realize. Many people think that just having an updated design with a fresh look is all that is needed when redesigning a site. But really, there are a number of aspects of your business that should be evaluated when going through the redesign process.
If your design process is very involved, collaborative, and thorough, it should save on time and money, while delivering a better overall product and leading to higher client satisfaction.
Here are 6 aspects should be discussed when a design firm is discussing a redesign with a client to help ensure project success. Whether you’re a designer or a client, following these tips will help your project be less stressful.
There needs to be a clear understand of why you are redesigning the site. Are you redesigning it just because its been 5 years since anyone has touched the site? Or are there real business objectives that you look to accomplish with a new site? That is really what needs to be discussed. What problems/pains can we relieve with a new site? How can we create a better user experience? How can we earn industry credibility?
Outline your goals for the new site. If a goal is to download a whitepaper or webinar, are you looking to acquire user information to follow up? If you are trying to increase the time-on-site, what can you add to the site to keep the user engaged longer?
While every websites goals are going to be different, they should all fit into one or all of these categories.
- Lead Generation
- Site Engagement
- Brand Awareness
- Industry Credibility
During a complete website redesign, is the perfect time to talk about re-branding as well. If you think it may be time for a new logo, new color scheme, and an overall new look, this will affect how the website is going to be designed. In some cases it just makes sense that if you are going to be changing the look and feel of the website, that the logo gets updated as well. However if you have built a lot of credibility and invested a lot of marketing dollars into your branding, it may not be worth it to change your brand.
However this is something to keep in the back of your mind, because if you do decide to re-brand, than it will affect the design of the site and other elements of your overall marketing.
Design is so subjective, so it is important to get feedback from your client as to the type of website design they are looking for. From my experience when the client does not give feedback, they are usually unhappy and spend 2-3 times as long to complete the site. The reason is because the designer is just going off of his/her opinions and not taking in the ideas of the client. Of course you are not going to be able to please everyone, but with feedback from the client, it will help cut down the number of revisions because the designer has a better understanding of what the client is looking for.
A client should be able to discuss:
- Do you want your website to be playful? professional? trendy? abstract?
- What websites do you like? why?
- What websites do you dislike? why?
- What color schemes do you like?
- Who is your primary audience?
Depending on your target audience and web visitors, you should design your site to cater to their needs. For example, if your business is selling kids toys, you probably want your site to cater to parents while keeping it playful and fun. If you a nursing home, trying to entice elder people to join you want to make sure the font is big and easy to read.
Here are some things to think about.
- Are your visitors mainly male or female?
- How old are your target customers?
- What geographic location are you catering to?
- What type of background/education so your primary visitors have?
- B2B or B2C?
Visitors to your website do not want to think when they get to a site, so simplify your calls to actions. If you are offering a summer sale on your clothing, have a well-designed graphic in the main real estate of your site for people to see. If you want users to download a new whitepaper, have a call to action in more than one area of your site. Basically if you don’t tell people what to do, they are not going to do it.
Think about these questions when figuring out your call to actions.
- What is the primary goal of your site?
- What do you want your visitors to be able to accomplish?
- Is it painfully obvious what the user should do?
- Can visitors find ways to contact you? download? sign-up? purchase?
Site Architecture/Navigation Structure
Many design firms do not lay out their site structure before they begin designing. Usually they will just wing it and throw up a navigation without actually putting any thought into how the site should be organized and structured. This is an extremely important aspect to a redesign that many companies overlook. I don’t believe you need to lay out every single page on your site before you start designing, but you should have a well thought-out navigation that is organized and 1-2 clicks away from accessing any page on your site.
You should be thinking about catering your navigation to different types of users. Some people may want to just learn a little bit about your company, others may be looking to see if you provide a certain service/products, others will know exactly what they want and want a way to buy or contact you. Keep all of those things in mind when structuring your site and thinking about what pages are needed to fulfill all types of users.