From modernizing the look and feel of a website to addressing employee and end-users' frustrations, a website redesign project can hold a tremendous amount of promise.
Website redesigns are not without their challenges, of course, so Website Magazine enlisted the help of more than 50 professionals to help you navigate through this rewarding and resource-intensive undertaking. The following advice totals more than 4,000 words, so it might not be conducive to reading through in one sitting. We encourage you to bookmark the page and refer to it as a resource before, during and after your next redesign.
1. Be aware of affiliations and sponsored recommendations when choosing providers such as hosting, CMS, plug-ins etc. Scrutinize reviews against your requirements rather than going from the quantity of reviews out there for a provider.
2. Build from a hand-drawn sketch rather than a pixel perfect design. Address the technical hurdles and user needs in the sketch and add the design flair later.
~ Warren Dobe, Co-Founder of Sling Adventures
Every site is a work in progress. Web projects are a confluence of disciplines begging to be orchestrated (design, content, UX, corporate, technologies). You're beholden to legacy needs as well as the future. And the stakeholders often "can't see" the vision until they can respond to something. This serves to remind me it's best to get something out, then refine.
~ Derek Cheng Director of Marketing Content at Tipalti
Redesign is an act of courage. Doesn't matter what others say. When you do it, you have to keep in mind pros and cons. You should realize you can lose a lot simply because users won't accept it. It's a game where the prize is known only for you.
~ Yuri Musienko, Co-Founder & Director of Partnerships at Merehead
We finished a redesign this year for the premier outdoor paddle sports store and instructional center in the Pacific Northwest (see image). It was one of the largest sites we put together. There was a class booking system, a large e-commerce shopping cart and a very active calendar of events. This project made us really spend more time up front planning before touching a line of code.
~ Travis Buck, Vice President of Northwest Media Collective Inc .
Great design cannot overcome bad UX. Never fall into the trap of "just a re-skin" because most problems sites face are more than just a simple makeover.
~ Tom OlivieriDirector of Strategy & Content Worldmedia Interactive
The biggest mistake to avoid when redesigning your website is failing to set up proper 301-redirects. If you fail to do so, your new website will likely suffer in the search engines as a consequence of link flow not being passed properly from the old URL structure to the new one.
~ Thomas Jepsen, CEO of Ayudante 24/7
We make it a point to communicate the design elements that increase user experience. Sometimes clients ask for changes that don’t align with the initial strategy. As a result, we make it a point to remind the client of their target audience by revisiting the proto-personas we created at the beginning of the project.
~ Dr. Talaya Waller, Personal Branding Consultant at WALLER & COMPANY
Website development isn't done until all content is added. Adding content exposes a number of issues, such as which is baked into the code and what is easily editable. There is a proper place for each. Formatting issues also become apparent, that may require developer re-involvement. Adding content exposes a number of issues that must be worked out before completion.
~ Stoney G deGeyter, Founder & CEO of Pole Position Marketing
The most memorable website redesign was one where the company decided to build version 2 and version 3 of their product simultaneously. They said they wanted to build version 2 to prepare everyone for version 3, but it effectively became two separate teams building their release, once of which was DOA. The lesson learned is don't do that.
~ Stephen Gibson, Founder of Vyteo.com