The website of a company undoubtedly serves as the entry point of its business.
It is also one of the most important sales tool let the company present its business on the web or digital space. Naturally, in designing or redesigning the company basically wants to optimize the website so that more number of visitors can be turned into customers.
But, redesigning is more challenging a task for a business website. It is also the most misunderstood project by the undertakers of such project. There are few aspects to consider. First of all, a redesigned website at a glance can shock the regular visitors. The visitors upon arriving on the website can find using it difficult if the website navigation and page structure changed too much following a redesign. Secondly, a redesigned website needs time to orient the users and actually make an impact on the business outcome. One cannot expect an impact just instantly after the site redesign.
Most research regarding this indicate that following the redesign of a website the typical user satisfaction goes down and it takes few weeks to months to restore their satisfaction. Naturally as far as business impact is concerned a website redesign is a challenging project that requires consideration of visitor satisfaction at every step. That’s why it is essential to take a customer-driven approach to the redesign process. Whether for alleviating the overall site user experience or for making better impact on sales or for adding more firepower to the digital brand promotion, a thorough redesign can help you to fulfill an array of objectives but you need to maintain a customer centric redesign approach invariably and throughout.
1. Make your redesign objective clear and S.M.A.R.T
Whether the change of site design is needed for making the overall user experience better or for fulfilling the need for a responsive design to address emerging mobile users, before beginning with the redesign project you must make your objective clear. Just look at the short term and long term goals of your website than just limiting yourself to typical immediate objectives. Besides helping the users to get their things easily through a new user friendly design are you also focusing on the business conversion from the website? Is the redesign addressing all the attributes that were causing obstacles in generating organic traffic? Sometimes, just optimizing a few crucial pages can be more effective than a total and comprehensive redesign.
It all depends upon your objective how your website stands in relation to them. Make the five elements of S.M.A.R.T. principle work for your redesign project. Make sure that your redesign objective is specific, the outcome is measurable, the task is assignable, the whole objective and project maneuvers are realistic and the project involves time based goals.
2. Make the research work in your favor
Just taking task without giving it any thought or without backing up with sufficient research is another big mistake for most of redesign projects. There are several aspects of a redesign project that need to be meticulously focused including the visitors, customers and prospects. The preference of the visitors is not at all an afterthought but a decisive factor of redesigning a website. A recent statistics will suffice to prove this. As per the recent study conducted by Janrain 74% of visitors just feel frustrated when they miss the familiar content on their frequently visited websites and web pages. So if you do not want to frustrate your regular visitors a research on customer feedback and opinion on the site design is necessary prior to carrying with a redesigning project. A detailed analysis concerning strength and weakness of your website design supported by customer and visitor feedback will give you the right direction.
3. Make sure the new design offers a guided experience
Obviously upon arriving on the website the visitors generally like to have an idea regarding the company and its offerings. Moreover, after knowing what the website is all about and they instantly need to know the next thing to do ahead and this where design element has a bigger role to play.
Worldwide statistics on visitor’s behavior shows that most of them leave a website in less than a minute after arriving on it. Naturally, upon the arrival if you cannot guide them instantly to the next step or next thing to do, you are very likely to miss majority of traffic. First of all make them educated on the company and business credentials and then guide them properly to the next possible action or provide them options for the next action. From organizing the navigational items to offering buttons for taking the visitor to the next relevant page to placing directional arrows in websites that helps visitors in directing to the next page, there are numerous design elements to guide the visitor to next relevant page or action and thereby let them stay on the site longer.
4. Let the design serve all styles of interaction and learning
What makes one learn or interact easily may prove to be challenging for others. There are variations in the response people show to various types of contents and the way they interact with them. So just providing one type of content for different types of users will not help. While some users have a natural inclination towards reading text some like watching a video instead of reading text. So when redesigning your webpage make sure you offer the right mix of text, video and image files rather than just sticking to one type of content.
5. Avoid information overload and keep in simple
We are practically living in an age characterized by information overload. A study conducted on 2008 estimated that on an average American person consumes more than 100,000 words per day. Naturally, most users due to this huge information overload just want to determine the relevance of a site at a glance and decide whether to stay there or leave the page. So when redesigning a website, make sure that the site do not offer a heavy clutter of text and contents. Try to offer a simple and eye catchy look with lot of white space around. You can offer all your contents to the new visitor but do that gradually without creating any visual clutter.
6. Make redesign work for SEO
Although so called web search tend to be diversified with every passing day, until now nothing could challenge the domination of Google as far as knowing everything and seeking everything on the web is concerned. For a greater part of website visitors still Google or a few other search engines still provide the most sought after pathway. Naturally any redesign project must take the SEO friendliness of their pages into serious consideration. There might have been years of effort for making the landing pages perfect and effective and there might have been too many potential contributions behind your on page blog posts and now while redesigning make sure the effectiveness of these elements do not go astray. For migration of a domain to another, you need to be careful of the respective effects on the site’s SEO standing.
7. Framing a post redesign strategy
As and when the redesign is complete you should have a different approach o assess the outcome. First of all, redesigning will not impact instantly and rather you would lose some traffic and experience a business volume, because visitors and customers need time to cope up. Secondly, through so called redesign project is over, your job of perfecting things every now and then is far from over. This is what we call as post redesign strategy. You need to keep a tap on the user feedback, customer expectations and the reasons for any potential dropout in visitor volume and accordingly need to perfect things. Making design perfect is a continuous process rather than just a onetime project.