Redesigning websites today isn’t just about changing the look and feel. With technology changing and different problems needing to be solved, redesigning and overhauling websites goes much deeper than just the way they look. The functionality, presentation, how they load, and how well they can be updated are all things that are prompting website redesigns on the daily basis.
It’s important to constantly think about redesigning your site. However, lots of people are stuck trying to decide how often they should redesign their sites. If you’re in this group, here are some ways to figure out what’s right for you. Even if you’re not doing a complete re-design, optimizing your site for conversions and a better user interface (UI) or user experience (UX) is always a good idea.
Is your website responsive?
Responsive Web design is the approach that suggests that design and development should respond to the user’s behavior and environment based on screen size, platform, and orientation. The practice consists of a mix of flexible grids and layouts, images, and intelligent use of CSS media queries. As the user switches from their laptop to iPad, the website should automatically switch to accommodate resolution, image size, and scripting abilities. In other words, the website should have the technology to automatically respond to the user’s preferences. This would eliminate the need for a different design and development phase for each new gadget on the market.
The first requirement for an exemplary user experience is to meet the exact needs of the customer, without fuss or bother. Next comes simplicity and elegance that produce products that are a joy to own, a joy to use. True user experience goes far beyond giving customers what they say they want or providing checklist features.
When you find that people are leaving your site quickly or not returning to your site, you may have a UX problem. If people can’t find what they’re looking for they will leave your site and look for another. Think about the last time you landed on a site and couldn’t find the information you were looking for. It was frustrating and you had little patience for it. If you don’t recall a situation like this, here’s a great list of bad UX examples.
If you are starting to lose visitors, then you should either take a look at your home page to see if you can make it more enticing, or consider a complete redesign of your site to make visitors want to navigate further into your site and read what you have to say.
When was the last time you completely overhauled your site?
It seems like such an obvious question, so why isn’t this at the top of this list? Mainly because this is not a very strong indicator of needing a new website. The general rule of thumb is you should completely revamp at least the look of your site every three years, and possibly the functionality every five years. Those years don’t sync up together when you put it on a calendar because even though the technology is changing really fast, it isn’t changing as fast as design trends on the Web. For instance, we have had smartphones for at least six years but we are just now starting to look at website design as responsive to the device we are using. However, the “Web 2.0″ look has come and gone in a matter of about four years (roughly 2006-2010).
Is the copyright year in your footer any other year than this year?
If the copyright statement in your footer has a year that is anything other than this year, chances are you haven’t updated your site since then. Your site is pretty stale at that point. If it says last year or earlier, then you are signaling to your clients that you haven’t updated the site, and they will leave. This is a good signal of needing a website redesign, especially if that year is 2-3 years or older.
Ultimately, you have to make the decision on a redesign