Is Your Website in Need of a Facelift? The Pros & Cons of Redesigning Your Site

July 8th, 2009 by | 2 Comments »

Many business owners who have seen success from their company website in the past are now stuck in the world of Web 1.0.  Some do not feel a need to update their web presence and others do not understand how redesigning their website can result in increased traffic and sales.  With the Web 2.0 revolution, web designers and developers have gained the ability to present information and services in a simple and interactive format.  Websites that have a professional look, organized structure, and intuitive user interface are more appealing to customers and more likely to convert visitors into sales.

Yet website redesign is not as simple as it sounds and can result in a negative experience for users accustomed to the old design.  While there are many pitfalls surrounding redesign, there are also solutions to help you avoid these problems.

A Case Study in Redesign: Facebook
Anyone who has used Facebook in the past few years must have noticed the frequent design and layout changes they have implemented.  While many of these changes have improved usability and aesthetic appeal of the site, other changes have resulted in a backlash from Facebook users.  You have probably seen one of the many groups created to allow users to vent their frustrations over the modifications.  These groups have accumulated millions of members who are against new changes in design.

So why exactly has Facebook’s redesign been met with such great opposition?
Those die hard Facebook users who have been members of the social network since its inception became used to the simple, unadorned layout that Facebook initially offered.  They valued the fact that this social network lacked the pesky customization options and add-ons that cluttered similar networks.  They liked Facebook simply because it represented a fresh and easy alternative to MySpace.  While the addition of applications, fan pages, and the new Twitter-like design of the home page were created to improve usability, many argued that these changes ended up taking away from the overall purpose of Facebook as a network to connect friends, peers, family members, and co-workers.

While Facebook’s redesigns have created discord, it is possible to redesign your website without upsetting your current users and past clients.  By taking the time to research the opinions of your users, what they like and dislike about your current site design, you can figure out which features are worth keeping and which need to be rethought.

Benefits of Redesigning Your Site:
•    Improved usability and aesthetic appeal.
•    Improved ranking in search engine results.
•    Improved ability to view and interact with your website in mobile browsers.
•    Creates a buzz for your website.

Solutions to the Pitfalls of Website Redesign:
Problem: Potential loss of brand identity and change in values.
Solution: Do not radically change logos or names associated with your company, instead update, freshen, and modernize.
Problem: Potential loss of customers who are used to and preferred the old design.
Solution: Before redesigning, perform a usability survey among customers to see what they like and what needs improvement.

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