Without confusing your audience, how to redesign your website

New year, new website?

Maybe it's not such a bad idea. After all, for any tech-savvy company owner, ensuring that the website adheres to the latest web design standards is important. And because it is still a good time to make plans and dream big at the start of a new year, maybe you want to follow the newest web design trends and eventually introduce some features that will impress your audience.

But you should know the website renovation, completed entirely from scratch, comes with the small danger of misleading the audience before you get started. We've all been there; every day, we've used a website, got used to the comfortable interface, only to point out that one day, the buttons are all over the place and we don't really know where to start (Facebook in particular has a long history of confusing redesigns).

With a redesign, what you want to do is not just to make the website look younger and flashier. Aesthetics matter, but up to a point only. Instead, you want to draw on the main strengths of your old website, delete the elements that historically did not add meaning, and make the UX cleaner and more intuitive.

Redesigning a website can be a long process that needs substantial investment on your part. When it is complete, finding that the new website is not welcome and thus does not give strong ROI can be disappointing. You invest so much time and resources into it, after all, and it does not seem to be noticed by the consumers. Don't accuse the users in those cases. They just respond to an unsatisfactory experience. And if you spent a great deal of money on your new page, if browsing through it gives them headaches, users won't empathise with you.

Instead, from a practical viewpoint, aim to view website redesign and not make adjustments solely for the sake of them. If you want to update your website without misleading or shocking your audience, here are the best practises to consider.

Why do you want to redesign your website?

The first question you need to answer before starting work is: Why do we want to redesign our website?

If the last time you updated the template was 2013, if the website is sluggish, ugly, and lacks the functionality your rivals have been delivering for a while now, then there is no doubt about it, or your bounce rate would go through the roof, and your SEO could also be impacted.

If your website operates well already, though, and the user interface is satisfactory, why do you want to change it? If the motives are not user-centric, don't agree to a big overhaul mission. Would you like to introduce a functionality that people would enjoy, such as a simplified reservation system or a better way to access products? That's a fantastic incentive, because the results is definitely going to be fine.But if you just want to add fancy animations and sliders for the sake of it, users might find it too confusing.

Have a comprehensive strategy

Another thing you should do before changing your website’s design is get in touch with a professional to draft a comprehensive strategy, which may also include rebranding objectives.

Here are a few things to include on your list:

1. Why do you want to change the old website? (i.e., the interface was outdated, the design didn’t match your brand’s identity, it was too slow, it lacked essential features, it didn’t compare to your competitors’ websites, you had lots of complaints that the website isn’t good enough, etc.)

2. What do you want to accomplish with the new website?

3. What features are essential and which pertain to aesthetics more than usability?

4. Which elements of the old website are essential to your brand’s identity and should be transferred to the new website? (i.e., logo, user experience, content, etc.).

5. Which parts of your branding/marketing strategy will be affected after you redesign your website?

6. How will you handle SEO during the redesign? Will you keep any of the old pages or clean them up? Talk to a professional to make sure your traffic and rankings aren’t affected. Redirects and missing pages can become problematic.

7. When and how will you launch the new website? To boost traffic and awareness, you might want to consider running a special promotion at the time of the launch.

8. Testing

As overhaul efforts seem to take a longer time, the new website is easily launched by company owners and the review time is reduced. That is a major mistake, though, which can lose you several users. On your original timetable, no matter how far behind you are, do provide ample time for checking. Holding the old website up for a few weeks longer is safer than shipping a buggy, incomplete app that hinders the user experience, and launching a new website that lives up to standards. It needs time and attention for a proper website redesign, so don't hurry it.

Listen to user feedback and be willing to answer questions

The website owner works closely with the design team to build a new website more frequently than not and recognises every button and feature like the back of their hand. Yet they don't consumers. The latest style may be something of a shock for consumers. The website looks one way one day, and it's totally new the next. They may have difficulty locating certain stuff, they may not instinctively know how some of the new features work, and they may even be disappointed with some of the improvements you liked. Try to keep an open mind since the launch of the new website and listen to customer feedback-there will be a lot of it, positive and bad. As they should answer more requests than average, the customer service staff can also be on watch. Keep the dialogue accessible on social media to make sure the redesign meets its targets, and ask people what they liked/didn't like about the redesign.

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