I am not going to convince anyone of the importance of a website in running a business. In most cases, it is an absolute must-have communication with the client who combines information, sales and promotional functions in various proportions. Naturally, there are also industries or professions for which the existence of the Internet is not necessary, but that's not about that here. Here we want to make websites outstanding!
In this article, I will delicately introduce the process of redesigning a website based on the processes we use in Mits, and we will find key questions that we should answer before commissioning it. The results of such an analysis may be surprising, and they will certainly prepare us better for cooperation with the project team.
Why do we need redesign and what is it anyway?
From my own experience, I noticed that the impetus to redesign a website are often:
- competition - website change, development of internet tools, etc.
- external financing - e.g. obtaining EU funds
- macro factors - change of laws regulating some actions or extraordinary situations forcing you to adapt (see coronavirus)
- no changes to the website for many years
Are any of the above-mentioned factors dictated by the desire to solve the problem on the current page? Not. Why? Because we don't know what the problem is on the current site. We rarely monitor or analyze user behavior. Statistics are usually the number of visits, maybe the origin of the users. Often the source of feedback and gathering information from the outside about the website are bug reports from customers. Sounds familiar? Therefore, even if the impulse to redesign the website is an external factor for us, we should - as Adam says - our CTO, do it godly. The analysis will tell us much more than the suggestions of a colleague from the marketing department, statistics are a mine of knowledge, and the results of website monitoring by, for example, HotJara are a golden game for many designers. Remember that redesign is not rebranding, it is not changing the graphics or layout on the page or implementing a new template without a usability analysis.
Redesign is also not a change in the graphic design under the influence of current trends in design!
Redesing of sunscrapers.com by Mits
Website redesign is a redefinition of the assumptions of all user experiences that should be obtained while using the website. In other words, redesign is facing the problems of website users and designing solutions for them. As part of the project, we will certainly have to deal with the design of new user journeys on the website and the preparation of new content and materials.
Check case study
Ok, since we already know what the redesign should be, let's move on to the purpose of the article. The first step in preparing for redesign must be the question ...
What is not working on our site?
Without a thorough analysis and clearly defined goals, we will not define what does not work, and thus we will not answer the question whether we need a new website at all. In our company, we most often use data from Google Analytics and the HotJar application to monitor user behavior. However, the most important source of knowledge is an interview with the client and his substantive knowledge that cannot be replaced by any application. During the interview, we create a document that is a list of questions and answers. Knowing the problems is the key to preparing a proposal to solve them, and thus to creating a reliable estimation and work schedule.
I have prepared a set of fairly universal, sample questions that appeared during the recent Scoping Session with our partner - Hauster, for which we are creating a new online store.
- What are the biggest problems of our users? What are they struggling with when using the website?
- For what purpose do users come to us?
- What channels do our users reach us from?
- How do they travel on the site? What paths?
- What character traits or emotions do we want design to be associated with?
- Should we use specific technological solutions?
- Is the website consistent with the brand image? Does the brand have its own visual identity?
If we find out what is not working on the website, we also need to know ...
What works on our current site?
Contrary to appearances, this is an important question. Designers may not know about the nuances, or unusual solutions that may be specific, can be a very good solution for your niche / target group. It is worth considering and writing down those elements that work very well and it is not worth redesigning them - at most subject to a delicate facelift.
Main and secondary goals
If we know the elements that need to be rebuilt, we have also listed the elements that work very well, we have access to GA, information about the brand, then the project team can start working. Not!
Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of the redesigned website, we already know a lot, but knowing them, we can attempt to define goals that will be measurable and defined in time. Goals are important because they will tell us if we've achieved success or not. Prioritizing them will be very helpful in the design phase. When creating mockups and the target graphic design of a new website, goals may play a fundamental role in arranging Call To Action, simplifying or refining functionalities, etc. It is therefore worth choosing the most important goals for us, determining the current values, values that we want to achieve (in a given time) and arrange them by importance. The most common goals are:
The conversion rate is a factor that tells us how many% of users have achieved the goal we set, e.g. purchasing a product or sending a contact form. Low conversions are the most common reason and impetus for website changes. Sample goals:
- Increasing the number of inquiries by 20% (increase in conversion to the form sent from 5% to 6% during the year)
- Generating 2000 new newsletter subscribers
- Increasing the number of visits to the XYZ subpage up to 30%
Technical parameters that make it easier for the user to use the website and thus achieve your business goals. For useful purposes, we can include, for example,
- Increasing the website loading speed to 90 points according to Google Test Speed
- Increasing the average time the user is on the website to 3 minutes
- Adjusting the page for correct display on the tablet (additional breakpoints)
- Shortening the user's getting to Checkout to 2 views
- Website optimization for the indicated keyword
Content and Materials
Redesign is most often associated with the desire to change the current content and / or add new ones. It is worth determining at this stage what exactly we want to add and in what time intervals we will update the website. Remember that the redesign does not end on the day when, by pouring champagne, you present a freshly published website under your domain on a TV screen or projector. This is just the beginning of the tool that is to achieve your business goals. That is why it is so important to constantly develop it, and to the greatest extent it will be through the content and materials published in it. The content management strategy is of great importance not only how our recipients will perceive your brand, whether our statistics will be green in Google Analytics, but also for positioning.
It is good at this stage to determine the size of the generated content in the new project and, for example, whether we will need to increase resources, e.g. hire copywriters. Information about the amount of new content added will also be useful for designers.
Search engine optimization is an important task throughout the entire project. We should consider at an early stage what keywords are important for our business and also redesign the website in terms of them. Your tasks will include the preparation of titles and meta descriptions of the most important subpages - keep this in mind.
Knowing the main and secondary goals, it will be easier to define the assumptions of the project. We will not go astray and look for solutions at random. Thanks to these arrangements, we will be able to answer a few important questions, e.g.
- When and under what conditions will we achieve success?
- What will be the hard effects for the business?
- Can the redesign investment pay off and when?
Before starting the project, it is worth realizing whether we have all the resources to implement a new website and I do not only mean the budget. In our history, there have been such projects that we were proud of, we bragged about our portfolio, submitted to web design competitions, but over time our perception changed even by 180 degrees. What happened? Tired and bored with design? 🙂 No… unfortunately, most often the fault lay with the website owner, who had the will to develop further and create new functionalities, but he did it without investing in specialists: designers, copywriters or even programmers. The effect was that the website, despite the fact that it had new subpages, and functionalities, was losing its usability. The coefficients fell, and the values of the original targets only receded.
It is worth remembering that redesign is a continuous process that does not close with the launch of the website in production, it is also difficult to implement without experts and dedicated people inside your company. When preparing for redesign, ask yourself the following questions:
- Will we have enough time internally to run the website?
- Will we have a budget for further development of the website?
- Do we have the right team to meet the requirements?
There are many topics to think about before redesigning the website, but the more answers we give ourselves now, the more effectively we will achieve the goal of an outstanding website. In the following parts I will tell you, among others about the design and implementation process with an emphasis on the participation of our clients in the process, I will also write about creating an estimate, what budget we should set up for redesing and how long it will take us.