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'ReDesign' is not a Dirty Word
By Dr. Mani Sivasubramanian
What To Improve Upon In a Redesign
Just about EVERY aspect of a Website can be improved upon in one way or another.
The philosophy behind a redesign should be:
respect for visitors to your Website
near maximum accessibility
a clean, attractive, distinctly recognizable appearance
better scalability and ease of future maintenance
Before planning a redesign it may be worthwhile taking a hard look at the following areas:
Design, layout, look-and-feel, brand
In the absence of face-to-face contact with your target audience the only way you imprint your image in a user's mind is by your Website's image. Regardless of your site's purpose, a clean, uncluttered yet attractive layout can't help but impress visitors. One of the most common reasons to redesign a Website is to change the look and feel of the old site. How exactly this is achieved is too personal to generalize and depends entirely on the nature of your Website.
Some general principles apply:
Your homepage could be simply decorative or instead be informative too.
Consider minimizing the number of clicks a user needs to get to content.
Use clear space around blocks of content to achieve a clean, uncluttered appearance.
Employ graphics tastefully to enhance the user experience on your site.
Don't use technology for its own sake. But also remember that technology is expanding rapidly. More and more users have broadband internet access and desire a more visually appealing, immersive and interactive Web experience.
Be obsessed with branding. Consistent use of colors, displaying your logo and tag-line on each page of your site and retaining a professional image helps users identify with your brand.
Usability and navigation As a Website grows with the addition of more content it becomes progressively more difficult to get around. Visitors are more likely to get lost in the maze and become increasingly frustrated. A Website redesign can do wonders for a site like this. By improving navigation tools and enhancing the user experience a redesign can magnify the site's purpose enormously.
Some concepts to keep in mind include:
Keep navigation tools simple and intuitive. Deciding upon the choice of buttons and their placement on the page is important in reaching this end.
The hierarchy must be ordered to minimize the number of clicks a user needs to make before reaching useful content.
On extensive Websites an efficient search engine can make finding content a delightful task for users
Audience reach The Web is International, has always been. But its rate of growth is different around the world. Newer audiences come online every day and have their unique preferences, characteristics and interests. As your popularity grows more people hear about your Website and visit it. Your business - and Website - might need to attract this ever-changing online population. A redesign might be the answer.
- How can a redesign help you capture a new audience?
Your new target audience might have interests and needs that you can satisfy by adding or modifying content on your Website.
Content you've already added to your site might attract new visitors who are potential customers for your other services and products. Language is a barrier that can be easily overcome. By translating your content into other languages you can become visible to new customers.
When you first created a Website perhaps you didn't expect it to become as popular as it did. You plunged right in and did it. Now that it is generating so many page views, you want to make it better. (This not-too-uncommon scenario is what fuelled the first redesign of my own Website.) What's more, you now know how difficult it is to start from scratch. You'd like to set things up so that it becomes easy to scale up your site if it gets even more famous. A redesign is your best chance to plan for future expansion and growth.