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To Redesign or Not To Redesign?

By: Mary Barbour

How do you know when it’s time to redesign your site?

Marketing research has shown that redesigning every 2 to 3 years is most effective, but following generic rules like that can sometimes lead you down the wrong path. After all, there’s no sense in changing your site just for the sake of change.  As Paul Scrivens says in What is Design, “Don’t redesign just to do something new, redesign because you have a better answer to the question.”

It’s also important to note that humans are averse to change! We are. As quick-thinking and innovative as we can be, we still resist it with everything we’ve got. If you have a lot of users who have grown familiar with your interface, or even just a few very dedicated ones, beware of potentially alienating them with a tricked-out new site they’ll have to relearn how to use. Many experts recommend fine tuning, instead of redesign, to both save money and preserve your current customer base. (And it should be noted that all websites will need periodic tweaks and updates, even if they are the small, behind the curtains kind.)

Having said that, if you’ve taken a long, hard look at your site and see that it does have some big shortcomings, that traffic has fallen, that you’d like to integrate some new technologies, or that your business or image has significantly changed since you last updated the site, it might well be time for a redesign. Whether it’s purely a functional redesign (that’s all the behind the scenes stuff) or a total aesthetic overhaul of your site design, this kind of change can ultimately do wonders for your business. Companies large and small have realized the importance of staying on top of responsive design capabilities – a big factor in many businesses decision to revamp their sites. (If you’re feeling really, geeky, check out BBC’s recap of their redesign.)

So, the short answer here is that there is no definitive timeline for redesigns. It just depends on you,  your needs and the changes taking place in your industry and your company. Just ask yourself periodically if you’re getting all that  you want out of your site or if it could maybe benefit from a makeover.

(P.S. For some good questions to ask yourself when deciding to redesign or not, check out this RocketFuel Blog, which they wrote in the midst of redesigning their own site.)

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