Latest posts by Andrea Ferguson (see all)
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We do a lot of redesigns around here, and if you know us at all, you know that we look to research, business goals, and user needs as we develop your new website design. Inspired by a great article on Web Designer Depot and our own accumulated experience, here are some questions to ask when evaluating a proposed draft design:
- Does this structure and layout best serve the important content on the website? Jeffrey Zeldman once said that “Content precedes design. Design in the absence of content is not design, it’s decoration.” A good design should provide a showcase for your best content and make things easy for your users to find. So rather than focusing on the visuals at first, make sure that information is laid out in ways that are user-friendly and intuitive, bringing your best content to the forefront.
- Does the new design reflect my brand accurately, or am I too focused on trying to duplicate and “outpretty” my competitors’ websites? Visuals are what we see first, of course, but if the trend on your competitors’ websites doesn’t match your brand and personality, it won’t help you. Don’t be afraid to be different, to be simple when others are complicated. Fancy graphics shouldn’t be The Thing….helping your users understand who you are and what you offer is most important.
- What would fresh eyes in my user community think of the design? It’s hard to put personal opinion aside, but try to. Remember when evaluating a design that it’s your users, not you, that you need to please. Also remember that you’ve been looking at the old site for a while, and change can be hard to accept. But you’re doing this for a reason…keep that reason and your users’ needs in mind all the time.
- Does the new design support the analytics? Reviewing your site’s analytics is vital to creating a new design that works. You can make guesses about whether or not a call to action is getting attention or if an item in the navigation is important, but your analytics will tell you for sure. Then recheck your analytics as you make changes to gauge the success of your decisions.
- Am I being too specific with the designers? Web designers are a unique breed who leverage both sides of their brain to come up with something beautiful and technological that serves your needs and those of your site visitors. We do love it when you let us know exactly what you want, but understand that there are things we do for reasons having to do with usability, browser and device compatibility, and web standards that may mean we can’t take all your suggestions. In those cases, be open to alternatives. And ask questions–nobody likes to feel dismissed, so helping both sides understand the reasons for a request enables successful collaboration.
We’d love to talk with you more about your redesign. Feel free to contact us.