Mistakes are inevitable, and we’re all human. We’ve all seen or heard about the horrors of a failed website redesign.
Regardless of the size or scale of a website, any redesign may also face potential perils and mistake. One of the biggest dangers of a website redesign is losing existing customers because the user experience is not up to par.
Of course, the larger the website, the greater this danger can become. However, even a smaller website can suffer from ill-will if they don’t consider their existing visitors when tackling a redesign project.
This guide should keep you on the right path for creating a revamped and reimaged website that keeps users happy.
Redesign the Right Way
When you decide that a website redesign is necessary for you, there are many things you should consider beyond the technical aspects. Remember, your website likely already has regular visitors, and they have certain expectations when visiting your site. You need a good reason to change those things, and you need to take them into account when starting your website redesign and throughout the entire process.
Communicate with Your Existing Users From the Start
Unlike a new site design, a site being redesigned likely already has a user base. Involving that user base from the beginning on your redesign can result in a much better user experience in the end.
It’s also important to take into account the way visitors use your existing site. Just because you want them to use the site in a particular way doesn’t mean that’s necessarily the way it’s being used in the real world. Take into account the way you’re redesigning, and don’t break existing patterns without a very good reason for doing so.
Make it Simple for Users to Offer Feedback
There are many tools for collecting user feedback. Use them to find out what your visitors like and don’t like as you launch the website, or even as you’re testing it. Make sure you address any issues you receive feedback on by more than a handful of visitors. For every visitor that voices a concern, there could be dozens who feel the same but don’t say anything.
Make Your Reasons for Redesigning Clear
It’s important to let you regular visitors know why you’re redesigning your website. Too many people who are not familiar with technical aspects of running a website believe that redesigns are purely for aesthetic reasons. Let them know what functionality you aim to add or what user interface improvements you’re making. One way to address this is by doing a blog post about your redesign. Explaining the reasons why this is necessary will make visitors feel more comfortable and open up a dialogue.
Offer a Tour/Tutorial for Any Major User Changes
If your new website design drastically changed the user experience for your visitors, offer a tutorial/tour video of how users can navigate through the website and check out the new features. This can help your existing users to quickly adapt to these changes, and feel less alienated. By providing tutorials, this gives the impression that you care about the user experience, and you want this experience to be as good as it can possibly be.
Whenever you’re launching a new design, it’s very important to track your analytics carefully. Set up goals for various functions on your site, and then make sure you’re not suddenly losing a lot of visitors at a certain point.
Analytics can help you make proactive changes to your site, anticipating what visitors are getting hung up on. Make sure you have some basic statistics to refer to and compare.
Don’t forget to also monitor your company’s social media posts about your redesign. If you notice a lot of complaints circulating, be proactive and engage with those people. Throughout the entire process, you should always remain engaged with your audience and listen to their comments. Users should fully understand you’re making website changes in an effort to benefit them, and not just for some undefined goal.