"Evolution Not Revolution"

In an age where image is everything and first impressions count, it’s important to ensure your company gives out the right message. An old, outdated website design implies an apathetic approach and disregard for detail, so ensuring your users are always presented with a modern, fresh website design is an imperative (yet simple) step in all marketing strategies.

If you’re here, browsing the website of Suffolk website design agency, Logic Design; it’s almost certainly because you’re aware of these facts and are therefore exploring the idea of commissioning a new website design? This can be a daunting experience on many levels, particularly when personal knowledge of website design and standard online user experience is lacking. The first thing to mention is that you are in good hands – we have assisted hundreds of individuals, companies and organisations through this process and we will always offer you our input and honest opinion.

In general, most companies seem to approach their online presence in the same way they would their car. Buying a flashy new model and utilising it’s every feature for years and years until it either becomes too unreliable or too outdated to keep up with everyone else. At which point it gets scrapped or a newer model is bought.

The practice of creating a new website, waiting five/ten years for it to become outdated then completely reworking the website design from scratch in order to propel the company forward again is a fairly common practice. The only real issue with this approach is the years of standstill, the five/ten years of plateau until the site becomes completely outdated. The graph below from widerfunnel.com explains the issues with this process…

Traditional Website Redesign Trends

The other issue is that a complete and profound rework of your website design has several negative connotations to both parties, these are often get overlooked or ignored. It’s easy to get caught up in the shiny, new design and to forget to discuss the potential risks in making all the various web design changes.

It’s imperative to remember that your website’s primary role is as a conversion tool; turning viewers into sales or enquiries. Whilst some of the suggested changes in your redesign will help boost the conversion rate, it’s just as likely, without careful consideration to also negatively effect the reception of the site by your clients. Consider the end-user’s perspective; just as they are getting used to the old site, everything is abruptly reworked and/or moved to entirely different locations. Frustrating them and meaning the site takes much longer for them to use and find their way around.

Additionally there is the impact on you, the business. It’s worth considering whether your corporate image is being watered down and lost in translation as you seek a fresh look that is radially different from the last website design. ‘Changing for the sake of change’ runs the risk of only weakening the strong brand image you have built up over time.

In the past few years several brands have decided to buck the trend of revolutionising their design and to instead have adopted a much more adaptive approach. One of the best examples is that of Amazon. A brand leader and clearly a huge organisation, there is a lot to be learnt for companies of all sizes from Amazon’s web design strategy. They are a fantastic example of a more evolutionary approach. Think about it now… when was the last time Amazon redesigned their website? I seriously doubt you can ever remember a certain time they changed the design of their site, This is because it has evolved and over a lot of time changed in appearance. Perhaps this method can be highlighted as a key tool in helping them over the years to retain users and increase their market dominance?

Amazon are not alone in this approach. Several big names such as eBay, Yahoo, Google and Dell are adopting an evolutionary approach to their website design rather than going down the route of the big redesign. The real trick is to make changes so subtly that in such a fluid fashion that users hardly notice. The graph below from widerfunnel.com explains the benefits of this process…

Evolutionary Website Redesign Patterns

The issue is that as human beings we are almost programmed to resist change and are afraid of the unknown, in general we much prefer a drip-fed approach. eBay is a great example for how a subtle approach can be much more palatable for users than the grand redesign. eBay decided that they no longer liked the bright yellow background present on many of their pages and so decided they would simply change it to a white background instead. This was met with instant outrage and many, many emails complaining about the change so they felt forced to change it back.

However, the design team then decided to adopt a more evolutionary approach and over the period of several months, they modified the background colour one shade of yellow at a time until it was white! The initial change that caused such controversy was remade over a longer period with barely anyone noticing.

In 2010, Digg.com decided that a radical design change was required in order to project them forward as a company. However the new website design, though perfectly fine in it’s aesthetics was rejected by the companies client base. Digg lost 26% of its site traffic following the site overhaul. Users flooded the front page of the site with links to rival sites and begging the chief executive, Kevin Rose, to revert back to the original design. Rose was forced to write a blog article defending the changes and addressing the many upset users.

These examples are all for large multi-national corporations and I am aware it may be that you feel that for your company a more radical approach is required. There is certainly a time and a place for radical website redesign. If the site simply doesn’t work or is confusing and misleading the user it needs to be completely rethought. If the website design no longer reflects what you do or you have decided to offer completely different services/products then a complete overhaul is inevitable. However, this approach should be solely motivated by your client’s needs and should be completed as the first step in a long process of continual evolutionary design from then on. The principles outlined above hold valid and a better, and less risky, approach going forward would be a process of testing with incremental improvements in order to improve visitor experience.

Here at Logic Design we always conduct a lengthy research process into your current site, discussing with you what elements are successful, and what aren’t. It is vitally important that the brand of your company carries through the design and that the elements that convert users are retained. If you’d like to discuss your options when it comes to a new website, why not speak to your friendly Suffolk website design agency, Logic Design! We’d be more than happy to discuss how we could redesign your site in order to maximize potential.

Give us a call on 01284 706 842 and we can discuss your options

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