We are engaged in the redesign of old projects

Website redesign and why it is always so difficult?

Let’s start “from the very beginning.” Do you know what is the main problem with the redesign of websites? That most clients do not know why they need it. Redesign for the sake of redesign. Simply because the appearance of the site already seems outdated and we want some kind of “change in life”.

It is important to identify an important thesis immediately: The redesign of the site itself, without objective reasons, will not bring additional profits to the company, but rather to the contrary. This is a complex and expensive procedure that requires the involvement of skilled designers with good layout skills, and sometimes even programmers, to adjust the functionality after changing the external appearance. All these – are quite substantial costs. Therefore, changing the design just because you’re tired of the old one - is a very bad idea.

  • First of all, because it’s expensive.
  • Secondly, because the notion of “I don’t like the design” is very subjective, and relying on the director’s personal tastes - is not the best approach.
  • Thirdly, external changes to the website can only worsen its results. The experience shows that changes in the design and structure of websites and applications are usually received negatively by ordinary users.

There are many known cases in which design updates have resulted in a serious decrease in conversion rates. Therefore, changing the appearance of the website, you can take the risk of your personal money.

Therefore, before planning to update the website, you have to set specific and ideally quantifiable targets for this action. For example:

  • Reduce the number of users’ claims about uncomfortable design and layout errors.
  • Implement an adaptive layout, to make the website appear on different devices in the same correct and convenient way.
  • Focus on key elements to increase conversion. However, even in this case, it is better not to make a complete redesign suddenly, but to test the effectiveness of separate changes. You can, for example, change the color of a given button and conduct an A/B test. Show the old version of the website to one part of visitors, and to the other part - the changed version. Thus, you will be able to clearly and objectively determine the most efficient option.

In general, before planning a redesign of the website, you have to consider more than once whether the company really needs it. What is the purpose of the external changes, are they going to bring the company a profit?

If you have a clear understanding of the goal and the redesign is part of a concrete optimization plan, then we invite you to learn in advance what problems can be probably faced. We have collected them in one article.

1. Redesign - changes to a finished website

This is the first and most obvious problem. The design cannot be performed separately from the functionality and structure of the website. The designer who will be involved in the project must understand that the concept it has created must not violate the logic and structure of the operation of the website pages.

A simple designer will not cope with this, you need a specialist who is also proficient in the layout. To understand whether the implementation of proposed ideas is possible or whether it is technically difficult/impossible to achieve. An ordinary designer will draw so that it will be either unrealizable with the current code or it will be very expensive.

Often, only minimal visual changes can be made at an already ready website. Deeper design development will require the inclusion of a programmer in the project. It will change and adapt the functional part according to the option proposed by the designer.

Of course, including such a well-paid specialist in the works will raise the budget very much. Therefore, the customer will face a rather difficult choice:

  • Agree to minimal visual changes to the website
  • Or insist on a radical redesign, understanding that it will greatly increase both the budget (from the account of programmers’ involvement) and the time needed for implementation.

However, you can just recreate the website with a new design. And, this is not a joke, but a completely competitive alternative. In some cases, it’s cheaper and faster to recreate the website with a new design, rather than trying to give a new look to the old site. This is particularly true when the customer needs to change not only the design, but also some functionality. With such a task, it is in most cases better to make a new product. Here it is necessary to remember the necessity of testing. The more changes are made in the project, the more working hours of the testers will be necessary to verify the fairness of the operation. It is important to understand that, with any changes to the project (especially large-scale changes), you have to verify that the website functions as before.

There are always errors. If they are not, it means the tester just hasn’t found them. In fact, errors do not mean that the designer and the programmer are incompetent. There are simply hundreds of possible combinations device-operating system-browser. On one of these options, the website may not be displayed correctly, the button may not be pressed, or the layout may be lost. The testers’ job is to find these problems. The redesign - is a significant interference on a site. It is important to verify that the website is still working as a result of the changes. Therefore, in addition to the time of the layout designer and of the potential programmer, the time of the tester for changing the external appearance of the website, should also be planned in the budget.

2. The difficulty of redesign depends on how the website was first built

This problem occurs quite frequently when changing the appearance of older websites. The layout can be so rigid that the smallest change destroys the display of the entire page. If the site is not made according to Bootstrap technology and according to the grid, then any change requires a lot of effort.

Before you make a design, it’s important to understand how prepared the website is for this. Exactly how was it built? To what extent the website can be adapted and how comfortable it is to make changes.

There are often cases when, without a complete redesign of the website, it is possible to make only minimal point changes that may seem insufficient for the customer.

3. Are there many functionalities on the website?

Another factor affecting the difficulty is the functionality. The bigger it is, the more difficult the changes are. If you have a corporate website with only a few pages of text and contacts, then you generally do not need a redesign. You can take any CMS template that you like, adapt it after the company, and simply transfer the content. That’s all! There’s no point in keeping the old website, the old code. You can choose any design and simply transfer the content.

Another question is for a website with complicated functionality. In that case, of course, you must save it by putting on it a new design and layout. The problem is that the new design (especially if changes are deep) can negatively affect the functionality of the website. Therefore, the more complicated the website and the stronger the changes, the more likely the programmers’ intervention is needed, and the more hours the testers must be allocated when planning a project.

4. Potential issues in SEO

This is another argument in favor of the fact that you have to think twice before making a redesign. A key change to the website may adversely affect the page’s position in the search results. Unsolved errors, unset redirects, unavailability of the website due to technical work, and many other factors affect the website’s position in the search results.

If the redesign is conducted correctly, then in time the positions will return and even improve, but if your business is built mainly on search traffic, you must be prepared for temporary sales decreases and include them in the assessment of the need for a redesign.

In the context, it may seem that we are discouraging you from changing the design. In fact, no. Periodical updating of the website’s design, functionality and structure helps to improve it, enhance user experience, increase SEO conversion and performance. But when deciding on a redesign, you have to understand what difficulties and risks the business will face.

If the design update goals are objective and well thought out, you should also consider developing a new website. In some cases, this will be more profitable and easier than trying to make a new design while preserving the old code. This is particularly advantageous when the website lacks complex functionality and the content can simply be duplicated on a new layout.

Of course, concrete recommendations can only be provided individually, reviewing the project. By the way, you can get a free consultation from our specialists, who will suggest what option it is best to choose in your case. For a consultation, just leave a request in the feedback form on our website.