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Why You Should Stop Redesigning

I've specialized in website redesigns for much of my consulting career. And so it hurts me to say this, even if it is true: Redesigns are usually expensive, complicated, time-consuming - and often unsuccessful. 

Why do they under-deliver so often? There are many reasons but the main ones include:


Websites Are Complicated

Even a large team has a difficult time keeping track of all the elements of a website.

Over-emphasis on Visual Changes

Many stakeholders think of visual changes when they think redesign - but that's just one portion of the website. If you don't plan for integrating other changes, user experience can suffer.

Leaving Out Stakeholders

Most redesigns are driven by an individual or small group. For a large project, it's hard to include all stakeholders. But leaving them out has consequences. 

Long Time Frames in a Fast Paced World

Redesigns can take 6-9 months or longer. By then, the entire internet has changed. 

Little User Research

Even if you do user research, you can only get so much feedback.

Even Less Testing

Most redesign elements are never tested to see if they function properly, if they are usable, if they make visitors happy. And sometimes those changes can have big impacts - Diigo lost 25% of its traffic after a redesign.

People Don't Like Change

Big changes all at once are difficult for visitors to process. And that can make them frustrated and more likely to abandon your website.

What Are the Alternatives to a Redesign?

Instead of one massive redesign project, apply techniques that change your website iteratively. 

Start by evaluating what changes are needed. Then group those into the most requested, most valuable and most doable. Create sets of changes based on your specific priorities and capacity limits. Confirm those updates with stakeholders and verify with user research. Then make the planned updates - and publish a new iteration of your website. Because you are rolling out only a set of changes, you'll find it easier to test the updates fully and your users will be able to adjust to changes more slowly.

This approach is:

  • Simpler and more manageable
  • Includes visual facelifts & responsive design - but also addresses other site elements
  • Brings in the right stakeholders for each iteration of the site
  • Allows for a faster time frame
  • Involves manageable user research
  • And manageable site and AB testing
  • Rolls out changes incrementally so users only have to adjust to a few things at once

Learn more at Web Mavens on May 10th 

Join Bye Bye Redesign, Hello Iterative Enhancement at General Assembly on May 10th at 6:30pm. It will be an evening full of networking, presentation, and Q&A. Bring your best questions for Brightfind's CEO, Frank Klassen, and Tim Maxey, Senior Director of IT at Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO.)  

Register with promo code "BFFREE" to receive a free ticket. *Limit 15; otherwise use promo "Brightfind" for a $5 discount. 

Hope to see you there!

- Jasmine Sante
  Founder and Organizer of Web Content Mavens
  Consultant at Sante Strategies