notes on interaction design

February 08, 2012

7 Signs that It’s Time for a Redesign

Just like Samsung touting the outmoded stylus during their Super Bowl commercial, having an outdated website can make you look out of touch with your user base. It’s a good idea to redesign your website every 2 to 3 years to make sure you’re following current best practices and taking advantage of the current plugins and widgets.

If you’re not sure that your website needs a redesign, here are some signs that should point you in the right direction:

 

1. Your website layout is optimized for 800 x 600 or smaller.

While it’s important to keep in mind that users will be accessing your website on tablets and mobile phones, nowadays users view websites from larger monitors. According to StatCounter, most people are accessing the web from browsers at 1024 x 768 and above. Extending the width of your website to support 1024 x 768 can do a lot in terms of giving your content more breathing room.

StatCounter Graph showing screen resolutions

 

2. Using text in graphics

Once upon a time, we created buttons and promos as straight GIFs or JPEGs where the text was part of the graphic. Aside from negatively impacting your SEO, having text in graphics does not allow users to easily search the text within a page or select text to copy from a page. Using HTML and CSS, it’s rather easy and straightforward to create buttons and promos that have graphical components, text as HTML, and styling components for encasing the buttons or promos.

 

3. Location map is a graphic with written directions

It’s no longer necessary to write out directions to your location from various points.   There are various map plugins that allow users to get specific directions from their location to yours. Let Google Maps, MapQuest, or Bing do the work for you.

Google Map of Busse Design Locations

4. Clicking tabs within a page causes a full page refresh.

Nothing creates a more jarring experience than when a click of a tab refreshes the entire page. People expect that only the content that appears within the tab would change and everything outside of it should stay the same (and not refresh).

You can create this experience using jQuery widgets, or modules specific to your content management system (CMS).

 

5. Using tables to control page layout rather than to present data.

While many users will not notice how the page is coded, this older form of controlling page layout impedes folks who rely on screen readers to navigate the web. Use CSS to lay out of the page and keep content separate from the presentation.

 

6. You have no social media tie-ins to your website.

While it’s not entirely clear how to measure social media’s impact on your business, providing tie-ins to your Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn accounts from the site will give your users another way to experience your company. You can show your recent Tweets and Facebook posts on your site, provide links to your social media accounts, and allow users to share parts of your site on these networks.

Social Media Tie-in

 

7. You don’t have a content management system.

A CMS makes it easy for non-technical folks to make updates to text and images without IT’s support. It will increase the likelihood that you will keep your site updated with fresh and engaging content. Not having a CMS is enough of a reason to redesign your website (or at least port over your current site into a CMS).

 

Your website is the face of your business, so you want to be sure that it is up to date. A out of date website can give the impression that your business is out of touch. And we practice what we preach: We’re in the midst of redesigning the Busse Design website.

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