As User Experience and data have become more prominent players in web design, and as brands have established the finer nuances of their online identities, “redesigning” websites has lost its priority as a digital to-do.
What has become increasingly important is the concept of “realignment” — smaller, continuous visual or U/X improvements intended to optimize a site against data, user feedback, business goals and evolving technologies. This isn’t to say some brands don’t need a full overhaul or redesign. There are many brands who have an unclear digital identity, who are in need of a visual redesign — even in terms of content, strategy and U/X.
My assertion isn’t that redesign is dead. Redesigns are alive and well. It’s that realignment is often the more intelligent and needed approach. The scalpel vs. the machete if you will. And while media shareholders and PR teams tend to buy into the feeding frenzy the buzz of a newly, mass-overhauled site creates, the returns are short-lived.
Ben Franklin said, “Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.”
He obviously wasn’t speaking to digital, but his words ring true to this case. Realignment encourages continual progress. And through that continual progress, success, achievement and improvement are attained. The design process then becomes ongoing. As conversion rates drop, new business objectives are introduced, technology becomes outdated or user feedback and analytics suggest opportunities, a nimble realignment process allows for a brand to address problems immediately, while optimizing conversions, sales or business objectives on the site.
As the web and technologies evolve rapidly, realignment should be embraced by companies as they seek a more nimble design process. While I encourage all companies to embrace realignment, redesigns still have their place.
To get you started, here’s a fun tool to spark some questions about what your site might need. Start in the center and see if design, U/X, your CMS or measurement is driving a need for a redesign…or realignment.