Why, when and how to redesign your website (Part 2: The six legs of failure)

In the first part of this series, we’ve seen that design is about people. People come first, colors and your personal tastes may follow. A re-design becomes an insisting need when one or more of our three actors (coder, marketer and user) are not satisfied with something about the product.

In fact, the six-eyed beast have failed in his mission when one or two, or maybe all the six eyes are blind. In simpler words: it is when he misunderstand the need/abilities of the coder, or the marketer or the users that the design become irrelevant.

This leads us to the reasons why to redesign a website:

Users receive, users react

The user is not a donkey
When it comes to usability, nothing is better than statistics to show you how your website is being used. Nothing is better than logs to see how your visitors use your website.

Unclear navigation/structure

When you receive everyday dozens of emails from users asking questions that are answered in your FAQ page, you should ask yourself why don’t they check that FAQ, instead of just swearing at them and yelling that the user is fundamentally idiot!

Content design

You write a very good article, with examples, valuable information… etc. But when you look at your stats, you discover that your users don’t spend more than 10 seconds on this page. What’s the matter? Maybe your article is well written but… is boring!! (We all can miss this point, maybe this one you’re reading too!) This is why lists, illustrations, small sentences and phrases are generally advised.

copywriting and marketing needs

The marketing guy wants more money
Your website is nice and all, but it doesn’t generate the profit you were expecting? It doesn’t generate the interest it actually deserves. When a website fails in its marketing mission, it’s time to review its design, and content design because the way you present information, the way your headlines are written is very important!

Sell this! The users need it!

There’s thousands of ONEPAGE websites that make thousands and thousands dollars every month for their owners. They’re generally called “Squeeze pages”. They’re very elementary: One column, a header with a nice picture, a headline that catches the reader’s attention, followed by a well written sales letter with promises, proofs and a urge to buy or subscribe to a mailing list.
No great graphic skills required, no real programming, no technical voodoo but it works!

Tests are the business heart.

Every copywriter or marketer will tell you the same thing: Tests are the real mean to understand what a user needs, what catches his attention, what makes him buy. That’s why many companies run several ads for the same product and finally choose one or two to publish regularly. So from now on, when you see a stupid ad on TV that is displayed several times a day, don’t wonder anymore. If they advertise this way, that’s because they’re making more money this way! since they spend a lot of money in each advertising campaign.

Coder’s needs, coder’s joy.

Growth needs

The coder is not happy
When the website grows and needs more features —because the users asked for them or because the marketing guy wants to generate more profit, and even if everything is working fine, you may need to redesign a website, because integrating those new features requires changing the layouts, the style or the internal code that runs the website.

For the fun of it and creativity

Every web designer feels the need to redesign a website he made, because he’s so used to his site more than any other visitor, he starts to hate it. Even the great talented ones do it. Sometimes a redesign is a “sine qua non” condition for the coder to ignite new and better ideas.

That’s it for now! These were some reasons why people may need to redesign their websites, I hope you enjoyed them. So, tell me, Why would you redesign your website?

In the next post, we’ll see when to start a redesign, and when to make it public. Not any time is good for that, because you don’t rule the Internet 🙂 So stay tuned by RSS and see you in the 3rd part!

P.S. If you liked this article, please share it on del.icio.us or on Digg. I’d appreciate it. 🙂