I finally got around to redesigning the DavyMedia website. It took me much longer than expected and after a couple of redesigns I eventually decided to stop wasting my time and settle on something. It was a project I had hoped to complete in my spare time but since the demise of my macbook pro I’ve had to do much of the work in the office.
As many designers may tell you, or maybe it’s just me, but redesigning your own website can be difficult because it’s hard to settle on one design. After spending hours staring at a design it’s hard not to change your mind, forgetting that visitors to the website will only be spending a few minutes on it.
So after completing this project I decided to write an article for those of you considering a redesign of your website. Here are a few details to think about before entering into the process.
The most important aspect of any website is the content, and design can really help how this content is portrayed. Content, after all, is what the visitor is looking for and through readability, imagery and typography it can be displayed even better.
With regards to readability, contrast is the most important factor in whether it is easily read or not. This may seem obvious but a good contrast will make text easier to read and will allow visitors to your website to quickly scan through your content and improve the readability. On the other hand, poor contrast will force the user to squint and they will soon become uninterested and leave your website in search of information elsewhere.
Other factors to consider are line heights, the space between individual lines of text, letter spacing and line length. A good line length will allow the reader’s eyes to flow from the end of one line to the beginning of the next very easily and naturally.
Web typography has come along way over the last few years, no longer are designers restricted to a small few web safe fonts with the introduction of Google fonts and other web based application. Now designers are free to choose from hundreds of different fonts but it is important not to get carried away and maybe just stick to styling headers.
A redesign can really help your Google page rank. It can give you the chance to add in all those extra details you missed last time around like more accurate page titles and meta tag descriptions. Another few sections you could improve on might be: optimising your use of images, using heading tags appropriately, improve your navigation and make effective use of robots.txt file.
Review your competitors websites but don’t copy. Take note of there strengths and weaknesses, this can be a great way to build your own website. What features do your competitors use? What is there content like? What information do they highlight or draw particular attention to.
Create a list of your competitors and take proper notes, this will help you create your own design style, alert you of what to avoid and areas to improve.
4. Updating your Brand
When redesigning your website it is also a good opportunity to update and modernise your brand. After researching your redesign you might also want to take a look at your logo and colour scheme. An important thing to remember at this stage is not to over do it. Even updating a brand too much can do more harm than good. You’ll want to keep much of the brand the same (i.e. the general style and logo). Here are a few pointers you may want to think about.
The logo should stay more or less the same, but could it use a glossy makeover? If it was made years ago, technology and trends have changed, so while it should remain recognizable, it might benefit from a more polished, modern look.
Colours play a big role in any brand. You may want to cut down on or increase the colours, but your specific colours should stay the same. Perhaps you could introduce a complementary colour. Colour has such a big influence on mood and perception of a brand and the redesign should reflect your style and message.
If you decide that your website is in need of a redesign, then you need to follow certain steps to ensure successful results. Without preparation and analysis, most designers wouldn’t be able redesign their website effectively. It takes more than a great designer; it takes determination and organisation. With these two characteristics, anyone can carry out the perfect redesign, but remember “its all about what the visitor is looking for”.