Your website might need a redesign for several reasons. Maybe you are still rocking the website that a freelancer had created for you on a short notice when you had just launched your business. Maybe you are noticing a change in website design trends, and you feel that your website looks outdated. Whatever the case, a website should continue to go through changes for it to look fresh to its users. If you are considering a new design for your websites, here are the most important steps involved in the process.
Steps for Website Redesign
Ensuring that a Redesign Is Inevitable
First and foremost, you have to be sure that your website needs a redesign. Don’t do it unnecessarily because that will be just an expense with no benefits. Furthermore, when you don’t have any good reasons and defined goals to redesign the website, the final result is not all that pleasing. Spend time gathering reasons to get a website redesign. Your reasons to redesign the website will automatically define your goals.
Approving the Website Wireframe
The first step to redesign a website is wireframing. A wireframe of your website is like a floor plan of a house. Website designers can use various software tools to wireframe a website design. In its simplest form, a wireframe is a skeletal representation of the website on a piece of paper. The wireframe of your website mainly defines it functionality and the layout of various elements. It does not deal with the graphics. For instance, it will show you where a certain button on the website will be located but not what the color of the button will be.
Your website designers will create a bare bone representation of the website based on the requirements you give them. You will then look at the illustration and ask to make any changes before the developers move to the next phase of development. Once you point out any changes, the developers will make those changes, get the approval from you and move on to the next step.
Approving the Website Mockup/Prototype
The next step of redesigning a website is to create its mockup or prototype. Some website designers do mockups, some will do prototypes and some do both. On the surface, prototypes and mockups may seem like the same thing but they are not. Mockups are medium-fidelity whereas prototypes are high-fidelity depictions of your website. Fill your website’s wireframe with colors and logos, and you could call it a mockup. On the other hand, prototype is much like your website with only difference being full-on functionality of the various elements.
Website developers need approval from you at this stage too. They will show you the mockup of the website so you can tell if their suggested graphics elements are okay. If you require any changes, they will revise the mockup and bring the design back to you for approval. This is a crucial stage because once you give a go-ahead at this point; the developers will enter the final development phase of the website.
Seeing Thoughts Turn into Reality
Up until this point, the various types of representations e.g. mockups, wireframes, prototypes, etc. were only an estimate of what your website will look like. The final development stage is the implementation of all the changes and modifications you have approved during the redesign process. At this stage, it is more about testing the website for its functionality then to worry about its graphics.
The front-end design will be exactly like the prototype or mockup that you approved. However, you will now have access to the functionality of the website as well. You can be a part of the development process, visit the website often, try navigating thoroughly on all the web pages and report any errors or bugs that you come across.
In the end, you will have to realize that the finished website can be only as good as you were clear with your requirements. It is advisable to make visitor’s perspective the center of your website redesign process. Website analytics tools such as Google Analytics are your best friends to gather information about what your visitors like or do not like. Be patient during the redesign process and keep giving your feedback positively. Don’t be over-controlling because that can restrict developers from being creative.