How to start redesigning your website

We over the coming weeks we will be looking at:

  • analysis of the existing website
  • changes in technology
  • current and future trends  
  • design solution (including a flexible 12 column grid)
  • technical base
  • implementation
  • launch

To start with: analysis of existing website

This site is now several years old and whilst it still does a job it is looking in need of a refresh. Fortunately, the content management system (CMS) that we use makes it relatively straightforward to upgrade to the newest technology, without having to throw away all the existing content or have to retype it into then new system - we can simple reorder and repurpose it - saving days of our time. Obviously we will be having a serious edit, but this saving is a significant one.

Technology

In particular, the rise of the mobile device. Recent months have seen significant rise in websites being accessed by mobile devices such as smartphones and iPads. Whilst our site works of a sort on mobiles, the full experience is not there and we need to take advantage of new ways of reformatting websites to be responsive to the device on which they are being viewed on - making life for the site’s visitor easier.

Designing a responsive website is not a simple add-on, so this alone means that a revisit of the site’s styling is called for to take maximum advantage of the technology. With over a third of visits to websites in the UK now being made from mobiles, this is now a crucial part of every new site design or redesign.

Changing markets

Since our last redesign several years ago we have made inroads into the education sector and we would like to make this more visible. Whilst we could do this with our existing site we decided to completely reorganise the way we present ourselves. In our new site, we’ll demonstrate how we have helped our clients which can then be used to showcase our services, rather than present these as discrete offerings.

Changing fashion

One of the pitfalls of being web designers is the need to be seen to be on the cutting edge - this has disadvantages when the design trend you are following leads you up a blind alley! There are a couple of areas of the site where this is obvious.

  1. Drop-down menus. These are quite clunky now but at the time represented some of the first fully accessible drop-down menus able to be used by people with visual impairments - and we were pretty proud of it. We also added some icons in here - and these are looking a bit tired.
  2. Footer. In retrospect we tried to cram too much information into the footer. Our new design will contain nearly as much information but in a much more rationalised way.

volute extg 1

drop-downs and icons looking a bit tired

Volute extg 3

Over-complex footer design

In the next design blog we’ll look at how we take these design approaches and visualise our new design.

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