Making a Website Redesign Less Painful for Your Users
There come times in the life-cycle of any website that it could really benefit from a design update. After all, could you even imagine how dated Facebook would look today if it was still making use of its original design?
However, perhaps more than anyone else, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg could tell you how painful the process of implementing a new website design can be. Not in terms of finding the right designer, or even fitting it into the budget, but in terms of a backlash from established users.
Every time Facebook implements a design change a decent percentage of users howl (loudly) about how much they hate it. Then sometime later, when another change is made, they cry that they miss the old design that they once loathed.
But times change. Web technologies change. For example, as mobile users continue to be a number one priority to Google and other search engines it’s crucial that any website be as mobile friendly as possible. And, if you haven’t updated your site in the last three or four years it really probably isn’t. But is a change to please search engines really the right move?
All of this may seem to small business website owner that updating the design of their website is just too risky if it is going to anger users. However, it can be done, if you go about it in a thoughtful, and maybe even slightly sneaky way.
Take Things Slowly
Years ago, eBay decided to change the background color of their site from yellow to white. When they did, the backlash was so severe that they changed it right back the next day. But then they got crafty.
Over the next several months eBay’s web design team slowly altered the background color gradient so that every day the yellow became a little lighter – and whiter – but just a little bit at a time. Eventually the yellow was gone, once more replaced by the white that they had wanted all along. And this time no one commented, or even really noticed.
It takes patience to change a website in such a slow and subtle manner, but if you are making a big change to a well established site then slow and steady really may be the way to go.
If someone is renovating a fixer upper home they usually do so room by room. This tactic can also be applied to a website that will eventually be getting a whole new look.
Taking the redesign in steps – for example, first the checkout, then then product pages, then the blog and then finally the homepage, is another great way to ease users into change gradually which companies like Etsy have used with great success.
Ask for User Input
OK, so you really, really think your website needs a design overhaul. But do your users agree? The simplest way to find out is to ask them. This can be achieved as simply as using a social media and/or email survey to discover what users like, and dislike, about your website’s design to actually presenting them with a mock up of your proposed changes and then asking for honest opinions.
The advantages of this method are twofold. Companies who do this often find that they discover all kinds of things about the appeal – or lack of – of various features of their website’s design that they had never thought of before. Then there is the added bonus that users feel flattered that their opinions have been sought out before a change is made, increasing their engagement, something that any marketer can tell you is practically priceless.Koehler Home Decor is a wholesaler of home decor accessories and unique gifts. Source quality wholesale merchandise at KoehlerHomeDecor.com and find tips for promoting your business on our blog.