“Human beings, by change renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise they harden.” And, there is no doubt to it. They try and find something or the other to refresh themselves.
Once someone said, “Art is the river that runs through my life. I drink from it as often as I can do it to refresh myself.” Similar is the case with the redesigning of the website. Most of the designers love to jump if they get a chance to reconsider and redesign their work. But who says that redesigning is not a daunting task? Why is it not something like churning a magic wand?
“Visualisation is a very different process from seeing; seeing is physical, and is therefore, related to the objective world, the “world without,” but visualisation is a product of the imagination, and is therefore a product of the subjective mind, the “world within”. It, therefore, possesses vitality; it will grow.
The thing visualised will manifest itself in form.
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Do you know this fact that designers tend to redesign websites as a part of their portfolio, when they have spare time on hands that ought to help them gain their personal growth or the market exposure? More or less, they get to work on their own websites designed for the clients.
And, redesigning is a science. Why? Because it involves strategically planning to carry forward one’s decision to redesign a website. Most of the times what happen is that the designers fall into a pit of confusion if they don’t have any sure shot strategy. What is they sure about is that they are not satisfied with their design.
Winston Churchill once said, “Let our advance worrying becomes advance thinking and planning.” So, redesigning revolves all around this fact. Plans are nothing, but planning is everything.
Have you ever wondered when a website ought to be redesigned? Its not a compulsion or a force to redesign after a given point of time. You make the decision and then, you start working on it without a real purpose.
“It does not matter which side of the fence you get off on sometimes. What matters the most is getting off…”
We, ought to be careful because redesigning a website can have its effects.
“Good Art looks new because the artist has recombined something old to make something better.”
If you are doing it without a purpose,
Here, we are not to tell you what is right and what is wrong? Its an open ended blogpost that covers almost all the points to what is all about redesigning and the steps to carry forward this step.
The next step would be choosing the right time to initiate what you have in mind. Now that you know beforehand that redesigning is not that easy, what it seems. Its actually a project, more like a task that you need to schedule your work on. Rather than just taking it as a chore or a normal addition to your routine work would bear you no fruits.
In your already scheduled routine, if you think you can give a considerable amount of time to your redesigning project, then, it is substantial.
Just keep in mind all your pre-defined commitments. Lets say, for instance, if you are in the middle of an important project for a client, and you decide a redesign as well, you are in trouble my friend.
There is no denying to the fact that time is the biggest constraint these days, and scheduling the time becomes really brain-storming. This is a very crucial step that you ought to keep in mind before taking any decision. This is what a great and a wise web designer would do.
Now comes the question how to start upon.
It has been rightly said that “strategic planning is worthless unless there is a strategic vision.” without a full proof plan, you would be a fool to start upon. It may happen that you start off with the idea of redesigning the whole website and then, because of the scarcity of the exact idea in mind, we end up turning our design a disaster.
It would actually turn into an off-the-rack solution, like the ‘bargain basement dresses’ that never quite actually fit. This is the reason we put an idea of visualisation right at the beginning and left it open-ended.
Okay, now lets begin the journey to what all would constitute in your planning towards a redesign.
No matter how well your design craves for a redesigned navigation system, visual imagery, and the overall design of the website, still content wins the race. Words have their own sense of power to persuade people towards something. And, the typography, in addition makes your website come alive.
Edward Johnston has rightly said that, “This is then the scribe’s direct purpose: the making of useful things legibly beautiful.”
Redesign would all involve the estimate of the amount of the content’s usability, readability and the detailed typography that ought to be incorporated in the design. It would be more than useful for you to completely analyse and assess the state of the content. And, if you follow in the following points in mind, we guess you would surely be on the right path ;
Readability: The level of the contrast how easy it is to be able to read and understand the content becomes the stepping stone towards the process.
Alignment: The alignment, baseline, line height, width of the area of the content that it follows all include the list. Because the presentation and placing of the content is important as well.
Typography: “Type design is a cultural act, not just a few lines of data in the corner of the hard disk.” To maintain the feel of the rhythm that typography follows is very crucial step and it need to be taken in consideration. Measure, Leading, hanging quotes, vertical rhythm, widows and orphans , emphasis, scale and clean rags are the few elements that ought to be considered while designing.
As always mentioned, feedback is the one communication level that ought to create that one genuine response. Never compromise on the content and the way its presented. First, get a hang on the content of your website, and then, move to the actual redesigning.
This point would be somewhat more than complex to cover, because each and every website has its own requirements. It may happen that your website needs a customisation, lets say, enhanced user-interactivity, a call-to-action button, a better contact form, or may be something else. We ought to customise each link and feature thoroughly so that no point is left.
Ultimately, what is needed is the support from your visitors’ end and what they actually want. Carry out polls, surveys, and feedback to be able to know what is going on. After all, it is all about the traffic you bait on your site.
“Men can’t discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight off the ocean.”
You need to rethink and reconsider all the aspects with a new vision that incorporates all the new demands and requirements by the visitor.
In this cut-throat competition, it becomes really important that you have a full detailed research of your competitors. Its not new that you that you have someone or the other in the same line of business, you need to go for an in-depth study for the same to be able to get hold of what you tend to do while redesigning the website.
As a human being, we, everyday feel the need to change something or the other about the website. Everyday, we are loaded with ample of changes that we like to incorporate within our designs.
“The larger is the island of your creativity, the longer is the shoreline of wonder.”
Back up your redesigning your plan, with a purpose. There is actually no doubt that most of the creative people would also agree that creative juices that lubricate and facilitate the flow of unique and effective ideas sometimes dries up, and then, you need to refill and ferment them again before they are ready for public consumption.
A redesign can actually vary from a minor facelift to an entire surgery. The steps to the planning may vary, but the overall idea remains the same. What is in fact needed is to keep in mind that it cannot be taken just as a minor project, but involves a deep strategical planning as mentioned above keeping all the factors in mind.
What after the Planning…? Is there Something More than just Redesigning…?
As the current design has been thoroughly analysed, what awaits more…?
“Planning without action is futile, and action without planning is fatal.”
And, every planning that is not accompanied by action is a waste. So, after all that you have planned, and analysed about the current website, its time to follow in certain steps that would help our designers to carry forward in the right direction, with a right strategy.
Here are the steps—
What is the most important for a company? What includes the pictorial representation of a company. There are a certain characteristics that mark the brand of a company. The logo, the style, the tagline, the general message— all constitutes the brand on a whole.
The question that arises is that do you really need to redesign the brand on a whole? There is no denying to the fact that a company spends years in making a brand and reaching out to the people worldwide. People tend to recognise a company from its logo, the colour. There are n number of brands that tend to be recognised by the looks, if we put it in layman’s terms.
“An image … is not simply a trademark, a design, a slogan or an easily remembered picture. It is a studiously crafted personality profile of an individual, institution, corporation, product or service.” –Daniel Boorstin
I guess you got the answer.
Then, comes the tagline or the slogan that your website carries. Just keep in mind that each and every company has its own style, colour combinations and;
“The talent for discovering the unique and marketable characteristics of a product and service is a designer’s most valuable asset.” –Primo Angeli
And, you just need to keep in mind what all constitutes the company’s image and then, take a step ahead.
Wireframing is again a visual representation of the architecture of the site’s architecture— content, hierarchy and the layout. Actually, this is the most crucial step that every designer needs to keep in mind while starting on to any kind of project into design.
Alignment, balance and visual hierarchy are great ways to balance on to each and every step that involves in redesigning a website.
Omnigraffle, Visio, Protoshare, Jumpchart, Axure, OverSite, Pencil, and amany other such tools that help you create effective wireframes.
They actually ensure planning, ensures that the design has been well-briefed and all the inputs have been taken into consideration. Wireframing also ensures a more focused approach on the functionality of the website.
They ensure the business understands well the interface, and helps in the project flow.
This is actually quite a crucial step that you tend not to ignore at any point of time, even if you redesign the website. Make use of the link checks, double link checkers, or may be you can check them manually.
It may be a possibility that you overlook some of the niche details, and it would actually create a bad rapport if he/she have had been a regular customer/ or a regular visitor of your site.
And, after all this, I mean, discussing the planning and the call-to-action stages, this is actually the time to aware you people of the recent split between the “Redesigners and the Realigners.”
Redesigning just for the sake of the design, and actually purpose-driven, as they say. Rather being an everyday part of the life, just only to make it more efficiently.
Remember, “we are not creatures of circumstance; we are creators of circumstance.”
When realigning gives you the liberty to give more than something just a redesign, isn’t it better? “Architecture is an art when one consciously or unconsciously creates aesthetic emotion in the atmosphere and when this environment produces well being.”
And, this is what realignment constitutes of. Its all aesthetic-driven. “And then you start getting into the technical side of it and the aesthetic side and with those areas you can come up with new ways to visualise things, new ways to render and use the computer to make things look different and new and stuff like that.”
Depending upon the user experience and usability, realignment is all about addressing the structure and functionality issues, in addition to the general design issues.
The question now arises that realigning somewhat equates to redesigning, then, why are we stressing on to this concept?
The main focus of realigning is actually its in-depth discovery phase, to be able to explore rather than just merely hanging on to the purpose driven angle of the site.
Realignments are done based on the hard data about what all works on the current site and what doesn’t.
“Don’t get me wrong—I too have played the role of typical Redesigner at times. We’re all entitled to throw caution to the wind and redesign as a means of staying on top of one’s game (e.g. redesign contests and portfolio sites). And besides, we can’t bear the full brunt of the blame—we’re creatives first, strategists (and info architects and project managers and coders and everything else under the sun) second. But I worry persistent redesigning with little cause often serves to promote only proprietary creativity, doing much to educate one in the hows of redesigning but little in the whys of realigning,” writes Cameron Moll, a freelance new media designer.
This does not mean that you need to dive into the pool of realignment just like that; it becomes really important to ensure the reason, the objective if you gonna opt for realignment because it is actually complex to provide a complete renewal to your website, something of a new life. Not just making it alive in terms of functionality, but something to which you can relate to.
While writing this article, it’s always a possibility that we missed some other great information or resources about website redesigning. Feel free to share it with us.