Redesign or Realign Your Website?
I recently finished a project for Misosouper where, rather than redesigning, I focused on realigning the website to better meet the changing needs and goals of the client. Now this idea of realigning as opposed to redesigning is not new. Cameron Moll’s classic article on A List Apart, Good Designers Redesign, Great Designers Realign, brought this idea to the forefront in 2005. For me, the best line in that article reads as follows:
“The desire to redesign is aesthetic-driven, while the desire to realign is purpose-driven.”
That distinction is critical, particularly in today’s environment where websites are goal based and focused on a return on investment. The purpose-driven realignment logically is more in line with these needs.
Realign requirement: A solid foundation to build from
I will say that not every website will benefit from realigning as opposed to redesigning. In the case of Misosouper, I worked with the client for well over a year establishing her initial design and website structure. The foundation that we put in place at that time had an eye to the future. The design elements were well chosen and professional, technically the website was well coded and the platform the website ran on (WordPress) met both the current and potential future requirements. All of these items made the website well suited for realigning rather than redesigning.
Realign to adapt quickly and save money
The tiniest details will often make the most difference. Moving a button on the page or changing its color. Adding a prominent link at the top of the page to highlight a new service you offer. You’d be shocked what a difference little things can make. With a redesign you end up investing far more time and money to achieve a new aesthetic (often to meet the same goals a realign can achieve). Realigns are far less expensive, are much quicker to implement, and allow you to easily see (using website analytics) how these smaller changes affect the website. In brief, it allows your website to adapt quickly to changes and save money.
Realigning with success
In this realign of Misosouper, a new advertising structure was implemented, the RSS feed link was made prominent to increase subscribers and a link to the Misosouper Twitter page was added to increase social media traffic. Other cosmetic and layout issues were addressed during the realign as well. All of these changes were geared towards meeting the changing needs of the client and to further refine the website as a whole. And, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that since this realign went live Misosouper reports a large spike in website traffic.
What option is best for me?
The answer to this question will vary from website to website but in general, if you have an older website (more than three years old) chances are a redesign is in order. How websites are built has changed very quickly and you will want to work on your foundation first. However, if you have a newer, forward thinking website, a realign may serve you best. As you have seen with my client, Misosouper, realigning helps you to quickly meet your shifting goals, gives you a new look without monumental changes and allows you to easily track the results using your existing website analytics data.