In this three-part series, we will look at the pros and cons of three common approaches to website redesign.
Traditional Website Design
Here’s a typical flow for a traditional website redesign:
This, or some variant of this methodology, is the way most quality websites have been built for the last 20 years.
Depending on the size and complexity of the site and if there is a branding component, this method typically takes 4-18 months. This is an especially thoughtful process that works well for sites that need to be polished at launch.
Step 1: Discovery, Planning and Research
Step 2: Strategy
Step 3: Information Architecture—UX/UI (user experience/user interface—done in parallel)
Step 4: Design Concepts / Content Strategy (in parallel)
Step 5: Design Refinement / Content Production (in parallel)
Step 6: Website Production
Step 7: Review, Refine (until approved) → then Launch
The Pros and Cons of this Approach
- Comprehensive approach
- Allows for many points along the way to build internal support and consensus
- Works well if a site has to be "perfect" out of the gate
- Works well when a complete rebranding or overhaul of all / most content is required
- Can be a good catalyst for large-scale change
- Takes a long time
- Requires a high level of concentrated resources (typically both time and money)
- Often ego-driven vs data driven
- Because of the long runway, there is often a lot riding on the project’s success (sometimes people’s jobs)
- Since it "has to be perfect" out of the gate, there are sometimes delays over content
- On occasion, the original premises are outdated by the time the site launches. This can extend to all aspects: technology, content, design, marketplace, competition, etc. The biggest downside of this approach is that it’s a really big project. If all the moving parts work well together, it can be great and can completely transform a website—and sometimes a company. If things go badly, it can cost a lot of money and the end product may or may not be what is ultimately needed. We’ve also seen personnel changes derail a large-scale project since these are typically driven by one voice within a company. Additionally, because they are all-consuming, after launch, most companies do not want to think about major changes for several years, which can put a company at a disadvantage if their competition is continuously innovating.
To Sum It Up
Traditional Website Design works well for established businesses that are risk-averse, cannot launch with a less than perfect site, are not pressed for time and might potentially be going through a rebranding. The process is very methodical and allows for stakeholders to have multiple points of consensus along the way. It’s a very deliberate and conservative approach to building websites.
Traditional Website Design is the first of a three-part series. Next up: Part 2: Growth-Driven Design (out on August 29) | Part 3: The Growth-Driven Hybrid (out on September 5)
Have additional questions? Contact us. No pressure - we’re happy to help!
~Your Friendly Animus Rex Team