What to Avoid in Website Redesigns

By Patrice Meadows — Thursday, November 9th, 2017 at 11:00am

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Websites are essential elements of any company’s digital presence. Every so often, teams rework site design, function, and content to provide better experiences for visitors.

If you’ve ever helped redesign a website, you know how hard it can be to get it right. Teams must determine how to use limited budgets to satisfy competing objectives and create a positive user experience. To help you get a head start on the process, we’ve compiled this top 10 list of things to avoid during site redesigns.

Top 10 Things to Avoid in Site Redesigns

    1. No Strategy: Establishing performance objectives and corresponding KPIs for your new site is a critical first step for any redesign project. Work with contributors, administrators, and other stakeholders to decide what you want the site to do, who it’s going to serve, and how to measure success.
    2. Too Much Tech: There are tons of platforms that help organizations improve sites. Some tools help analyze user activity while others enable new features that make sites more interactive. Using several tools can be tempting, so exercise caution. Too many overlapping tools can overcomplicate sites, making for slow load times, errors, and poor mobile responsivity.
    3. Autoplay: Rich media like audio and video elements can be appropriate additions to any site when used correctly. In most cases, this doesn’t involve the use of autoplay. Autoplay can make for jarring user experiences and negatively impact users with disabilities who are unable to fully enjoy multimedia or have trouble disabling the autoplay feature. 
    4. Non-Responsive Design: Failing to consider how your site will function on mobile is a major misstep. In 2016, 51.3% of global Internet traffic stemmed from mobile devices. Since then, Google announced its transition to mobile-first indexing. This change rewards sites that offer mobile versions with higher rankings on Search Engine Result Pages. Your organization is seriously missing out if it’s not accounting for mobile. 
    5. Slow Page Load: Adding too many systems and features can overcomplicate your site and slow down page load times for end users. Optimizing your site for quicker page loads, can increase conversions, improve experiences, and attract new users. There are several ways to test page load times and to improve it. One thing to consider is incorporating a content delivery network (CDN) to ensure users access content from servers near them. Read this piece to learn more about CDNs and how Cascade CMS integrates with Amazon’s Simple Storage Service and CloudFront.
    6. Preemptive Pop-Ups: There’s no harm in presenting offers to site visitors, but indiscriminately pushing them to sign up for any and everything can be a huge turn-off. Give visitors time to peruse your site before bombarding them with offers. Waiting just a few moments can give you the time and data you need to present more relevant offers that increase conversion rates
    7. Excessive Animation: We all love gifs, but too many animated gifs can negatively impact your site. Too much animation can make your site seem hurried and distracting, which may force users to go elsewhere. Choose animation wisely and limit how often animated elements appear together.
    8. Too Many Calls-to-Action: Several calls-to-action can lead to inaction from visitors. You may think that you’re offering them variety, but in some cases, you’re simply overwhelming them. Streamline your CTAs so visitors can quickly gauge what should happen next. Choose 1 to 2 desired actions and communicate them clearly.  
    9. Poor Design Choices: So much can go wrong with the look and feel of your site. Inappropriate color choices, hard-to-read fonts, low-quality images, and poor organization can completely obscure even the best site content. Work with designers that have a proven record for high-quality sites. Be sure that they are familiar with best practices in UX and accessibility before entrusting them with your design.  
    10. Technical Jargon: Visitors should easily understand the information on your site.That is why it is important to avoid using technical jargon in site content. Even the most complex businesses can simplify content to boost engagement.Reserve detailed technical discussions for other types of communication Offer visitors brief overviews and encourage them to attend webinars or request calls for more detailed information.

What are some of the pitfalls you avoided in your latest site redesign? Share your stories below or tweet us @hannon_hill.

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