Website Redesign: Why Do You Need It?
What is a website redesign?
Every website is a collection of three main components:
- Graphic design,
- Active functionalities, and
And while in most cases the content of the website changes relatively regularly – new information, new products, promotions, and news are added sometimes daily, the graphic layout and functionalities of the site usually remain unchanged for years.
And is that good or bad, you ask? Good question with an ambiguous answer!
On the one hand, the unchanged graphic layout of the site plays a positive role. The appearance of the site is also its “business card” and identification of the company-owner itself. People who regularly visit this site somewhat get used to its design and begin to feel “at home” in it. This, of course, can only have a positive effect.
On the other hand, however, both computer and Internet technologies are evolving and developing at breakneck speed.
In just a few years, both the hardware that users use and the technical skills that are used in building websites are replaced by entire generations! A site built only two or three years ago looks outdated and does not work well with the new versions of browsers and devices that users use.
Here it is important to emphasize the explosive development of mobile technologies.
Today, more than 70% of visits are made through mobile phones and tablets, and the visualization of sites through such devices has its specifics, which must be taken into account when building any site.
This could not have been considered on sites built five, six, or more years ago.
Therefore, it is extremely important for the successful operation of any website that at least once every three to a maximum of five years it undergoes a redesign – reworking of the general graphic layout, program code, and functionalities.
What exactly requires a website redesign?
As we already said above, Internet technology is developing at breakneck speed these days, and here’s what we mean:
About a dozen years ago, the most common operating system was Windows XP, which was installed by default with a screen resolution of 800 x 600 pixels. Most people did not change these default settings, and the majority of Internet site visitors were exactly at this screen resolution – 800 x 600 pixels. That’s why most sites built in those times were optimized for this resolution
Nowadays, Windows XP has long been out of use and is not used, and whole generations of new operating systems have appeared – Windows 7 and 8 and the most common today – Windows 10.
Windows 7 was already installed with a standard resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels, and Windows 10 automatically determines the best resolution of the monitor, and on modern monitors, it is usually installed with a much higher resolution, characteristic of high-resolution screens ( HD) 1920 x 1080 pixels or even higher.
That is why websites built ten years ago that are not responsive and are optimized for a resolution of 800 x 600 pixels, viewed with modern operating systems and on modern monitors, look small and bland, their texts are difficult to read on modern monitors, and some of their functionalities simply do not work, because they are no longer supported by modern browsers.
A typical example of this is the Macromedia technology called Flash, which ten years ago was “on the cutting edge” of building sites, and today it is not only forgotten and unsupported by browsers but even deprecated.
Internet technologies, browsers, and Google
The development of the technologies that are used to build websites is also a serious factor that, apart from the purely aesthetic impact, also has a huge commercial effect on each site.
Years ago, the most common “method” for website design was the so-called “HTML tables”. In this method, the graphic and text blocks that make up the sites were software-defined like cells in a large table. This has been the way all sites have been built since the dawn of the modern Internet – the early 1990s – and continued until almost the end of the first decade of the 21st century.
Since 1998, however, Internet circles have begun to talk about “semantic coding”, the exclusive use of style sets (CSS), and the complete separation of content from design. In order not to get into complicated technical descriptions, we will say that here things depended on the code related to the visual layout of the content is completely separated from the content itself – the text in the pages. In this way, search engines (and especially Google) “crawled” the sites much more efficiently and ranked them much more precisely in the search results.
Although this semantic coding and the intensive use of CSS standards were discussed as early as 1998, it entered the construction of sites en masse only after 2006 – 2008, along with the development of better support for these technologies in most modern browsers.
Currently, virtually all new sites are built solely with these technologies, and they are considered the only acceptable standards in the web space. In addition to better ranking in searches, these technologies also allowed the site to load significantly faster, which also had a positive effect on its performance.
A huge boost in the development of Internet technologies was also given by the increasingly wide application of HTML 5. Although apparently only one step forward compared to the previous version – HTML 4.1, the new version of the language for visualizing web content HTML was a serious qualitative leap in Internet technologies, and its wide support by modern browsers has made it a must-have element of any modern website.
The concept of Web 2.0 was discussed as early as 1999, but the full implementation of these standards required much more time. Web 2.0 standards began to enter more widely in the construction of websites only after the recent avalanche of development of social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.
What exactly are Web 2.0 standards?
According to Wikipedia, the term Web 2.0 is associated with an approach that prioritizes interactivity, the sharing of information both between users themselves and between users and site owners.
The Web 2.0 approach is characterized by the fact that the site visitor is no longer a passive “consumer” of the content, but an active participant in the development of the site. Sites built according to Web 2.0 standards usually contain many interactive functionalities such as the ability to comment on posts and rate the content, as well as the ability to share it with other users or social networks.
Web 2.0 websites were now also places for social contacts, connected in one way or another with the boom of social networks, and became powerful tools for communication and online collaboration between the site owner and his visitors.
With the development of social networks, the interactive functionalities of Web 2.0 have proven their serious effect in increasing the effectiveness of sites.
For this reason, after 2010 sites already took on a completely new look and necessarily included some form of interactivity and integration with social networks, and sites that lacked this looked hopelessly outdated and out of step with the times. The redesign just had to be…
Mobile devices and responsive design
Over the past ten years, we have witnessed an explosive development of mobile phones and tablets, also known as “mobile devices”.
According to the latest data (end of 2021), more than 85% of Internet traffic is already carried out through mobile devices, and sites designed to be viewed on a normal computer monitor can hardly fit on the relatively small screens of these devices.
All this literally turned the world of the Internet and the appearance of sites upside down. While until now all sites were “spread” on increasingly larger and better quality computer monitors, with the advent of mobile devices they had to go exactly to the other extreme – to “congregate” on the tiny screen of a phone!
However, web designers did not want to part with the “comfort” of using the huge spaces of computer monitors, and therefore a “compromise solution” was adopted. Sites began to be built in two visual versions – one for normal monitors and one for mobile devices. This is how the famous “mobile versions” of the sites appeared. They were design-cut versions of the main site that could be successfully viewed on small phone screens.
However, it quickly became clear that this approach was not particularly convenient. Developers had to practically design two sites, and owners had to maintain two sites – one for normal screens and one for mobile devices. Often even the content of these two sites differed.
For this reason, just as quickly, the so-called “Adaptive design”, also known as Responsive design, entered the Internet.
With this approach, sites already “automatically” recognized the screen size of visitors and adapted all design elements (font size, illustrations, and navigation) to the dimensions of the specific device.
Responsive design quickly caught on, and nowadays a site that is not built with this technology not only loses most of its potential visitors but is also considered completely out of step with the times.
Even Google officially announced at the beginning of last year that sites that are not built with a responsive design will not appear in mobile search results. In other words, this meant that sites that were not “adaptive” automatically lost about 80% of their visitors.
In conclusion …
While it usually involves a lot of changes to the look as well, the main reason why a periodic site redesign is imperative is far from just about the look.
In the world we live in, technology is developing at such a breakneck pace that entire generations of devices, software, browsers, and communication tools are replaced in a few years. Given the fact that the Internet has already become the circulatory system of the modern world, it is inevitable that websites are the first to have to react to all these changes.
If the design and technical solution of your site have not been changed for three or more years, it is very likely that they are outdated and a redesign and a complete technological overhaul of the site are already required. Consult your web designers and take the necessary measures.
It is possible that without realizing it, your website is already left behind and that it is no longer helping your business, but rather hindering it. Don’t let that happen.