A UX Designer’s Guide to a Website Redesign

Three best practices for when you have to redesign an existing website or webpage.

Adobe Stock / everythingpossible

by Linn Vizard

posted on 01-03-2018

The website redesign is something that most UX designers end up having to tackle at some point in their career. On one hand, there are benefits to not starting from scratch, but on the other, you’re not starting from scratch! It can be intimidating (and politically tense) to have to redesign something that already exists, and untangling what to keep and what to throw out is a challenge. Here are three things you can do to ensure the project goes smoothly.

Understand why

There are lots of possible reasons for a redesign, including new leadership with a new vision for a site’s purpose, a desire to increase conversions or have the site measure up better to KPIs (key performance indicators), or simply to freshen up the brand or site’s look and feel. The first step you need to take is gaining a robust understanding of the project sponsor’s desire to redesign — why redesign, and why now?

A collaborative UX strategy blueprinting session can uncover the objectives of the redesign project.

Take stock of what you’re working with

Once you’ve understood the goals of the redesign and how the site or web page is currently performing, it’s time to get a handle on what you are working with. What about the current site is on the table to change? What is off limits? Does the redesign need to completely rework content and information architecture, or is it more about minor tweaks?

A content audit will help you to get a handle on what content to tweak, keep, and discard, as well as cataloguing a site’s structure and IA. Image credited to UX Mastery.

Get designing

You should now have a great jumping off point to design from, with clarity on the objectives of the redesign, the material you are working with, and what’s on and off the table to change. Working content first and designing with real content will set you up for success. During the design phase while you are creating wireframes, mockups, and prototypes, there are a few great approaches to help you and the team along. Always ensure to test early and often if possible, through prototype usability testing.

Examples of style tiles for a redesign of The Washington Examiner from Samantha Toy’s portfolio website.

Thunderbirds are go!

Once the site redesign is ready for launch, a continuous feedback loop including A/B testing or beta testing is a great way to ensure that the site or page is achieving the desired result. After all, you want to ensure that all of the hard work and effort that was put into the redesign is working!

As with any UX design work, a lot of the success of a redesign project hinges on a deep understanding of the project context, goals, and the user needs the site is serving.

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Topics: Creativity, Design

Products: Creative Cloud