Most days when we’re looking at websites, we’ll come across a corker. Then, there are also some absolute shockers. There are some things that should be consigned to web history and there’s a quick way to check that your business isn’t looking a bit dated on the web.
If you aren’t sure what a website should look like then a few killer questions will quickly identify the biggest opportunities and risks surrounding your site. Have a look at your site and ask yourself:
Question 1: Does it look okay on a smartphone?
There’s a reason everyone (especially web design companies) talk about this so much. Traffic from smartphones has skyrocketed and there are a lot of websites out there which haven’t caught up with the trend.
Why does it matter?
Well, think about how much information appears on a desktop screen. Now imagine trying to fit all of that to the screen of your smartphone. It’s likely to be around 10 times smaller. That means even if the design looks great on a computer, it could fall apart for the 53% of users who access the web via their smartphone (2015).
Modern web design uses intelligent code to re-organise information so that it’s easy to digest on a smaller screen.
#1. Mobile users are less likely to leave in frustration.
#2. Google loves it.
#3. Best practice user experience design.
Question 2: Have you got all kinds of colours, fonts, shapes, sizes, images and cartoons liberally scattered across the site?
A big problem with older sites is that they have often had multiple contributors. That’s fine. However, editing sites has become easier over time. Easier editing means more consistency. People don’t use 10 different fonts when they write a letter, but there are plenty of sites on the web that can flip from Arial to Comic Sans faster than you can say “NOOOOO!”.
Why does it matter?
People are finely tuned to spot inconsistency. In web design, having a clear set of rules for how content looks is a fundamental part of the design process. Sometimes, either due to a lack of brand guidelines or a poor CMS, sites can become a muddled mess of styles resulting in a difficult user experience.
Modern web design employs up to date systems to prevent the design of a site being altered, whilst still giving the flexibility to update content.
#1. It looks great.
#2. It’s harder to break your own site.
#3. You won’t have to ask your web designer to fix things all the time. (Read: It costs less)
Question 3: Has your business changed since your website was last updated?
This is a useful question, because the commercial context of a site should be what drives it. Instead of adding to an old site and trying to augment it or re-shape it, think instead how it would work if you were to start over with none of the restrictions. Sometimes we get asked to totally overhaul an existing site and it makes far more sense to come back to the objectives and tailor a fresh solution.
Why does it matter?
If your business has changed, your audience has changed. If your audience has changed, but your website hasn’t, it is very likely that it could be serving them better.
Aligning a site with your goals is what a good web design agency should do. Not just creatively, but also technically and commercially. Removing all of the restrictions that come with older websites such as old technology, outdated creative work and unchecked content can help to push your company forward dramatically.
#1. Alignment. Although we’re teetering on the edge of management jargon, when your website goals match your business goals, your website helps your business to deliver what it sets out to do. That’s the way it ought to be.
#2. Catharsis. Yep. Get rid of all that junk you and your customers never need or use and get back to what’s important.
#3. You get to fix all of your gripes at once, whilst at the same time getting a design that’s going to impress your customers. What’s not to like?
There are of course hundreds of other reasons that a new website might be a good idea, but we find that sites which are a few years old tend to fall into of one or more of the above categories. If you’re still not convinced, ask us to show you what an update would look like.