In my second week here, I was told that one of the projects I’d be working on was the redesign of our website. In the month between then and now, I’ve been working with the rest of the team in figuring out exactly what we want our new site to be. My major role in this project is more in graphic design and art theory than it is in programming.
“What if I don’t have someone with a design background?” No worries! I’m gonna explain how to deal with a site redesign, so whether you are a designer, have one on hand, or not; you can get an idea of how to go about the process and revamp your website.
Step 1: Not-so-secret identity
I know you want to get crackin’ on that website, but first thing’s first: you need an identity. And unlike the members of the Justice League, it’s not the kind of thing you want to keep a secret. Hold a meeting with all of the important members of your business and go over what defines you as a business. There are 3 root questions to ask at this meeting.
- Who are we? Defining the personality of your brand is crucial to knowing what directions to take when creating a logo, website, or really just about anything else. This should optimally be a 1-sentence explanation.
- What do we do? You should be able to describe what goods and/or services you provide to customers in less than 2 sentences. If you can’t, you might need to adjust your business model as a whole and find direction.
- Why should visitors become customers? This sounds pretty simple, but in actuality, it can be difficult to really nail down what sets your good/service apart from competitors. This is usually broken down into either providing a unique good/service, or a unique experience.
Step 2: Logo alignment
You had your meeting, your team has figured out who’s behind your business’ mask, and you all walked away with an understanding of what your company does. “We can design our site now, right?” You can, but there’s one last thing I suggest you do first. Namely, take a look at your logo and decide if it needs to be changed to fit better with your new identity.
As a Dungeons & Dragons player (yes we still exist) I can tell you that alignment can have a big impact on how a character is perceived. Well, the same goes for a logo’s alignment! There are a few vital stats that one needs to consider when seeing if their logo fits with their image. And just like in D&D, you should write these stats down (they’ll be useful to you later):
Playfull VS Professional Modern VS Classic Affordable VS Expensive Customized Product VS Broad Product Feminine VS Masculine Region & Demographics …and lots more!
What it boils down to is; what aspects of your company and customers are important, figuring out what defines those aspects, and when that’s all done, taking a new look at your logo. If it fits, great! If not, that’s fine too! It’s best to have a logo that reflects you before moving on.
Step 3: Building Blocks
You have your identity down-pat. Your logo perfectly reflects your company and everything you stand for. It’s time. You’re ready to start designing your website! So how do you get started? By making a rough draft, or ‘template’ as it’s sometimes called. For the sake of keeping this blog post short(ish), we’ll only discuss homepage design.
Step 4: Layout
As the basic framework of your website, you need to decide where everything is gonna go. What’s more, where everything goes in relation to everything else! First figure out what elements and items are most important to have. Afterward you can decide where each of these elements can go. A standard homepage has:
- Header: Often where the logo is displayed, as well as (but not always) the main navigation.
- Body: The current trend is to show one large image that conveys either your identity or the main product/service that you provide, sometimes with associated text and a CTA or ‘Call-To-Action’.
- Footer: Normally below the ‘blink range’ (which is the area that’s shown before scrolling), this area usually houses a sitemap, contact info, other offers, or even a second CTA.
- Design: Once your layout is solid, you can decide on some design elements. Remeber that sheet with your company’s stats? Well it’s time to use it again. Use those stats to decide on color scheme, the kind of shapes and fonts you’ll use, what types of media elements will be most beneficial to your visitors. Even the kind of borders (if any) you choose to place around important items!
Step 5: Testing 1, 2, 3
You finally have a template for your website (or at least homepage) – so now what? Test that baby out! Get people from your company, contacts, or even from your main demographic(s) to use your site and make sure that everything’s easy to use, find, and functioning. Even once your site is open to the public, you should keep testing it every so often and making any necessary changes.
If you have any comments, questions, or just want to take part in the conversation; please subscribe and comment. I’ll be coming out with helpful articles every week. Thanks for reading!