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What are the Different Ways to Redesign a Website?

By Rhonda Rivera
Updated May 16, 2024
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There are numerous ways to redesign a website, including focusing on aesthetics, on accessibility, or on frequent visitors. Many individuals and companies choose to focus on aesthetics to give their website a more eye-appealing and modern design to keep up with style trends. Others decide to improve accessibility to better accommodate the blind, visually-impaired, or deaf. Still, other webmasters believe it best to redesign a website slowly over time to allow their most frequent visitors time to adjust and provide feedback. Of course, it is entirely possible to improve a website with all of these aspects in mind.

The aesthetics of a website include its overall color theme, layout, and font usage. With today’s technology, it is usually relatively easy to choose a new color theme or set a new default font. Applying new layouts is sometimes automatically done too, but these can be tricky for a novice webmaster. Previously untested layouts, also known as templates, can cause a website to return errors when accessed if the code is outdated or otherwise broken in some way. For the more experienced webmaster, these things can be custom coded and applied to make the website one-of-a-kind. Changing these website aspects can give a website an entirely different look and feel.

Another way to redesign a website is to improve accessibility for the impaired. This widens the website’s general audience and also widens the potential client or customer base. In fact, in some jurisdictions, it is illegal to have a website not readily accessible to the impaired. To redesign a website in this way, the web designer can make easy-to-find transcripts of the website’s video or audio files. The web designer can also change the color theme of the website to a color-blind friendly one, or give visitors an option of changing the color theme themselves.

A lot of popular websites improve both functionality and aesthetics over a long period of time, being careful to never introduce much at once. These businesses sometimes have millions of visitors that have been loyal users since the business began. Often, visitors do not want to relearn how to navigate the website, deal with new features that do not benefit them, or reenter information that was already given. Due to this balancing act between updates and user happiness, a popular website might always look a little outdated or disorganized. This often tends to apply to large social networking and e-commerce websites.

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Discussion Comments
By MrMoody — On Nov 18, 2011

@Mammmood - Maybe I’m a little lazy, but I just use templates. I don’t have time to be that creative. Also, since the purpose of my website is to sell stuff, I have to be simple.

Ecommerce website design is all about functionality and making sure that everything on the website is geared towards motivating the user to press the “Buy” button.

You’re not trying to impress them – you’re trying to appeal to their sense of value. To that end I have to pay attention to things like landing page design, which is basically like a mini sales page, where I sell, sell, sell the benefits of the product. As long as people are buying, my website is succeeding, the way I see it.

By Mammmood — On Nov 18, 2011

@everetra - I think if you’ve built your website using styles and themes using things like CSS (cascading style sheets) then it’s very easy to redesign the scheme of the web page.

I’m not an expert but I did take a course on CSS once, and it’s very similar to the concept of styles such as you might find in a word processing document. You go into a CSS style sheet, make a change to something like a font, and that change can get updated all across the website just through that one modification.

You can do this with any kind of attribute, not just fonts. Furthermore, I’ve heard that there are some technologies out there that will let you design a website in such a way that the user can customize the site. I don’t know how that is done, but I think this would be the most flexible arrangement.

By everetra — On Nov 17, 2011

@allenJo - We recently revamped our company’s website. The old design was very dated. I do agree with you about avoiding bells and whistles.

We did use a more impressive graphic for the watermark but images as a whole were kept to a minimum. We put improved navigation on the site and had a ticker feed for the latest company announcements.

What was a challenging however was syncing up our main website with the support website, which had been developed independently and was as plain vanilla as you could get. The support website had been developed by programmers, not graphic artists.

So it kind of stuck out like a sore thumb for awhile until we hired someone who knew both programming and graphic design, and was able to integrate the support site into the main site.

By allenJo — On Nov 16, 2011

I tend to be a little biased in these matters, but I think you should redesign with a focus on function over aesthetics. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve met small business owners who have had someone build websites for them, only to scrap the design later in favor of something simpler.

For some reason, the first time around people tend to be sold on the idea of bells and whistles and all sorts of ways to make their website flashy. Then they realize that for all its glitz, the website isn’t as usable as it could be.

The pages load slowly because there are too many images, or it uses Flash, and not everyone has Flash. Remember that people are on the Internet searching for information.

The best website design ideas will put content and usability front and center above eye candy, in my opinion.

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