Website Redesign vs. Website Design Evolution

Brendan Egan

Website Redesign vs. Website Design Evolution

If your website is outdated, or if your company is moving in a new direction, you will need to figure out how you can update your website so that it accurately reflects your brand. There are two options to help you reach this goal: completely redesigning the website, or gradually improving the design over time, which is a practice known as website design evolution. Which of these options should you choose? Before you decide, take a look at the pros and cons of each:

Redesign is necessary if the business is completely changing

In some situations, a redesign is the only option that makes sense. For example, let’s say you have a successful fashion blog where you post about the latest trends and runway shows. But, you are about to launch an online shop to start selling some of the items that you write about. In this case, it would be better to completely redesign and relaunch the website instead of gradually adding elements of an e-commerce shop. If your business is going in an entirely new direction, redesigning the website may be the best choice. However, if you already had an e-commerce shop on your website, but you just wanted to update it to make it easier to navigate, a complete redesign is not necessary.

Website design evolution is easier to manage

Redesigning a website takes a great deal of time. Even if you hire a company to handle the redesign, you will have to review a lot of content and design options, and provide feedback to the team working on your website. This can eat up a lot of your day—especially if you have to go through multiple revisions to get the look you’ve envisioned. However, a design evolution is not as time-consuming. You can determine how much you want to change at once depending on how much you think you can manage at that time. Although it will take longer to complete the project when you choose to let it evolve gradually, it won’t be anywhere near as stressful, so it may be well worth the wait.

Customers won’t notice any changes

People who visit your website on a regular basis will be able to quickly spot a redesign—and they may not be happy with it. If you redesign your website, customers may begin to contact you with questions about the changes. But, even the most loyal customers probably won’t notice if you let your website slowly evolve. Many of the changes you will make during a design evolution are subtle, so customers won’t immediately notice them.

Redesigns create more excitement

If you’re hoping to build buzz around your new website, the best way to do so is with a redesign. Many brands choose to make an event out of launching their websites again after a redesign, so customers get excited and anticipate seeing the changes that have been made. However, it’s impossible to do this with a design evolution. If you use this method, customers will slowly be exposed to each change as it is made. There’s no big reveal or surprises because they’ve been watching your website slowly progress over time. If you want to incorporate the launch of your new website into your rebranding efforts, it may be best to stick to the redesign method so you can turn it into a buzzworthy event.

Design evolutions are ideal for smaller businesses

Small businesses usually do not have a lot of money to allocate towards redoing their websites. But, that doesn’t mean small business owners have to settle for the website they have. If you don’t have a big budget, stick to a design evolution instead of a complete redesign. Choosing to redesign your website means you will have to pay one large sum of money for the work being done. But, there is much more flexibility when you choose a design evolution. Small businesses can stretch the work out over several months and adjust the budget every month as needed. For example, let’s say the goal for month one of your design evolution project is making adjustments to the design of your e-commerce store. If this task goes a little bit over budget, then you can simply take funds from another part of the project that you were planning in the upcoming months. You don’t have this option when you are doing everything at once in a redesign.

Evolving websites can be tested along the way

If customers cannot access certain features on your website, you may lose business, which is why testing and retesting any changes that you make to your website is so important. It’s much easier to test a website that is slowly evolving than it is to test an entire redesign. You can test each new change as it is made instead of waiting for the entire website to be completely redesigned. This will make it easier for you to quickly identify issues and resolve them before customers notice there’s a problem. However, it can be more challenging to test a complete redesign because so many changes have been made at once. Even if you do identify a problem, it can be hard to track down what’s causing the issue when you’ve recently made a lot of changes to the website.

Startups can benefit from design evolution

Startups often get so wrapped up in perfecting their website design that they put off the official launch of their company for months. If you’re eager to start your business, it wouldn’t hurt to launch a basic website design and then slowly make changes to the design over time.  If you’re in the early stages of your business, chances are you won’t have a lot of traffic to your website anyways. Therefore, it makes more sense to launch the website and then slowly perfect it over time so you can focus on other areas of business instead of worrying solely about your website’s design.
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