Written by Adrienne Erin
Adrienne Erin is a freelance designer and writer. You can see more of her work by visiting her blog, Design Roast, or by following @adrienneerin on Twitter.
While it’s fair to say that many startups and business ventures are familiar with the basic principles of web design and are well aware of what to look for in a designer, relatively few understand the importance of redesigns.
The general feeling is that once the initial website is live, the business will take care of and sell itself to an ever-expanding audience. Even as competition increases and companies find it hard to retain their market share, convincing clients to further invest remains a difficult task.
Here are some ways you can effectively pitch your ideas and prove to the decision-makers that the added expense will be worth it in the long run.
Though there are many reasons to redesign (and a lot of bad reasons, too), as a designer it will be your task to speak to the benefits of upgrading not just the look of the website, but also its function.
There are three main areas where you should be arguing for improvements:
Once you’ve addressed these concerns you’ll be able to create a framework and set clear and realistic targets that are in line with the client’s particular needs.
To present the strongest case possible, consider the following:
For much of its time, the Internet has leveled the playing field, allowing small businesses to compete with their larger counterparts on a global scale. However, Google made headlines with its Mobilegeddon algorithm update that took place April 21.
Suddenly, the world’s most popular search engine is now favoring those businesses that have already invested in a mobile-friendly design. Any mobile sites that contain unplayable content, slow mobile pages, faulty redirects and/or blocked image files will see their rankings tumble.
This move by Google has been expected for some time and coincides with the rise of mobile shopping apps and the ubiquity of smartphone ownership in the U.S. and elsewhere. According to Statista, there are now more than 183 million smartphone users across the country with that figure expected to grow to 220 million by 2018.
It seems that potential customers are perpetually plugged into the Internet, with many more transaction processes occurring online and though iOS and Android devices.
Recent research into the subject by Forrester has revealed that online consumption via mobile shopping apps is poised to pull in more than $327 billion by 2016. Facts like these are difficult for clients to ignore.
As such, the consumer buying decision process must be simplified as much as possible if website redesigns are to be cost-effective for businesses operating in the new digital order.
If you can point out and identify where your client’s current website excels and where it underperforms in relation to others in the industry, you’ll be able to convince them that certain elements could really benefit from a redesign.
In this way, competition can be a fantastic motivator and marker where e-commerce is concerned. Site designers who use this to their advantage by breaking the brand down into its core components – logo, colors, message, tone, etc. – will find this argument a lot easier.
Site overhauls can be as limited or as extensive as the client likes and room for a fair amount of compromise should always be made if certain elements you’ve outlined in your argument are met with criticism.
If a total rehaul is out of the question (and out of the budget) maybe you can frame your changes as a “refresh” instead of a redesign. Small visual updates can still mean a world of difference for a small business whose website is severely behind the times. Plus, if they see improvement from just a few quick updates, they might be more willing to go further in the future.
While the scope of your proposed changes will be something to discuss with your client, keep in mind that your primary objective is to satisfy their needs first and foremost.
As is often the case, showing works better than telling. Being able to demonstrate the real-world applications of any changes to the site design via A/B split testing is one of the best ways to get your message across.
The client will be able to see the public’s response to different copy, CTAs, and button placements, and these results can inform other areas of the process, helping you to get the go-ahead.
In the end, convincing the client that a redesign will be worth it is not an exact science, but positive outcomes are often reached when the numbers game is played.
You’ll want to appeal to their bottom line when presenting your strategic redesign strategy. The next time a previous or prospective client seems resistant, remember these tips and what you have to offer.
How do you convince your clients that it’s time to redesign? Share your strategies in the comments below!
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