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Stop redesigning, start designing

1.9.2012    Zdeněk Hornych   

I did not go crazy. If we really know that a redesign is needed and high quality results expected, we can hardly change an existing draft made in 2009. The digital express doesn't stop; it is on the constant move. Everything has changed. Nowadays, we have new and better opportunities so don't try to put pieces of different projects together, create new comprehensive ones..

Comprehensive design

If a part of our website is not working properly, the other parts are highly likely to be dysfunctional as well. We can easily find out which system is not properly seen from the perspective of the UX technology or from the visual design. Every project needs a different approach as well as its KPIs which can help us to realize if the right time for a change has come.

Long term ATL/BTL campaigns, online media target groups, various platforms and the ability to be open-minded for new solutions play a key role in the comprehensive design world.

It is obvious that big and well-known portals having thousands and millions of users cannot radically change their behaviour, design or technology. It is necessary to do all the steps successively and carefully in order to avoid the violation of symbiosis within the user community.

Let’s define some key signs of an insufficient website:
- project does not follow the defined KPIs
- high bounce rate
- ineffective content
- poor quality onpage factors for SEO
- short time spent on website

All the numbers have to be evaluated in an analytical way. When the user spends "only" 1 minute on the site, it does not necessarily mean that something is wrong. It is necessary to see coherent links to be able to picture the whole situation.

How to do that

Let’s have a look at it step-by-step. A good agency will explain its customers the whole process of creating a new website or a campaign and will suggest them the best solution. The best way of doing so is to start with an efficient schedule, then concentrate on new technologies and end with ATL synergy. For us, online is an independent discipline that is not and cannot be restricted to the limits of different media. Online is not an interactive leaflet..

Firstly, you have to create a mood board, a set of typography, project tonality or UX (in which we are interested in a given project and which is needed to attract the target users most effectively). Secondly, planning of often underestimated (or overrated) WireFrames follows. The functional application model is a key and very crucial element of the whole project. Sometimes, we come across of prepared dysfunctional WireFrames which were made only because somebody asked for them or that they have not been made by a UX specialist. This might appear as a minor detail but it can completely ruin your project.

Nowadays, a great web designer knows almost everything about his/her discipline and is able to apply WireFrames to a functional model without destroying or limiting creativity. Not everything square in WireFrame has to be square in a real design.

Finally, designing!

Now it's time for designing the project. You have to keep your eyes open and don’t perceive any boundaries. There are many fantastic and unique projects made abroad. We can find some in the Czech Republic as well but the word 'some' is appropriate. Why is it like that? Is it a budget? I don't think so. The crucial element is an open-minded client with the willingness to join the new wave.

The responsive and fluid web design, big controls and an attractive typography are the new terms of new design trends as well as HTML5, JQuery, CSS3, anti refresh control or compatibility with all mobile devices are a part of new technological trends.

I often compare new websites with buying a new car. You don’t go to a showroom immediately, firstly you collect information about different cars on the market and then you make a decision about technologies, the colour and type. Just a small suggestion, find out who will you drive with, it might help you to decide what to choose.

Become a project manager and define real deadlines and budget. When having a real deadline, your driving skills with the new car will automatically improve. Later you can tune it in and have it all under your control so that you won’t have any barriers to go on a race track. Don't try to shorten time for the development because the possibility to win the race would equal almost to zero. We all want to be the first ones, don’t we?

Quality content

Another key part is a content - the content is made for our users to be read. The quality text requires a good idea and logic. Before starting doing it, monitor the situation. You should know what your competitors are creating in order to react appropriately. High quality content demands a skilled copywriter and a top web typographer because it is not only about the text; it is also about a typesetting. We do not create moving postcards, we create digital campaigns. Give it a thought.

Don't forget about CMS (Content Management System). It can help you to maintain the website content and its structure. Editing is then open to everyone who has a basic typographical sense. You will need only a few minutes for adding a new article. It is an easy and great content solution, isn’t it?

What to do with a finished project? Cloud computing as the global trend is the answer. If you are planning a local campaign, you will appreciate reliability, scalability and availability of clouding services because your project can then be distributed among units, tens or hundreds of servers. Even the blackout of the EU can't endanger you because you can simply redirect the traffic into another continent. Does it sound as Sci-fi? No. It is the reality.

If you have global ambitions, the requirements are different. Thanks to CMS you can locate your Website, e-Commerce solutions or Facebook campaigns to any country or continent. You can cover the whole world in only a few minutes. Technology CDN (Content Delivery Network) will help you. When using it, website users connect to the nearest server so that the time needed for transfer is radically shortened. Welcome to the global world!

The last piece of advice. Don't be afraid of criticism, be innovative and brave. Communicate. Let your wings to be your guide.