Advancement in design and programming technology makes for a perfect storm: Now is the best time to redo your website.
Technology breakthroughs are constant, but design breakthroughs – what’s that all about? Comedian Louis CK does a bit about how your stomach takes 20 minutes to tell your head that it’s full. He says you can stub your toe and your head knows right away how much it hurts, but why does it take 20 minutes for your stomach to communicate?
Well, embracing and using new technology to its fullest is a bit like communicating with your stomach: It takes time.
It’s been 23 years since Tim Berners-Lee launched the first website and we finally have the tools for designing a website that really focuses on the user. Yet it’s not only about the user, it’s also about the owner of the website and what the owner has to offer the user. It’s about a relationship between user and content holder.
And like any relationship, it’s hard work.
Connect Your Content to Your Audience
Make your content relevant to your target audience. The whole world may be able to get to your website, but the whole world is not your audience.
Identify who your key audience is and provide content that best serves your audience while addressing the issues, offers and themes that you want to express. Most users come to your website for three primary reasons:
Does your content and website design address the three main reasons people visit websites?
You Are Here
When you stand in front of a map and read, “You Are Here,” have you ever wondered, as Steve Martin once asked, “How did it know I’d be here?”
When performing a website redesign, you need to know where the users are and you have to make it easy for them to get anywhere fast. Before you select the images and determine what design looks better, you need to analyze these 3 areas of your website:
- The content flow
- The organization
- The navigation
Here’s where design and tech meet in a perfect storm. Never before has it been easier to learn how users use your website, and to have the ability to design a website that meets your target audience.
5 Tech Breakthoughs Your Website Redesign Must Have
Who is visiting your website? How long do they stay? And once they arrive, where do they go?
The amount of information available through free services like Google Analytics is astounding. Web developer and online marketing expert, Kurt Edelbrock, says Google Analytics will help you, “understand your audience and your website in ways that your competitors on the Web often won’t.”
You can now track users, see what pages are popular and use this information to guide your website redesign.
2. Responsive Design
Responsive web design offers you the best quality browsing experience with easy reading and navigation minimizing the need for resizing, panning and scrolling. A website design with responsive architecture displays itself effectively on desktop browsers, tablets and mobile devices.
“Given the rapid adoption of tablets and smartphones — and the fact that users currently seem to prefer reading their news on the mobile Web rather than in apps — I think it’s inevitable that 2013 will be the year that responsive design takes off,” says Peter Cashmore, CEO of Mashable.
3. Content Management Systems (CMS)
CMS offers you a way to organize your content and post new and updated content. With WordPress and other open source CMS platforms, you can have sophisticated tools at your fingertips that are essential and affordable.
When you manage your content better, you can repurpose it on multiple platforms.
Did you know that 85% of mobile users expect the mobile version of your website to be as good or better than the desktop view? “A mobile device is the Internet for many people,” says Susannah Fox from the Pew Research Center.
You can’t ignore the fastest growing audience online. Karen McGrane makes a great argument in Content Strategy for Mobile, “mobile can be a catalyst to make your entire publishing process more efficient and more effective.” We should use mobile as the filter for rethinking all of our content. Mobile websites must be simpler, easier to click, better written and designed to work for the person on-the-go in a much smaller space.
How about applying that to your desktop design as well?
5. Social Media
People have a better understanding about what works on blogs, Facebook and Twitter. It’s not just about posting and reposting, but using content that effectively promotes your company, products or services. You can combine your business Facebook page with plugins that share content or simply add quick links and “Like” buttons to attract audiences back and forth between your website and your Facebook page.
For your audience to think of you as professional, your communication strategy must embrace multiple platforms and display messaging and visual marketing in a consistent manner. Today is a great time to rethink and repurpose your website so that it is on target with your business goals, meets your audience needs and utilizes the best that technology has to offer.
Breakthrough Photo via Shutterstock