The online presence of an ad agency is basically an advertisement. It demonstrates our skills and commitment to quality creative, which is why we’ve recently refreshed our site. We think it better reflects the advantage of working with us. We’d love to hear what you think about our new look, but in the meantime, here are some tips for the web refresh process that may help you if you’re planning a facelift for your own website:
3 Tips for Your Website Refresh
- Decide if a refresh is actually what you want or need.
Part of implementing an effective refresh is aligning internally on how extensive the changes to your website need to be. If you feel like you need to change your information architecture (IA), overhaul the user experience (UX) to accommodate new functionality, redo your branding, or choose a new CMS, that’s more of a redesign. Because of the longer timeline, involvement of more stakeholders, and potential impact to site usability, redesigns require a lot more strategic planning. They’re also more expensive.
Fun fact: it only takes a user 50 milliseconds to form an opinion about a website’s visual appeal.1
A refresh is less extensive and expensive but can still have plenty of impact. Maybe you want to tweak the color palette, typeface, and other elements of your user interface (UI). Maybe you have minor changes to page templates to optimize some aspect of UX. Maybe you want to edit page copy or incorporate a new page into your IA to bolster SEO. You can accomplish these “refresh” items more quickly because they preserve more elements of the old site and don’t require extensive implementation.
- Crowdsource effective UI and UX elements from other websites—even if they’re not in your space.
Best practices may help guide implementation, but inspiration can’t come from best practices alone. Finding elements on other websites that resonate with you, even if they’re minor (things like treatment of links, visual cues for site functionality, imagery and copy positioning, or scrolling styles) are useful when considering how to refresh your own site.
Another fun fact: UI/UX Trend identified larger font sizes for H1s, H2s and H3s as the top UI design trend in 2023.2
You don’t have to limit yourself to your competitors or peers to find inspiration. No one industry has a monopoly on good UX or design, and hidebound industry conventions can sometimes stifle creativity. Feedback is most effective when contributors provide screenshots or specific observations—not just a vague “I like this site.” Dig deep to see how specific elements can combine within your existing framework.
- Get your developers involved sooner, rather than later.
Creativity doesn’t have any limits…but your site’s infrastructure does. Not all ideas that the creative and strategic minds on your team come up with will be viable, and that’s okay. Involving developers early in the creative process to observe – and veto, if necessary – will help keep the team from falling in love with an idea that could adversely impact performance, isn’t feasible to implement, or would break some other aspect of the site.
A final fun fact: Surveyed web developers believe that slow loading times (88.5%), a non-responsive website (73.1%) and bad navigation (61.5%) are top reasons why users bounce.3
There are two other big benefits to involving developers earlier in creative discussions. First, you can benefit from their outside perspective and hear about elements of effective websites from people who are more familiar with the backend. Second, you can socialize the whole team with the website’s new direction so everyone knows what’s coming when it’s implementation time.
Is it time for a refresh – or full-on redesign – for your website? Consider choosing an experienced partner with expertise creating great websites across verticals. Give us a call to see how we can help you create a functional, beautiful website.