Considering that Graphic Rating had no less than 5 redesigns, I think it is appropriate to write an article about the process of redesign. A process that is very important, where decisions should be based on real facts rather than the need for a fresh design. In these next lines I will share with you the analysis that preceded Graphic Rating’s current redesign session and all the metrics involved in the redesign decisions.
Why do we redesign?
While this is a legitimate question, we may trigger a philosophical answer rather than a simple one. It has to do with people’s desire to improve, to make current designs sexier, to constantly have something new. These are all human needs relative to a website, though we should try to improve a design based on real metrics and not just personal preferences.
I must say that most of my previous redesigns were based on some nice visual concept, maybe an interesting website, or even a general trend in the industry. With this redesign, I’ve made an initial analysis by gathering Google Analytics metrics, performance statistics and also aligning my new website to current technologies.
First thing you will have to do, before starting to put your ideas in Photoshop, is to open your analytics software and start digging for information. Depending on your website, your metrics can be different from mine. But make sure to analyze a big period of time and identify potential trends in visitors’ behavior.
Regarding visitors, I’ve started by defining my reference timeline as the past year. In this period of time I’ve analyzed the following metrics: Mobile Behavior, Browsers Vendors/Resolutions, Loyalty, Page Views, Time on Site and Bounce Rate.
The next thing was to analyze my site from performance perspective. Here, I wanted to minimize the number of HTTP Requests, reduce the size of Home Page as well as improve rankings in performance benchmark tools like Page Speed and YSlow!.
On the content side, I wanted to emphasize the type of content that is important for my visitors so, I’ve analyzed Google Analytics and found interesting stats about categories, most visited articles and topics. This analysis gave me a pretty clear picture about the content on my site. So make sure you analyze your site from this perspective as well.
The analysis result returned me some interesting values. These values were related both to my posting frequency and also to my website’s state at that time.
On the content side it would be too much to explain my findings. The main idea is to see which categories, article and content is visited, and then try emphasize its placement.
Now that we have all the inputs about our website’s current state, we should first think which can be easily fixed. For instance, my Home Page Size was big because of the main image. Now, as a guideline, every main image will not exceed 85 KB.
After identifying the easy fixes, you will need to define goals for the future redesign. Of course you won’t be able to set goals on things you can’t change – like visitor screen resolution or browser, but you can define some targets for Bounce Rate, Time on Site and even Loyalty.
The redesign process is different from project to project. Maybe this will work for you or maybe not. For sure I will make a second post and let you know what were the results.