“I don’t like the way our site looks. We should redesign the whole thing!”

When the word “redesign” is muttered, thoughts rush our brains with new coats of paint, enhanced functionality, new messaging … but what for? Why is this redesign even on the table?

Without data, decisions are based only on our thoughts. Data gives us the what and why. We need to use data to drive the need to redesign.

Meaningful design must be backed with a balance of qualitative and quantitative data – both of which take time and planning to gather. It’s imperative to always have analytics installed on your site so you see what is and isn’t being used, and what outliers, such as site speed, could be impacting your users. Taking this data a step further, you must gather feedback from your users on their experiences. Tying these results together will lay your criteria for a redesign.

Good data doesn’t just show up when you log in to your analytics. Today’s world of internet is full of a lot of crazies, some of which are bots, and bot traffic can certainly skew your data. But just as you plan for your summer vacation (how many bottles of sunscreen should I bring on my Caribbean cruise?), you must plan for your data. Set up filters and make sure you’re tracking what you want. Then you must give time for results to come through.

If you’re missing a piece of the puzzle here, the redesign may not produce the “umph” you’re looking to achieve. (“Umph” equals your goals.) The balance will be off, and the drawing boards will be back up in that teeny conference room. My best advice is to slow down. Don’t rush it just to redesign. Keep asking “why” until there aren’t any more chickens. In the end, you’ll have a more satisfying product for not only you, but also your users.

Thank you Ronnie Miller for providing an illustration for this post!