What’s Behind a Website Redesign Project?

7 September 2022

Veronika Nedashkovskaya

Content Manager

For decades, enterprises followed the strategy of total redesigning the company website every X years. Business owners often saw a redesign project as a universal tool for problem-solving. Sales have dropped, users spend less time browsing the site, and conversion is decreasing — let’s redesign our platform and fix everything.

In reality, however, the wrong strategy can worsen the situation. Knowing how to approach a website redesign is understanding that it’s not just changing button colors and a layout on a few pages. Rather, it’s another powerful instrument for the business idea validation process. What’s the purpose of a website redesign? And what’s behind such projects?

Does Your Website Need a Redesign?

If you think your marketplace or online shop needs a redesign just because “it could be better”, it doesn’t mean you have to do anything about it. It may still meet user needs and perform well from a business perspective. More significant factors would be negative customer feedback, reduced conversion, or an outdated tech stack.

A website redesign is essentially a part of your marketing strategy and business growth planning. In fact, the “Let’s do a total redo every X years” approach no longer works in today’s market environments. Here are only a few reasons why.

  • Although users need “something new” every once in a while, they don’t like sudden changes.
  • After a complete redesign, it’s impossible to track the reasons for the metric change (if you changed everything at once).
  • Such projects often don’t have clear objectives (“We want to fix UX” is not a clear goal). It turns them into utter chaos.
  • Research, prototyping, design, and development of the entire new version take too long. The results become outdated upon the launch.

Global economic volatility, growing tech innovations, and ever-changing customer preferences have made the idea of a far-reaching, “scheduled” total redesign obsolete. Would you spend hundreds of thousands on a project with unknown and immeasurable results? Doubtful.

When your website needs a redesign

Design Must Solve Business Problems

Many decision-makers see designers as simply picture-drawing development team members. However, design is an essential part of any digital product. Typically, users need around five seconds to form the first impression of a digital product. So how do you make a successful design that keeps the user and, more importantly, sells?

Bobby Ghoshal, former Head of Digital Design at WeWork, once said that 80% of design decisions are made “away from pixels”: in discussions, presentations, and reporting meetings. Moreover, product managers’ and designers’ responsibility areas overlap in many ways. Ultimately design aims to reach the same business goal — identifying and solving user problems. In this case, in a visual form.

Melissa Perri: Общий язык и проблемы дизайнеров и менеджеров продукта
Credit: Melissa Perri

Product Approach to Redesign Projects

In software development, the product approach is a user-centric methodology designed to create maximum value for the customer. In a broader sense, it’s a philosophy of building products that people actually need. Its underlying principle is hypothesis testing through experiments and consumer research (including problem and solution interviews). Put simply, your ideas are hypothetical unless you test them on real customers.

Your product is a value proposition that solves customer problems. Product design is the offer’s functional package.

In agile software development environments, there’s an opinion that all business managers need a basic understanding of hypothesis testing. In the long run, the method of small, gradual iterations makes the business more flexible and adaptable to changing market conditions. However, for the successful application of hypothesis testing in business, you need ideas. Here are five ways to generate them with a hands-on approach.

Credit: Nikkel Blaase

#1 Study Your Competition

Checking what your competitors are doing is a proven way to generate a new hypothesis. Identifying relevant key performance indicators can also hint if the idea is working or, at least, worth trying. Besides, it’s easy to understand how the latest trends impact the buyer’s behavior if you monitor the changes in similar products. 

However, it’s more complicated than just taking an idea already implemented by the competition. It still needs validation. Sharing the same niche and locale doesn’t automatically mean your customers will like it. And mistakes of using ideas that haven’t yet been tested usually come at a high price. 

#2 Learn How to Use Analytics

A typical scenario: A marketplace founder hires a custom software development studio to redesign the platform (for any reason). Once the development team gets access to Google Analytics, it turns out that:

  • There’s no analytics-related documentation. None at all. The services were set up by a long-gone freelancer. And hardly anyone in the company knows how to sort it out.


  • Nobody understands how analytics works. Objectives are outdated or were never configured correctly. 

Ideally, the platform needs an end-to-end analytics system. But in general, even the usual conversions in each step and the metric system can highlight your website’s weaknesses. For example, if 20% end up in the cart, and only 0.02% make it to the checkout, there are potential problems in this part of the user journey. Detailed analysis of this step will inspire improvement ideas.

#3 Conduct Usability and A/B Testing

Usability testing implies presenting a clickable interface prototype to real users before release. In larger products, usability tests are part of each sprint as a separate stage. However, it’s often not included in the SMEs’ budgets. As a result, all mistakes become apparent only after release (when it’s much more expensive to fix them).

It’s relatively easy and inexpensive to test the simplest scenarios on your own. Ask 10 people from your target audience to go through the purchase scenario of your current version or a ready prototype.

Talking to tech support is another (faster and cheaper) way to identify problems that need solving. In the end, users report their issues to the helpdesk. Getting first-hand information helps fix a lot of bugs with minimum resources.

A/B testing helps you understand how to set feasible goals. Put simply, it’s comparing two product versions and their performance to each other. The best part: Even before launching a redesign project, you can change selected elements in the old website version and see how the user behavior changes. 

A classic example is the 37signals project redesign. The company changed its name to Basecamp, after its most popular product. In addition, the developers made changes to the site’s main page. It used to have a registration form. After the redesign, it was removed. This proved to be a failing decision that led to a massive drop in conversion. As a result, the company lost millions of dollars in revenue.

#4 Collect and Analyse Feedback

Only loyal and diligent customers properly report their problems to tech support. In the most widespread scenario, people just leave for the competitors if they don’t like something. That’s why feedback from real users is the most valuable source of information and further development ideas.

There are various methodologies and ways to initiate communication. These can be separate screens with a feedback form where anyone can write what they think or “rate your experience” pop-ups. This way, you can get hypotheses both on interface and workflow improvement.

#5 Know Your Customer

Communicate with your customer. It’s the shortest way to discover what they need. And their pain points create the best ground for your website redesign project plan. Whether online questionnaires, customer research, in-depth interviews, usability testing, or diary studies, there are plenty of ways to connect with people willing to help you improve your product.

While working on their chatbot, the product team of Booking.com just went to a local coffee shop and asked people there what they thought about it. Some of them were not even the Booking’s customers. It helped the company validate the idea through real-time feedback from potential users.

Partner with Experts

Having a website that needs to be redesigned, many business owners hire freelance designers to save money. However, simply redrawing a logo and replacing a few buttons are unlikely to bring any results.

Asking yourself “Why should I redesign my website?” is about hypothesis testing in a business environment and continuous product improvement. If you have an idea, you have to prove its value both at the business and user experience levels. And partnering with seasoned professionals helps businesses validate ideas and, as a result, increases profits. 

The Rocketech Team specializes in product design, among other fields of expertise. We guide our clients through the entire software development process but also take on already-existing products that need improvements and scaling. Do you need advice on how to plan a website redesign? We can help. Contact us for more details.

Get a bi-weekly email with the most popular stories

Carefully curated content for resourceful Devs, CTOs, and PMs. No spam.

Talk to us!

Send us a message and we'll get in touch with you as soon as we can.
United States+1