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How often should a website be redesigned?

What happens after you stare at the same design for years?



3:30 pm on Apr 17, 2008 (gmt 0)

WebmasterWorld Senior Member pageoneresults is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

I'm actually running into a little challenge with a site redesign. We've been staring at a fixed width, fixed pixel environment for over 4 years. We've grown to the point where things "have to change" or the usability of the site will suffer.

So, we build a new Web 2.0 Template, nice and clean, validates, 100% fluid, a real work of art I think, and so did many others during the redesign. The initial responses from the client were not what we expected...

"Wow, everything is so big now, can we have it small again?"
"It fills my entire screen, I want it centered in the middle."
"Can you make the fonts smaller again?"
"Why the Expand/Collapse options? Can we have the long scrolling pages again?"

You'd really be surprised at some of the responses from the client.

So, I got to thinking, why was this such a "big change" for him? I think its because we've been stuck in the 800x600 mentality way too long. And, with 12px fixed font sizes, fixed widths, everything was all scrunched into the middle of the screen.

The new layout is "pure". We're going to make modifications to compromise but I think after he's used it for a while we'll get the okay to proceed. It really is a work of art. The fluidness has added a usability factor that we not had before. And, with the growth of the backend applications, the amount of data we are displaying just would not work in a fixed width non-fluid environment.

So, what's your take on it? How often should we redesign and/or upgrade our websites look and feel, functionality, usability, etc? I know, its an ongoing daily grind for many of us but in this instance, is four years a bit too long? We missed a couple of screen size jumps during that time so what we had finally became this little portrait size website in the center of a large landscape universe. :)


7:42 am on Aug 26, 2008 (gmt 0)

5+ Year Member

Personally - I don't like webpages that get much bigger than 800x600. Asside from users with small screens, I just don't like the look and feel of the site. Some can be done nicely, but I just prefer them to remain small. Besides - usually if you have a design that needs to be big like that, you have a whole lot of content (ads, links, etc). So your just trying to find a way to fit a super busy page on the screen. It can be unavoidable but I don't like 'em.
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