• Zachary Wallace

The Why and How for Redesigns

Updated: Apr 26, 2020

As you may have seen, we have been working on a pretty hefty project for the past three months… a redesign! Redesigns are commonplace for many companies as the world of technology continues to improve. So let’s run through what a redesign includes.

First, we knew that we needed to really showcase our skills if we wanted to write about Software Development and Digital Marketing. For this reason, we wanted to pull out all of the stops and create something worth discussing. Basically… it was time to prove to our readers that we know how to walk the walk as opposed to just talking the talk. Hopefully, you can see how much time we put into this, and we will dive into the fundamentals of our platform. I don’t want to leave any stone unturned!

As a blogging platform, we keep our content in something called a Content Management Systems, or CMS for short. There are many pre-built CMS platforms out there, and they are fantastic for people that do not have the resources or time to build out a fully functional platform. On the consultation side, the hourly rates for software developers range anywhere from $50 to over $200 an HOUR. And yes, you read that right… $200 an hour. If you are reading this, and you aren’t a Software Engineer, did you just briefly consider switching professions? I hear you on that, but as a Software Engineer, I can tell you it takes many years of experience before you attempt to sell yourself for that type of hourly rate.

So, why did we decide to pull the rug out from under the old website and move toward a brand new look and feel? Well, we knew that we needed to impress you all, and I hope it worked. A slick website will portray confidence and intelligence to any audience. This should be the case, regardless of your field. For us, we knew that we needed to reduce our bounce rate and improve our usability for the site. We have varying types of content that we want to provide for our users, and we want to build out an underlying product for our website as well.

So, in essence, it was inevitable before we moved over to our own system. Now, how do you know when it’s time to consider a redesign? As many answers in Computer Science begin… it depends. If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, I would suggest thinking about a redesign.

Is it difficult for your customers to understand your mission from your website?Is your website misleading your customers?Is your website having usability issues?Does your current website limit your capabilities?

On the surface, you can see in the image that our old website answered yes to both the first and third questions. Under the hood, this CMS severely limited our ability to build out the product that will run this site. So, we said yes to the fourth question as well. With this information, we concluded that it was time for a redesign. Although I must admit, it didn’t take much to persuade me into this.

When going through a redesign, it’s important to know that this will completely change how your users see and know your current website or product. Could this prevent your users from trusting you over time, or will your customers understand your efforts are with their thoughts in mind? Honestly, Joe and I are hoping you are the kind, understanding readers that won’t run away as we try to perfect our art! Anyways… then, you need to think about what you will need from your end to move forward with a redesign. This is where a prototype will come in handy, and if you are great at making a prototype with a program like invision, go for it! Otherwise, the first place to start is with the ole’ pen and paper. Before I move forward, you should know that I wasn’t born with a design bone in my body…. So, don’t worry if it looks neat at first. To start, I took out a few sheets of paper, and I began by writing out the first few features that I knew were important to our site.

  • Need to share what is important to us

  • Need to share who we areNeed to have a place to feature recent posts

  • Need to have a place to contact us (And please do so!)

  • Need to share our posts in an organized fashion

  • Digital Marketing

  • Software Development

  • Space for Guest Bloggers

As you can see, this was purely for brainstorming the important aspects of our site. We don’t need to get into the API calls, nor do we need to get into Object Oriented Programming… all we want to do is a clearly defined list for us to reference as a baseline. Any other features that we think about throughout our development should make their way on this list! So, we took those features, and we organized them into a few different pages:

  • Home Page

  • Share our Mission

  • Featured Content

  • About UsContact

  • Digital Marketing Pages

  • Organized space for blogs

  • Software Development Pages

  • Organized space for blogs

  • Community

  • Organized space for blogs

  • Products

  • (Shhhh this is under construction)

Once we mapped these out, it was time to start drawing!

After mapping out the pages for our website, we had to make design decisions. These designs ranged from considering various colors across our website to the page design for our blog posts. This is a really large aspect of a redesign, but it is one of the most important. The reason for this is that you need consistency. Consistency is absolutely necessary to provide assurances to your users. Luckily, Joe is really good with design, so I didn’t have to worry too much about it!

This concludes the beginning part of the redesign. In the next post, I want to dive into how we built our website specifically.

“What separates design from art is that design is meant to be... functional.

Cameron Moll

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