Your Old Website is the Best Prototype of Your New Website

Your Old Website is the Best Prototype of Your New Website


Let’s say you and your team are ready
to redesign your website. So, where should you start? Resist the temptation to start
designing right away. Don’t get on the computer right away. Before you design, there’s two usability studies
that I usually recommend that teams do. The first one is to conduct a usability study
of your old website. Before you discard your old website, you can
probably learn something from it. You probably have existing customers who love
some aspect of your existing website. You want to know what that is, so that you
can incorporate those ideas into your new design. Your old website is the best prototype of
your new website. Sure, it’s not perfect, but it’s not good
enough to say that it’s bad. You want to know why it’s bad and what is
specific about that, that you can improve or change moving forward. You also want to know what
your existing customers think. There are some aspects of your design that
maybe some customers really love, or really need, to get their work done. You want to be aware of these patterns and
these types of feedback; and as you move forward, see if you can incorporate these ideas into
your new design. My second recommendation is to perform a competitive
usability study. Usability test sites that you admire, have
features that you’re interested in, or have workflows that you are thinking about including
in your next redesign. Rather than creating a brand new prototype
to evaluate these ideas, these websites are already trying to solve some of those problems
that you’re trying to solve. In the process, you’ll discover which new
interactions might be effective for your new website and also which mistakes to avoid. Now, these foundational studies don’t need
to take a lot of your time. One to two days is usually sufficient. So, save the time. Rather than coming up with your own prototypes,
remember: some of these prototypes already exist in the real world. Your existing website is probably the best
prototype of your new design.

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