Website Iterations

May 27th, 2008 | Categories: design, launch, off topic, social media, strategy, usability, web issues

Every web company will update its website from time to time. These iterations range in scale and scope, and often only require small tweaks. Other times, an entire revamp is in store. Evolution is necessary but not at the expense of the experience.

I’m a firm believer in small, quick iterations. Lengthy, strung-out launches often lead to delays, team disintegration, a lack of focus, and poor execution. Frequency ensures focus and delivery. More importantly though, small changes minimize the learning curve. With every new launch, an education process is placed upon the user. If this burden can be minimized, then success is likely. If considerable time and effort are needed to familiarize with the new features, then the system is flawed.

Implementing small changes is the key. The new experience should shadow the old experience with the exception of a slightly improved interface and/or a few additional features. YouTube has done a very good job of this. They’ve slowly turned a simple, clean website into a feature-rich, fully functional web experience.

Evolution doesn’t occur overnight. It is a slow, meticulous process that ensures optimal results. This should be goal of every web company.

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  1. Paul Says:


    This is so true. Sometimes designers complain that updating one part of the site will make it look different from the rest. They conclude that this will confuse the users; therefore we need to redesign everything at once. In fact the research done by User Interface Engineering has found that people don’t care if part of the site looks different _as long as they find what they are looking for_.

    I highly recommend you check out this podcast:

  2. Aidan Says:

    Thanks for the podcast link Paul. It was very good.

  3. Dan Says:

    Great topic Aiden! I am a big fan of incremental changes and adaptive strategies when it comes to any software solution including websites. I don’t believe though that we could provide all businesses a common strategy to maintain their websites. Businesses usually go through so many changes in their sales policies, marketing policies and so forth and sometimes these changes are very drastic. On top of that sometimes existing websites are so poorly put together that incremental changes only make them more unusable. To be able to support an incremental strategy for maintaining websites or for that matter any multi-user software you need to spend some time upfront to design it in a way that it is capable of embracing complexity and change. For instance, layout driven or skin driven websites with high quality client-side and server-side software and well modeled databases are better candidates for organic growth and incremental maintenance.

  4. San Diego Web Design Says:

    I couldn’t agree more! I own and operate a web design and development firm in San Diego, CA. we have “gone” throw 2 full redesign concepts - however - we never have the time to fully execute. We introduced a new logo in 2007, so we basically updated the website to include the new logo - and - an update to the buttons, banners, etc. so that the new iteration did not look ad-hoc “ish”. the fonts needed to match, color palette, etc.

    Any iteration is a great step for every company - nothing is more alarming than a website with news articles from 2006! It is a difficult strategy to implement, but it simply takes discipline! Great read! Great comments! I thought we were the only company that struggled to provide quality website content!

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