Corporate Identity and Website Redesigns

I’ve had this thought for a while and I’m deciding to blog about it now. Currently, my site is in it’s third redesign. My site has been open for a little more than a year, so it’s once every couple of months. I notice this with other sites too. For me, it’s always a fun project to do and lets me flex my muscles on what I can do. Anything is fair game and I learn some along the way.

Though I don’t see this is the case with corporate sites. Most companies don’t make major or even minor changes to their site for years. They do this to keep their image, but images change. Recent examples include Intel and AT&T. It costs money in the corporate world for web site development, but I think it is well worth the time to give a site a slight makeover every once and a while. I don’t see why they still insist on making sites that don’t comply to web standards even though they don’t take as long to load and looks better cross-browser and cross-OS. Giving a refresh every couple of months will give users a surprise and lets them enjoy it. Not everyone likes everything, but making slight design and functionality changes will keep people coming back.

Even though I’m a coder at heart, I think a lackluster design will go over worse than little functionality. Most people will make a judgment about a site they open in the first fractions of seconds they are looking at it. Users really don’t care about what amazing coding job you did, if you have whitespace galore and a cryptic looking site. You can easily tell if a person is a designer or coder by just looking at their site. Have a look at difference between Linus Torvalds and HicksDesign. Hick’s site is much more pleasing on the eye while Torvald’s site is just a bunch of text. I still say it’s content over style, but you have to equalize that equation and bring some style into the picture.

Looking at it from the corporate standpoint, it takes time and resources, but it is beneficial and will bring customers coming with a fresh design and new functionality. Keeping that old image will not help you and it might even hurt if people get bored with it. If you look at websites that haven’t been changed since the 90s, you will look at it with disgust. It’s time for the corporate world to respect their websites and make more frequent design and functionality changes to keep users on their heels.

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