Three signs it’s time for you to upgrade your website

Even though your website anchors your “owned media,” you’re losing control of your audience’s experience a little more every day. For instance, if readers can’t experience all of your content on mobile devices, they’ll skip to a competitor’s site. If they can’t figure out the next action that you want them to take, they’ll get hung up on your pages. And if your site looks rough or outdated, your audience could just assume you’re outdated, too. Follow these simple content audit steps to determine if your website needs a user experience upgrade.

Your Website Looks Like It Came from the Wayback Machine

The early 1990s may be making a minor fashion comeback, but throwback looks on the department store racks don’t mean your audience will tolerate a website that looks like it escaped from the Bill Clinton era. Today’s responsive, functional websites look a lot different from sites designed just a few years ago. Those clean interfaces and huge typefaces aren’t just for looks—they’re the evolution of how we use web pages across different kinds of devices.

When thinking about refreshing or overhauling your website, consider:

  • Navigability. Can visitors find their way around your site with ease and efficiently to obtain the information they need? Are you breaking Hick’s Law and giving users so many choices that they don’t know where to begin? When planning your navigation, think about what you want your users to do next, then surface those choices in the most prominent places.
  • Accessibility. For a brief moment, web designers embraced an aesthetic that included modest variations between background and text color. Thankfully, we’ve since figured out that contrast sells, because readers can’t understand what you want them to do if they can’t make out your text. That’s not even counting audiences that require assistive services, like users with visual impairments such as color blindness.
  • Economy. A visually cluttered webpage hurts your visitor’s eyes. A 2012 study conducted using Google and YouTube user research found that the less visually complex a webpage, the more it appealed to users.

Your Website’s Not Responsive

By April 2015, the number of mobile-only users surpassed the number of desktop-only users, according to data from comScore. Those numbers will only grow as more people use smartphones to access the web on a more regular basis. That means that a website needs to look as good on a mobile screen as it does on a desktop while providing the same user experience. Although many web publishers have provided “adaptive” user experiences for years, a fully responsive site design means that you can push the same content to a variety of different screen sizes without fear of neglecting any portion of your audience.

Your Website Uses Flash or Other Proprietary Plugins

In 2015, Firefox automatically blocked the Flash plugin because of security issues. Google has floated the idea of blocking Flash by default in its Chrome browser, and it won’t be long before Microsoft and Apple weigh in with their considerable market share. When Flash first emerged on the market, it was the only way you could deliver a rich media experience to your audience through a web browser. However, it’s old, insecure, and Adobe doesn’t even support producing new media on the Flash platform anymore. Instead, developing rich media in HTML5 means your content will flow to just about any web browser without getting caught in security nets or barred by ad blockers.

Unless you’re lucky enough to have an experienced, in-house web design team, futureproofing your website probably falls down your priority list. Yet, that outdated experience could be costing you in lost prospects, abandoned shopping carts, or support for confused customers.

We’ve been managing content streams for our clients since 2012, so we know how to migrate content from an old website to a new content publishing platform like WordPress, Drupal, or SiteCore. And we can even help you manage a website redesign project that’s as simple as picking a base theme to customize or as complex as facilitating custom design work from our partner agencies.

Let’s hop on the phone for a complimentary discovery session to learn how we can work together and bring your site into the responsive era.

Joe Taylor Jr. has produced stories about media, technology, entertainment, and personal finance for over 25 years. His work has been featured on NPR, CNBC, Financial Times Television, and ABC News. After launching one of public radio's first successful digital platforms, Joe helped dozens of client companies launch or migrate their online content libraries. Today, Joe serves as a user experience consultant for a variety of Fortune 500 and Inc. 5000 businesses. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram