As I lay awake in bed last night, I was thinking about a cool website that had earned a reputation with developers. It leveraged something called Parallax scrolling, which is a graphic technique that uses multiple backgrounds to create a sense of depth. It was very well done (Parallax tends to be either really cool or really bad). As I scrolled across the page, layers were being visually added to a sneaker. I was very impressed by the designer or developer who had implemented it, but last night I couldn't for the life of me remember what company it was advertising.
This happens to organizations way too often. They want to be cool, and the cool factor draws attention away from the main purpose of the website, which is to attract new customers. They did a great job of creating a website that people talked about, but only among us techno-weenies. Were we sharing the site to show the cool new sneaker? No. We were sharing it, because it had really cool animation. However, if there had been some kind of cool animation around their logo, they might have had more success in creating the brand identity that I missed.
Clearly, the lesson is that companies shouldn 't redesign their sites just because they want to look better. Will it help them attract new site visitors? Will it help convert traffic? If, for example, there is a problem with conversion rates, and a redesign will instill confidence in the latest security standards, then it makes sense because that is addressing customer needs. If you 're a web development agency and implementing cool new techno-weenie features get people talking about you, fantastic. Just make sure all that social sharing is satisfying the ultimate goal.
At CommonPlaces, we recently redesigned our website. We identified a need to improve our functionality, and to place emphasis on more quality content. We certainly recognize the need to be fresh and interesting. However, along the way we crafted some cool features to add some visual panache to that content. This way, we capitalized on our main mission to improve our website features.
Your website can have it all. There 's a place for everything, Know your goals and speak to them. That way you won 't lose any sleep over your website design.