If we have one piece of advice to anyone thinking of getting their website re-designed, it is to keep it simple! As simple as possible in fact!
"you don't use your website - your customers do"
Often when design ideas are being put together for a website design, the client and the design agency sit around and discuss how they would like the website to look.Very often your current website started as a simple design, has ended up looking "busy" and "clunky", due to contant changes in the subsquent period. Actually, what is more important is how your customers would like to use your website. Any design ideas should be based around what your target customer would like to achieve on your website, when they arrive there.
"design to make it easier to complete tasks, not just for design sake"
If you are discussing a re-design amongst your team, how many ideas would relate to deisgn issues, and how many would relate to making the website easier to use? If you were to look at your website from your clients' perspective, you would probably find that their "wish list" would greatly differ from yours.
Why is that? In an excellent article - "Website Design: Impatient Versus Bored", Gerry McGovern, points out that " Customers are much more likely to get impatient with your website than they are to be bored with it." This is a very important point to remember - and may offer a different approach to how you view a re-design. Try asking a few customers, using analytics software, or simply test non technical family members into completing tasks you think they should be able to accomplish on your website. (Be careful not to criticise, no matter how basic the mistake!!) Then get together a list of "areas of user frustration " on your website and compare this to your original design "wish list".
To conclude, keep it simple, and reap the rewards!