Revolution or evolution?

Paul Boag

In my last podcast, I spoke about choosing the right design for your site. In the past, I have also written about the need for sites to evolve rather than redesign. Therefore, I thought I would put some of my theories to the test, with the redesign of boagworld.

Ever since my podcast co-host (Marcus) joked that it was about time boagworld got a face lift, I have been mulling over what to do with the site. Obviously, I am not going to change the site just because Marcus said so but equally there are a number of reasons why the site needs some attention:

  • We had a new logo for the boagworld podcast waiting to be launched
  • The sites code is looking a little dated and doesn’t really reflect the latest techniques I have been using elsewhere
  • The sites layout is very much like a personal blog and not very reflective of the community aspects of boagworld.
  • I want to move away from a fixed width site, which is no longer reflective of the approach I take on commercial projects.

A revolution

With all of that in mind, I started the process of redesigning. As it was my site I simply let rip and just had fun rather than worrying too much about things like brand identity. The new design was a radical departure from the current site, with no real continuity. Despite this, I really liked the design. Sometimes it is fun to shake things up and shatters preconceptions, especially when it is your site and you don’t have to worry about "business realities". Without a doubt, this approach was very much a revolution rather than an evolution of the boagworld site.

View the more radical design approach

An evolution

However, the more I looked at it and the more I thought about it, the more I began to worry. This radical departure flew in the face of the advice I gave in my "site evolution" post. In this post, I suggested that a site should gradually evolve over time rather than go through periodic redesigns. One of my reasons for this approach is that it keeps continuity in brand identity and doesn’t leave users feeling overwhelmed when they see the new site. I therefore went back to the drawing board and produced a more conservative design, which was more in line with the existing site.

View the more evolutionary design approach

What do you think?

So how do I decide which approach to adopt? In the end, I have decided to take some of my own advice from my last podcast: "Ask your audience".

If you are reading this post then you are very definitely my audience. So what do you think? Which approach is better and why?