There has been a lot of talk lately about whether one should redesigning or evolve an existing design. The former has many obvious appeals, you can take a drab design and trash it for something new and sexy. We also as people tend to acclimate to a design, the more times we see it the less it “wow”s us. So for those reasons it is hard to resist scrapping a design for something completely new.
Too often people opt for a redesign when evolution clearly is the better option. Now in most cases this is an options, but there are some where a site is so far gone or basic that you simply can’t work with them and you have to start a new.
However most of the time you really don’t want to do a complete redesign, as any increase in aesthetic or functional value can easily be lost in brand degradation. When you completely redesign your site you essentially are rebranding the site. Every element that you reinvent becomes new to any reoccurring visitor. Where before they knew what to expect, what your company/blog/site/service stood for, they now are unsure what to expect and what this new “brand” is promising or targeting towards.
This is why many times you simply want to evolve your site. Every element on your site is a part of the brand of your site. Regardless if you are a blog, a company, providing a service, a web app, etc… As you redesign your pages you likely will be looking to improve, the trick is to avoid reinventing the wheel instead of simply improving it. By improving it instead of inventing something new not only do you you save time and/or money, but you still achieve the same result you are looking for and them some by improving on your brand instead of reinventing it.
Every time you change a graphical or functional element really think about how necessary it is.