Minimising Risk or why you shouldn’t re-design and re-platform at the same time.

I think back to the major site relaunch projects I’ve worked on in the last ten years and I see a pattern. When I started working on the web back in 2003 the projects I worked on were all second versions of sites. Version one sites were typically basic, hurried and often naive designs that had one objective, get us on the internet. The move from version one to version two sites was a glory period. A client once said to me “You could hit our website with a stick and it would be better than it is now”. Success was relatively easy to achieve. Crazy increases in conversion and other metrics; 500% increase in sales, 200% increase in successful applications were not uncommon. Version two sites were good, solid well executed builds. We as an industry had learnt how to do things well. The majority of large scale projects are version three. The days of huge increases in sales are behind us. In fact I’ve come across projects where the opposite happens. Where a new site performs worse than it’s predecessor. The common factor? Re-designing and re-platforming at the same time. Your trusted but long in the tooth version two website has had years of tweaking from user research and MVT / A|B testing. It has evolved to be pretty damn good. There are always incremental improvements that can be made but large scale jumps in performance require a re-design. Your tech team, similarly, have had years to iron out issues around uptime, performance and integration with your platform. A re-design will give you a leap in performance...