Websites are like roads. Discuss.

It’s been a cold and snowy winter.  A lot of the roads I drive on a daily basis have suffered.  They are now a patchwork of potholes, previously filled potholes and some original tarmac.  It’s akin to driving on roads in some Developing countries.

I can’t help thinking that a number of websites are like this.  Someone discovers a ‘hole’ (missing content, outdated functionality etc.), and they come up with a patch.  This could be a new page on the site, casually added to a section where it doesn’t quite fit.  Or a new piece of functionality which may or may not fit seamlessly with the existing content and functionality.  The website becomes that patch-worked road.

I look at these roads and wonder whether it would be better just to start all over again?  I realise that this would cause a great deal of disruption, in the short term.  And would probably cost a large sum of money, again in the short term.  But think of those long term savings.  And you could have a nice smooth road to drive on.

Equally for websites, what could be a worse user experience than not being able to find the information you want?  And not being able to use functionality on a site?  And for all the other inconsistencies that are likely to arise as a result of adding things ad hoc to a website.

It can’t be a bad idea, when a significant number of changes are required, or have been made over time, just to wipe the slate clean and start afresh.  Done properly, you can then ensure an exceptional (and consistent) user experience on your site.

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