How long is the average web design up for?

Hello Site Point friends.
I’m not sure if this question can be answered in any statistically correct way. Is there an average number of years a website is up for before it is redesigned?

I don’t think there’s any way to answer that in a meaningful fashion. There are Web sites up now that were created in 1997 and haven’t been touched since. There are sites that get redesigned or upgraded every day or two. It’s dependent on a thousand factors, everything from content timeliness to an awareness (or lack thereof) of modern design/development standards to the “give a damn” quotient of the owner.

I remember reading in “Web ReDesign 2.0”(stupid name) that a good rule of thumb is a two yearly re-design. That sounds about right to me.

Even if a figure could be put on this, I doubt it would be much use to anyone—except those trying to drum up more design work by convincing people it’s time to upgrade.

Really, though, there are too many factors at play here. The real question is—why upgrade? If it’s just a fashion thing, then it’s a silly idea, IMHO. In all likelihood, loyal visitors will just be put off or confused by the new look.

If a site is to be upgraded, there should be a good reason for it—such as the original code being terrible and needing fixing (a pretty sad reason), or the nature and/or content of the site has changed so much that the old design is no longer suited to it.

Otherwise, a better approach might be to start with a clean code base and then make incremental design changes over time to suit the need. Anyhow, that’s my 2c.

When web sites were laid out using tables redesigning them was a huge job and so redesigns only happened fter long periods such as a year or two.

With CSS redesigning a site is now much easier to implement (minutes instead of months) and so progressive changes at short intervals is now far more common than it used to be.

Sincea complete redesign can alienate regular visitors (as Ralph mentioned) it is far more likely that small changes to the CSS to tweak the design will be made rather than a complete redesign.

Going off of Stephen’s response, Cameron Moll wrote in 2005 about “realigning” a site as opposed to “redesigning” it. Still very applicable today.

Off Topic:

I really miss Moll’s old site design, even in light of it being somewhat obsolete.

Off Topic:

I didn’t really like the old one, but the new one is a little bland. I guess we are going through a bland phase—prolly thanks to responsive design. Hope it won’t last too long.