UIEtips: Extraordinarily Radical Redesign Strategies

Jared Spool

March 20th, 2013

In this week’s UIEtips Jared M. Spool discusses three radical redesign approach strategies.

Here’s an excerpt from the article

It’s your most loyal customers who will hate your flip-the-switch redesign the most. Designers are quick to declare, “Users hate change.” But that’s not it at all.

Your loyal users have invested a lot over the years mastering your current design, to the point where they are fast and efficient with everything they need to do. When you change it, even with something you want to label “new and improved,” all of that investment is flushed down the drain.

Read the article: Extraordinarily Radical Redesign Strategies.

What strategy have you put in place when planning a redesign? Tell us about it below.

3 Responses to “UIEtips: Extraordinarily Radical Redesign Strategies”

  1. Justin H Says:

    I agree with this approach, but I think responsive design really throws a wrench in it. If you’re looking at making your site responsive, chances are you have to change a lot of the underlying front-end code and change the design. While it’s certainly possible to to make it look the same, it’s difficult and IMHO not worth the extraordinary effort.

    On a recent project we took a more achievable approach of having a long beta period introducing people to our new redesigned responsive site. There were prominent links on the old site to the new site, and we invited and responded to feedback, both internally and from our visitors. We made it clear when the beta site was going to become the regular site. For us, this worked well, and we received minimal negative feedback.

  2. irene Says:

    Newspapers and magazines have rarely made major changes to their formats. They gradually change fonts, colours, layouts and content. We don’t generally notice these changes. But at the same time the publication is keeping up to date and modern so we are never bored.

    Every so often the changes may be a little more significant and we will notice them. But we can cope and don’t feel that our magazine is too unfamiliar

    Now I know that magazines are not very difficult to navigate but we do develop our favourite columns and pages and know where to find them. Like websites we rarely read from page 1 through to the end. We go to the writer or topic we enjoy most or that we always read on the train. This gradual approach to change has worked for decades.

    Many department stores and supermarkets continually tweak their layouts, and stock for strategic or seasonal reasons but only rarely do they make massive changes. Of course they have the advantage of being able to post a sign or have a staff member standing there or announcing over the microphone to redirect us.

    It is much easier to splice in changes like this. The office politics don’t all click in at once. Everyone’s domain gets lots of devoted attention at some time. And if sudden changes must be made then it is never too late to make them happen quickly. Nothing needs to be locked down in one massive new release date. And if a mistake is made it can be quickly fixed.

    The sudden change approach reminds me of news reports of small countries that suddenly change from driving on one side of the road to another. At least people are warned but all of a sudden drivers as well as passengers in old cars and pedestrians have to act differently. In this case it could be life threatening. But of course this all has to be done at the same moment.

  3. Sveta Says:

    This makes me think about design changes in Gmail and Facebook.

    I remember Google offering to try the new look of Gmail inbox while giving an option to go back to the existing design – which I think helped users with transition to the new design.

    It’s interesting about Facebook, however – it seems that many users complain every time they see new features added and feel disoriented.

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