Usability Tools Podcast: Avoiding Redesigns

Jared Spool

December 3rd, 2007

Usability Tools Podcast: Avoiding Redesigns
Recorded: November 20th, 2007 from the studios of UIE
Brian Christiansen, UIE Podcast Producer
Duration: 13 min | File size: 7.6 MB
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[ Text Transcript ]


Each week in our Usability Tools Podcast, we will be sitting down to discuss tips and tools for improving your site’s user experience. The goal of our weekly podcast is to share some of the most important findings from UIE’s research on web design and usability.

This week, Brian Christiansen and I discuss avoiding redesigns. When we talk about avoiding redesigns, we don’t think your should stay anchored in the past, far from it. But we think the best route to change is through incremental deployment.

Some of the issues we addressed were:

• Why is a site-wide redesign in one major relaunch a bad idea?
• What are some of the leading sites doing when they want a new design?
• How can staged redesigns help avert risk?
• How do users react to staged redesigns?

We find the staged redesign is the most effective way to go about changing your site. Listen in to find out how you can harness this technique to make your next project more effective.

As always, we’re very interested in hearing from you. Do you have questions or comments about this episode? We love to create shows based on your questions. Please leave a comment below or email us directly at

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11 Responses to “Usability Tools Podcast: Avoiding Redesigns”

  1. Nate Klaiber Says:

    In regards to Amazon re-designing, isn’t that what they recently did? A completely new layout and the interface has been moved around. While I understand the premise and foundation, what are the thoughts with Amazon re-designing?

  2. KM Says:

    I wouldn’t say Amazon re-designed, I’d say they re-aligned. All the sections are essentially the same, they’ve been slowly working towards this layout that they currently have. Everything is still very familiar, the only thing that is “very” different is the main navigation which is now on the side and with dropdowns. This was a long time coming because they were really pushing the limits of their tabbed navigation.

  3. Nate Klaiber Says:

    So what is the difference between a re-align and a re-design? They clearly re-designed. The design is no longer the same. The architecture is not the same. The hierarchy is slightly different in several areas. I wouldn’t say everything is familiar, I used to easily be able to get to my profile and a few other sections, now I have to hunt for those things.

    I think re-align is a buzzword to avoid re-design, personally. If they simply updated the design slightly, but the navigation, structure, and hierarchy stayed the same – then I would consider it a re-align, but they changed much more than that. As you pointed out, the navigation is in a completely different spot.

    I understand it was a long time coming, and I do like it – but I don’t understand how this isn’t considered a large re-design?

  4. Lis Says:

    I’d also like to hear the difference. My company just went through a similar exercise to what Amazon has done. We restructured the pages within the site as well as change the box model of the pages. It sure felt like a huge redesign to me, but I’m interested in hearing the rationale behind calling it a re-alignment.

  5. Paul Willard Says:

    I love incrimental change for the company’s needs; makes development lower risk, allows you to learn and adjust allong the way, promotes more efficient development processes like agile and extreme. I often debate if a customer would rather see their site constantly changing underneath them vs seeing one big change every year or two. For shopping sites and customer acquistion flows that people use less frequently, this would not matter, and you might as well enjoy the benefits of continuous small change, but a service oriented site like banking with trust issues and frequent repeat visits might prefer less frequent, larger changes and the appearance of greater stability to continuous small incremental changes and the appearance of dynamicism.

  6. Daniel Szuc Says:

    We use the term “redesign” and often its spoken of as it related to “visual change” which makes sense. Change a template, navigation, color, widget etc

    However, what truly drives something that needs to change — What drives Amazon to tweak? What drives Netflix to Tweak? What drives Google to Tweak?

    What should teams be looking for to help better determine if something needs to change?

    I dont think anything should just be redesigned for the sake of a new look (although often thats the case). It should go much deeper into questions that designers can talk to as to why the change has happened in the first place. Then the conversation moves away from colors, brand to other useful stuff to talk to the business about.

  7. Kevin Crossman Says:

    I like the podcast and especially like the intro music. I’ve sent you guys several notes asking who the artist is, but no response. I’d think that if you’re using some artists music in your podcast that you would either attribute it someplace or (as a courtesy to the band) respond to inquiries regarding it (I’d love to purchase their songs!). So, who does the music? 🙂

  8. David Nilsson Says:

    Good Designers Redesign, Great Designers Realign

    The “buzzword” explained.

  9. Design Consistency and Redesign | Jeff Bridgforth :: Webcraftsman Says:

    […] Jared Spool’s Podcast Avoiding Redesigns […]

  10. Myth #11: 주기적으로 웹사이트의 디자인을 바꿔야 한다? | Clearboth Says:

    […] Jared Spool는 모든것을 한번에 리디자인하는 것은 비용이 많이 들며 대단히 위험하기 때문에 피해야 한다고 주장한다. 그대신, 그는 비즈니스 변화에 유연한 단계적 접근을 권장하고 있다. – Avoiding Redesigns (podcast) […]

  11. [Myth] You need to redesign your website periodically | Says:

    […] Jared Spool argues that all-at-once redesigns are to be avoided because they are costly and very risky. Instead, he advises an incremental approach that is flexible to business changes. – Avoiding Redesigns (podcast) […]

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