Redesigns are tricky.
As a team of business strategists and product designers, we’re always looking at how users react when their favorite apps are updated and redesigned.
We’ve all seen what happens when a redesign goes wrong…
Snapchat’s big redesign was bashed in 83% of user reviews.
It’s hard to keep everyone happy when you’re changing an experience they’ve grown familiar with, but it’s also possible to redesign your app without frustrating thousands of users — it just takes the right steps.
After working with hundreds of startups on mobile app redesigns, we want to give you a look at our process. We sat down with Nasos, a designer / UX research expert at Melewi, to come up with a few tips for reducing churn during a major redesign.
1. Understand the nature of a redesign
A redesign is a cyclic process of prototyping, analyzing, and refining.
There is no finish line.
Products and user interfaces require continuous review and iteration — there’s always room for improvement as long as you’re willing to look for it.
The perfect redesign is a fresh, updated look that still feels familiar to users (it’s harder than it sounds). And order to achieve that, you need to communicate with your users throughout the process.
2. Set the big picture: start with business and user goals
What results are you really after with your redesign? Do you want to increase conversion? Reduce churn? Double your engagement? Or is it a new visual styling? Are you losing market share to competitors?
Don’t blindly follow design trends without a strategy. Every redesign should solve specific problems your users or business are facing.
If your key issue lies with low sign-ups, then don’t spend time working on new features. If the problematic part of your funnel is churn, then don’t spend time on fancy visual interactions.
At Melewi, we workshop every single redesign, starting with a clear list of problems, and a list of quantifiable, trackable set of business goals.
Once you’ve established why you’re embarking on a redesign, it’s vital to keep coming back to that throughout the redesign process — the why should inform all of your product and design decisions.
3. Talk to users AND look at numbers to find the real heart of the problem(s)
Starting a redesign without evaluating customer feedback is like remodeling your house without a blueprint. And ignoring metrics and numbers can prove fatal.
This is your opportunity to gain insight into users’ current experiences, what they like, and what they dislike.
Opening this line of communication before starting your redesign is crucial if you want to measure the direct impact of your changes.
Watching your analytics across the entire funnel will have you tune into where you might be losing customers. Perhaps your bounce rate on Google Analytics is high – do you need to modify your value proposition and messaging?
It’s important to go over all of this information with the entire team to make sure everyone understands what the priorities are. Addressing complaints, questions, and feature requests prior to starting the design phase allows the design team to get a clear picture of what they need to refine.
4. Test, iterate, test, iterate and then think about launching
You can never do too much testing. We can’t help but believe Snapchat’s big flop could have been avoided had they done more testing prior to releasing the update publicly.
Instagram does a great job of this. Before Instagram implements any drastic design tweaks or feature changes, the design team always tests with a small group of public users. That’s how they’ve managed to maintain an engaged audience without losing users when they make changes to the platform.
Instagram was getting ready to ditch the iconic, endlessly scrollable feed that millions of users grew to love in favor of a ‘horizontally tappable’ navigation similar to IG Stories.
Well, users freaked out and the changes were scrapped a couple of hours later.
That’s why testing is so important. Even if Instagram did release this feature to a larger group of users than they wanted to, the impact was minimal. The design team listened for immediate feedback and reverted back to scrolling as soon as they saw how much backlash the new navigation style was receiving.
The takeaway? Don’t think about launching until you’ve got feedback to support your changes. This means testing, testing, testing, and more testing. It’s impossible to iterate on your redesign without getting feedback from people outside of the office.
What you learn may go against your initial predictions, that’s why it’s so crucial to work with real users throughout the redesign process. Absorbing this information and iterating further prevents you from releasing something that causes users to get frustrated and jump ship in mass.
Featured image from Unsplash