Linkup’s design teams confirm the at online businesses were losing up to 90% of potential users due to poorly-designed sites before our intervention. If an online store has a complicated buying process and customers cannot intuitively find a particular section or button, they will buy the product elsewhere. If customers have trouble purchasing tickets in a concert app, they won't attend the event or will buy them in a more convenient app. If a real estate platform has an application form that requires too much personal data and is hard to find in the listing, the customer won't submit it and will leave. This rule applies to almost any business.
Design refresh vs. Product redesign
What are the primary purposes and benefits of each concept?
A design refresh is a visual improvement. It involves changing the color and appearance of the user interface: forms, icons, pictures, videos, the appearance of elements, and more. It forms the customer's first impression of the app, site, or product. According to Taylor & Francis Online research, it takes 0.05 seconds for a customer to like or dislike a digital product, so it is by no means a trivial task.
A simple design update can be compared to painting a car a different color, replacing cracked windows, and cleaning up its cabin.
Product redesign in the same car analogy means comprehensive and research-based improvements under the hood, such as upgrades in the engine, fuel distribution system, or transmission settings. Although not immediately apparent, these modifications have a significant impact on the driving experience.
Similarly, redesigning digital products like apps, websites, or other digital products involves a deeper-level approach to create a solution that customers need and lack. It addresses business logic, product functionality, architectural design, and other core elements. It also includes upgrading backend software such as CRM, site CMS, site administration, and more, along with creating an attractive interface to make the solution more customer-friendly.
Which is better?
It entirely depends on your current market position, resources available, company goals, and further development plan. At Linkup, we are always honest with our clients and recommend only thorough research-based solutions options to ensure they will make a difference for your business.
A number of clients approached us after unscrupulous companies took money for a complete redesign but didn't deliver a valuable solution. Some contacted us after a design refresh, even though they apparently needed thoroughly redesigned products.
Main reasons for redesigning a product
Our business analysis team have collected and structured all the insights we got working with startups and SMEs. They've formulated the following pivotal cases for companies in different industries and niches, indicating when a certain redesign or product revamp is needed:
- The system is outdated and needs a more modern and useful look and interface.
- Lack of branding and brand awareness.
- Conversion rates and business performance are decreasing.
- There are plans to expand into new markets.
- Competitors are updating their product design and outperforming you in efficiency.
- Following a new investment round, a startup needs a more detailed design to attract more customers and stand out among competitors.
Most clients we have worked with in this service notice they need a redesign long before the breaking point. They carefully analyze the KPIs of their business, make plans, and regularly check their execution. If they notice problems and identify pain points, they ask for help with carefully formulated requests. We appreciate this and are particularly inspired to work with such customers.
Linkup's proven product redesign process
When providing redesign services, our design team has established a general procedure to make sure digital products are getting results. We'll outline the most extensive cycle we follow, but from project to project, the need and immersion in each step may vary according to your current business objective.
1. Business understanding & UX audit
First, our business analysis team dives into the client's business: interviews them, and notes down business goals, values, challenges, target audience, existing market solutions, strategies, and sales channels. We also define the "success" characteristics of the collaboration to ensure we are on the same page.
Then, we move on to practical implementation and evaluation of the effectiveness of the current solutions. For this, we collect information from heatmaps (with visual data on clicks, scrolls, and mouse movement tracking) and/or conduct user surveys to get relevant information on what users are looking for and what critical points cause them not to complete targeted actions.
We also use specialized tools such as Google Analytics and Hotjar to get information about users' location, their engagement with a product and conversion rates, traffic and sales, etc.
Depending on the project, we define user personas as well. For instance, we worked with a beauty industry platform that included several user types: members, experts, and businesses. To figure out each of these user types' setbacks and challenges, we conducted surveys and precisely identified their pain points to create a better user experience for all of them.
Once we obtain sufficient information from the steps above, we create a current customer journey map to identify bottlenecks and suggest subsequent improvements.
We also use some of Jacob Nielsen's heuristics for a more complete evaluation of the current UX/UI design.
Then we gather all the received information in one place and form a single document called "UX Audit Report".
2. Competition & market research
The next part of the analysis is a thorough study of competitors. Don Corleone instructed keeping enemies even closer than friends, which makes sense in this case as well. A go-to-market strategy involves knowing everything about existing solutions and seeing your business capabilities and capacity to meet the user needs you have previously uncovered.
For this purpose, our design and development team has developed convenient tables and charts showing all the features, advantages, and disadvantages of already functioning products. Before conducting research, we determine what data we are looking for and how to transform it into actionable indicators and form unique selling propositions, i.e determine what product functionality or client management aspects set your solution apart.
In our team, we are especially interested in defining digital product use cases. It helps us learn more about our users, the devices they use, and what trigger points make them use the solution. We take into account a variety of factors, including at what time, in what mood, or physical condition consumers interact with the product. Based on these seemingly minuscule situations, it's possible to impact the end-user experience significantly.
For example, our use case for a large translation and language learning platform revealed that users often use the app on the go with one hand, e.g., while riding the bus. As a result, we decided to reduce the amount of screen information and added side swipes to undo actions, making it more convenient to use.
The experience map is a follow-up to the previous steps. It describes the goals, questions, and concerns of different users at different stages of customer product interaction, such as awareness, consideration, and others, all the way up to the trial period or first transaction. This helps us prioritize your company's customer journey objectives more accurately and define KPIs to track the achievement of your goals.
3. User experience design creation
When we accurately understand your business, current resources, and product users, our design architect specialists start creating the user experience design.
The first step is creating a site map diagram. Its goal is to visualize website's structural hierarchy, interrelationships between pages, and navigation mechanism. A sitemap is an excellent tool for establishing user journeys, both internal and external links to sharpen the overall user experience.
The subsequent step is user flows, which are visual step-by-step linked blocks describing the actions for each section necessary to achieve its particular goal. Our frontend and backend developers point out that such descriptions and specifications help them greatly because they can then grasp the overall vision of the process and comprehend alternative user scenarios, including all possible triggers, threads, and errors.
All of the above leads to the creation of medium-fidelity wireframes. It gives stakeholders a visual representation of the product in a design layout with its main parts, graphics, sections, various blocks, buttons, filters, images, graph placement, and other elements depending on the digital product type. It helps present the solution and align the future product look with our team's and your company’s overarching idea.
4. User interface design creation
During this stage, we use our expertise in creating visuals to make the clients' products memorable, visually appealing, and valuable to users. Furthermore, we also assist in achieving all of the mentioned business goals.
First, we create mood boards with our references and references from other sites, as well as related products outlining options for different design elements, styles, fonts, and more. Then our design team organizes a meeting with the client to sync up and figure out which elements they prefer.
Based on your preferences, we create a "Style Option" file in which we give several layout examples, allowing business representatives to see the different UI choices and decide what they like best. In the end, we agree on the winning one.
Designers then create user interface layouts. Our team can make them from scratch or based on stakeholder vision with recommendations and guidelines.
Once they are agreed, we create a clickable prototype so testers and the client side can review the draft solution, make additional notes and discuss new proposals.
The next major visual redesign component is creating a Design System, which contains all the rules for further design and coding to ensure the company’s brand consistency. With such a file, internal business teams can maintain the same visual appearance as the product is scaled and new features, product parts, and pages are added.
The design system includes style guidelines such as icons, element spacing, and libraries with navigation rules, design elements, overlays, and other.
Creating a pixel-perfect design is essential, but coding it accurately is just as important. If our clients plan to develop a product with a different team, we agree on convenient collaboration documents and depth of specification description. If Linkup continues development, a business analyst describes the key functional points and collaborates with each developer to create the highest quality product.
In general, development specifications include not only design descriptions such as colors, typography, and size but also product logic, rules, restrictions, validations, and many other explanations. It is necessary because developers may not get enough information about how the system works from the visual interface alone. For example, why some users are marked as "best sellers" but others are not - such information is described in the specifications.
Development & final stages
The success of redesigning a digital product largely depends on proper and on-time development. In our best practices, companies that value project duration time can benefit by parallel starting the development phase immediately after the wireframes are ready.
Our clients share it’s also essential to create a phased product launch and deploy new features little by little, considering that with these changes we’re confusing and even stressing customers who got used to the product's previous appearance and functions.
Since it's never possible to develop an utterly perfect product, after launch our team continues to collect usage analytics and creates special reports for you with notices on further product changes based on trends in user behavior.
Our company motto states we strive to bring the results that matter. For this reason, we are always honest and transparent about our approach how to redesign a product for each of our clients. That's why we do in-depth research first to guarantee an effective result and meet customer expectations.