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Dealing with Redesigning Disease

What Cameron Moll labeled as incessant in his 2005 article is known as redesign these days. If you are aware of the fact, then well and good and if you are not, then I must put the whole thing in a nutshell for you.

The idea that he wanted to put forward was, that great designer readjust a little of the existing programs for a certain goal or purpose, but the good designers make sure that they redesign the existing work based upon the aesthetics of it without giving slightest thought to the matter of users interface.

They normally think that this way the design will turn up better, but what actually happens is he or she disrupts the user experience and make the whole thing worse.

What Moll wanted to say was ‘good designers redesign, great designers realign’. It is indeed very true, but you need to remember that the statement has remained a statement only, because not much has change since then. The trend of redesigning is going on, and it is getting stronger, and realign has become a forgotten concept altogether. Whenever a bad experience occurs with the web, the easiest way is to redesign it, without giving a single thought towards the purpose or the user experience.

It is also true that redesign will cost you more than money. If you don’t believe it then go and ask Gawker about their loss in users. According to Andy Budd, “People expect the pain of losing something to be greater than the value gained from its replacement.” It is very true. When people do not get the older and familiar version of something, they start losing interest into the whole matter rapidly.

The approach is wrong

In order to explain the above statement, you need to understand the requirements of a user and for that you need to have an example. For instance, when you visit the site of a university what do you find out? The site have areas like alumni success story, a tour of the university, events, latest happenings and such, but sadly a potential student does not want such things. All he or she is concerned about knowing about the courses, the dates of getting and submitting of the forms and hostel facilities and other useful information. Sadly though, all the university sites are designed in the former way, which is bound to take away the interest of the students.

The same problems happen with the sites of big or small companies. Instead of the important stuff, they tend to put in things like marketing splash, news on the Twitter or Facebook updates in the page, about which the users are least interested.

A report by Jacob Nielsen here mirrors a comment made by Jared Spool. Both the comments are for the screen real estate, where things which are less likely to matter are put into most importance. These things are not taken as most important by the users. Though, they were a little attracted towards the new designs, but eventually they got back to their older designs with which they were familiar. The reason behind that is those designs were useful, and easier to navigate than the newer and cooler designs and interfaces.

Jason Fried talked about an interesting point based on the state of the design, where he showed the difference between the Google result page and the actual landing page of the site itself. Google concentrates upon the essence of the site, and it is easier and faster to reach to the result or the idea about the topic by going through the Google results.

If you are thinking that a site without design and just containing the most minimum details is the answer to that, then it is not completely true. It shows that the approach is wrong.

Loads of the websites are not sure about their audiences, or what they actually need. The stakeholders are only interested into run the things any way possible. So, things like evaluating a site or app or understanding it or doing the necessary changes is a thing of the past.

I am kind of forced to draw a connection between the state of publishing and the reading experience that is delivered by the Flipboard or Readibility. They are so interested to make money that they have kind of forgotten to design a good thing for better reading experience.

The organizations who are facing problems with redesigning, could have avoided that if they had approached the whole thing a little differently. The focus should have been on the things that actually matter and evaluation of the whole thing to understand what should be fixed and what not.

It goes on and on

Being creative is quite tough, because whenever we are designing anything, the client starts evaluating or dissecting it visually and that is when we start to think about the areas where we need to improve. We do not think about the likes and dislikes of the users and not on the requirements of the clients. We are just interested into redesign the whole thing and that is why we have created the monster.

Some designers in order to prove their talent take a popular application or design and redesign it, which is completely devoid of any insights. If we really want to show our talent and prove how valuable we are then this cannot be the way. This will ultimately prove that we are like machines we can do the work but as we cannot think, all our work is just a waste of time. Do we want that? If not then we have to think about something else.

We have months of experience of the web but the users have hours and minutes, so we must not make them uncomfortable or first make them comfortable and then uncomfortable. The redesigning is going on in full force, and that is giving birth to meaningless designing which will never do anyone any good rather create more problems. So, we need to realign and refine it, focus on the most important points, find out the specific problems and solve them. Big changes are sometimes needed, they are inevitable sometimes but we need to understand the reason for doing it and not start rebuilding at the slightest pretext.


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