Just about everyone has heard of or seen the monstrosity of a redesign that failed. However, bitterness can also be suffered by small businesses. This scenario can be averted if existing traffic is taken into consideration in the redesign process.
The guide below should help you to stay on track when creating a redesign project to keep older visitors happy. If you are in the middle of one right now, you should also be able to get help.
There are a lot of things to consider besides technical elements of your app or website, before you consider making a change to the current design. Make sure you have an acceptable reason for the change(s), because your existing visitors have certain expectations.
Request Current Users Input
Always maintain an open line of communication with your users. Advise them of your idea to make changes and ask for their input. Give them opportunities to test the new design. You will come across those who are creatures of habit and do not like any change. However, you will also get some insight into what they feel should be left alone and what should be changed.
Allow Users to Adjust to Changes on Their Own Time
This deals more with app type sites like social media. You will get fewer complaints if you let users convert when they are ready to make the change. They need time to adjust to using the new interface. However, it is important to put a deadline on the change. Provide your users with a specific date the current interface will be discontinued.
Use a Feedback Tool
A feedback tool will provide your users with a method of letting you know their likes and dislikes. Use this tool either when you launch or during testing. Be sure to address all issues mentioned by more than five people.
Detail Your Redesign Decision
Create a blog post discussing your plans to redesign. Provide detailed reasons of your functionality goal or what the improvements will do for user interface. Otherwise, your users may think that you are only doing it for aesthetic reasons.
Present a Tutorial or Tour
If you are drastically reconstructing page elements, offer a video tutorial or tour outlining the new features and design. This will help existing users adapt quickly to the changes. It shows them that their experience is important to you, and you want it to be the best that it can be for them.
Tips on Fixing a Failed Redesign
• Damage Control: Openly acknowledge the failure. Let users know that you are considering their concerns. Choose an outlet that reaches the highest amounts of users. For example, your company blog or Twitter.
• Address Complaints: Address complaints as specifically as possible. Start with the most complaints about a particular function. Offer any helpful tips or information via a blog post or a mass email, or make a change. If the problem is really big, the better solution is probably to make the change.
• Go Back to the Old Design: If the complaints are massive and affecting your traffic, change back to the old design until the problems can be fixed.