We love the challenges associated with the possibility of creating things from scratch, but it can’t be denied that a large part of our work projects require us to refer to existing resources and use them as a base. Many of our clients already have some elements of their visual identification or tools that meet specific tasks, which is why we are often commissioned only to redesign certain solutions. When it comes to updating content, refreshing layouts, or improving navigation for better conversions, we need to know trends and adapt smoothly to the new opportunities available. We’ve been observing the market for years, drawing conclusions, and creating better and better products. This article will analyze interesting examples of the redesign. It is a great starting point and reference for people who are looking for a way to change but don't know what to do yet.
Before we proceed to the analysis of specific case studies of known platforms and services that have undergone a redesign in recent years, it’s worth paying attention to one thing. The redesign is an important undertaking that requires a proper preparation. We do it to achieve specific goals, therefore a specific plan will be an essential element of our activities. In bPol, before we start working on a redesign project, we always offer our clients a strategy workshop. This inconspicuous investment of time in the form of a few hours spent on identifying your needs will definitely pay off.
Someone might ask: why do I need this workshop at all, if I am the one who owns the product or service? The answer is simple. First of all, developers need to understand their tasks well but also need to dispel any doubts related to technologies and their capabilities. Together, we can come to solutions that neither of us would have come up with alone. Even before our meeting, it’s worth providing us with materials that will allow for the initial preparation of ideas. Thanks to this, we will be able to propose more solutions already at the stage of our "strategy session."What values do customers believe in? At what level has the conversion been maintained so far? How does the sales process work? What are the targets? Which parts of the website or app play the most important role in achieving your goals? All this information will help us gather ideas for your redesign.
From the software house perspective, an important element of the preparatory activities for the redesign project implementation will be workshop standardization. It’s worth analyzing the existing elements of the website or application, set goals, define personas, make fundamental assumptions and create user journey maps and wish lists. At the meeting, we should jointly create an appropriate strategy, wish list of features and priorities, as well as a preliminary action plan. An important element is also establishing a specific scope of activities within the indicated budget.
Now that we know what information is worth paying attention to before our first redesign meeting, let's take a look at case studies. You can judge what's missing from your website or app based on how recognizable gamers are changing their digital products. What you are about to read will also show how important users are in the redesign process.
Let's start with a well-known platform for sending newsletters. Mailchimp is one of the email marketing leaders. Their services have been with us for almost 20 years, but in 2018 it was time for some refreshment and update. The company approached it very professionally and apart from changes in graphic identification, such as logo, wordmark, typeface, colors, and the consistency of photos and illustrations, there were also some beneficial interface modifications.
The reason for introducing the changes was primarily the desire to emphasize how dynamically the customer base is developing. The older version of the homepage was clean and easy to navigate, with a top menu and organized landing page embellished with the image of the brand hero. The redesign has resulted in bright colors and a consistent appearance of illustrations. Thanks to small changes made on the new website, it is easier to find helpful resources. All support articles now reside under the Resources menu and are labeled Guides and Tutorials. This is where people can get step-by-step help which is extremely useful and needed by users.
The idea was that the brand should not be perceived as disjointed. That is why a more unified and recognizable system was created. When many parts of customer experience grew in different directions Mailchimp needed cohesion - from customer accounts to website, and from marketing to support channels.
Another great example of the redesign is the changes introduced by Slack this year. Subsequent minor modifications contribute to a user-friendly experience and an even more friendly work ecosystem. Changes can be scary, especially if you introduce them to a tool that generates 5 billion different user actions in a week. Fortunately, a thoughtful redesign can be the best way to increase these statistics, not the complaints of people who use slack regularly.
Developers from Slack themselves admit that when introducing changes to a platform where users spend an average of 9 hours a day, they must be introduced with great care. As they say:
“Even the most well-intentioned changes to an app you use every day can leave you with the uncanny feeling that someone’s reorganized your room. Worse even, the adjustments can feel useless: change for change’s sake.”
Once the team realized that the platform had grown to such an extent that novice users did not feel that the interface was intuitive, changes had to be made. Slack gathered a small team of designers, engineers, researchers, and product managers, and then invited... its users to cooperate. A special communication channel was created where feedback was collected. This allowed for a gradual rebuild of the platform’s design and simplified use of navigation and individual functions, as well as improving interactions with the interface. Small changes turned out to be crucial!
The importance of the synergy of the visual identity of the brand with the values that users identify with can be seen in the example of the Dropbox redesign from 2017. Here's how the big redesign of the cloud platform was described by CMO Carolyn Feinstein in one of the brand's blog posts:
“We’re a living workspace where people and ideas come together. But while the way people use Dropbox has changed dramatically over the past ten years, our brand hasn’t. That’s why today we’re excited to tell the story of our brand and unveil a new look for Dropbox. The design reflects our passion: building tools that help teams find focus, stay in their flow, and unleash their creative energy.”
The company realized that the platform is no longer just a file synchronization tool, but it’s a place where whole teams of people co-create their projects. The changes were to emphasize that we are dealing with a living workspace that brings teams and ideas together. The new identification is more expressive and richer in colors. The changes also appeared in the application interface itself, but these were introduced gradually, appropriately testing and optimizing new solutions. With each subsequent Dropbox update, the information was more clearly displayed. Adding the thumbnail view was a good idea. Moreover, the individual sections of the account are now more clearly separated.
Redesign may not sound as prestigious as developing a completely new idea, but we are well aware that deliberate changes can change the game. That is why we regularly observe how companies offering services in various fields do it. We analyze, draw conclusions and thus offer our clients even better solutions. In a dynamically developing world, nothing is designed once and for all. So, the lesson for today is simple: redesign is an integral part of development!