Published On: Sun, Sep 4th, 2016

Does Your Mobile App Need A Redesign?

For many app developers, a redesign is an inevitable part of the process. A full redesign goes well beyond the usual bug fixes and performance enhancements, though. It encompasses a noticeable change in the aesthetic and usability of the app. Done well, a redesign can do wonders for your app’s ratings.

But how do you know when it’s time to get a redesign underway? You will want to avoid doing so too frequently, as you don’t want your users to see something entirely different each time they use the app. So instead, consider a few different scenarios that may call for a redesign.

Scenario 1: You’ve never done a redesign before

Though this may not hold much weight for apps that are brand new to the market, apps with a bit of a legacy behind them may want to consider refreshing their design. This doesn’t necessary mean there’s anything inherently wrong with the design of the app, it might just feel a bit outdated. Instagram is a great example of this; their most recent big (yet small!) change included a new icon design, which sent its users into a tailspin. There weren’t significant changes made to the overall user experience though, so it’s also a good example that redesign doesn’t necessarily need to mean that you go big.

Scenario 2: Your app’s user experience needs improvement

This type of redesign will require meticulous planning and analysis of user feedback. When redesigning for user experience, first do no harm. By that we mean that you should take extra care to not interfere with usability, lest you risk losing a frustrated audience. You can start by creating a frame-by-frame map of your existing app, then go through it alongside your feedback reports and make notes as to where the changes should be. You don’t need to incorporate every suggested change, but try to at least get the popular ones addressed. For larger user experience issues, like too much app complexity, you can think outside the box by parsing out the app’s functions into a few entirely separate apps.

Scenario 3: You’ve rebranded other platforms

This one’s all about consistency. For the sake of brand cohesiveness and recognition by your users, you will want each outlet to follow the same aesthetic theme. This includes websites, blogs, social media, print, and any other relevant part of your overall brand. By keeping your brand consistent, you will demonstrate to your users that you are taking the time to maintain each outlet and there is no reason to question whether or not they have found the correct app that they were looking for.

Scenario 4: Forces beyond your control

Sometimes, design standards change. These standards, often issued by various OS entities like Apple or Android, help to keep the overall aesthetic of the home screens from becoming outdated. And while these standards aren’t mandatory, you’d be doing your app a disservice by not getting on board. Keep in mind, however, that this doesn’t mean that you need to incorporate all of the design trends of the hour. And further, please note that just because it’s trending, it doesn’t mean it’s a good design element.

If you do opt for a full app redesign, be sure to proceed with caution. Don’t go into a redesign without clearly defining your goals first. You will want to have every detail mapped out with an understanding of how it will improve your users’ experience and/or add functionality. It’s also important, however, to retain some degree of expectedness in the new design. Otherwise you risk confusing your existing user base, and they may not take the time to reacquaint themselves with your app.


About the Author

- Kelly Smith works at CourseFinder, an Australian online education resource. She is passionate about the Australian startup scene and new marketing trends.