Extraordinarily Radical Redesign Strategies

It may seem counterintuitive, but Flip-the-Switch redesigns turn out to be the most ineffective way to get major changes into a design. They are overburdened by corporate politics, the need for every one to get their piece of the pie, and huge expectations of amazing improvements the moment the new design is launched. The expectations are rarely realized and everybody is left wondering what just happened.

Part of the problem comes with the attitude of having a single moment when you’ll launch the new thing. Suddenly that launch moment becomes everyone’s focus. Nobody wants to have their new feature or capability left out.

We all grumble when the designs we use every day decide to change suddenly. We need to respect our users and understand they don’t like it when we do the same thing to them. How can we do that?

Small changes at glacial speed. The beauty of making small changes means that you never have high risk. A menu item here, a new form field there. Slowly the interface morphs, and if you make a mistake, well, you change it back.

This type of redesign takes patience. It also takes humility, especially from those organizations who think people want to hear that they’ve made it better. Unfortunately, to most people, those proclamations sound like the web equivalent of “Our menus have changed so please listen carefully.”

To pull this off, the team needs a solid vision of where the design should eventually go. Then, one small change at a time, they start in. Make the change and watch what happens, proceeding slowly to the next. The team will know it’s succeeded when they hear a user insist that a new addition has been in the design all along.

Come to the UX Advantage Conference to hear how top UX and design leaders have influenced top-down organizational change and gotten true executive support as opposed to just lip service to a great user experience.

adapted from “Extraordinarily Radical Redesign Strategies” by Jared M. Spool

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