During Phase 1 of our current web project—a site with thousands of pages and 38 legacy web applications for several groups of users—we're focusing on content strategy and implementing a CMS. The web applications are "usability-inelegant" and they also don't share data between them (though they should). They are slated to be fixed in Phase 2. A simple example is illustrated (attached).
For Phase 1, one suggestion is to reskin the web-applications to match the look of the new site—no text changes, no layout changes, no workflow changes—just aesthetic/cosmetic/style changes.
The question we have is whether to bother reskinning the web-applications at all?
As far as we can tell, here are the pros and cons:
- Pro: More visual connection of the reskinned apps to the site (visual brand). Possible minor accessibility improvement (higher contrast).
- Con: User disappointment that the app doesn't work as well as the new site. Reduced user confidence in the rest of the site.
Does anyone have some heuristics around this? Could you suggest or point to a best practice? War stories welcome.