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44

I would advise keeping the designs separate, but providing a staged release. Trying to create an intermediary design will simply double your workload as a designer, and provide minimal benefits as users will incur the costs of re-orienting themselves twice rather than once. A staged release would comprise three parts: During the beta stage, users can move ...


9

A corporate site re-design is full of more design by committee pratfalls and pitfalls than you even realize exist just yet, which include: Deprecated content that still needs to be supported Brand guidelines you have to adhere to Political history behind the current design (which will affect your ability to make changes) All those sub-brands that need to ...


9

Build it. Take the time on your own, build it out and let them try it. But, they gave you the answer you need to overcome. Look at WHO you are dealing with. All the storyboards, mockups etc. won't matter as they can't see it. You shot yourself in the foot by doing all of that work first. UX 101: Did you ask the potential user first. "if I could take this ...


8

I don't think it's meaningful to redesign a site regularly just to make it look different. A complete redesign effectively wipes off everything how users are accustomed to use the site. Most of the regular users hate changes in software because it makes them slower than before, hunting for the information/controls they are looking for. To justify a redesign ...


8

Think you need to look at it from the other view. Both approaches are correct if handled/planned. What's important on re-designs i work with is managing the users. Start a fun but informative section on the home page discussing the plans. Poke fun at the old site, stick in some polls, involve them in the change.


7

Some days ago Basecamp (37signals) was redesigned and relaunched and there are some very valuable insights in this interview with its founder, Jason Fried. Update: Here is some advice extracted from the interview (their experience is mostly related to building a SaaS product, so take that into account): Keep the original version. They believe that users ...


7

I really liked Amazon's approach in how they cleaned up their old site to create a brand new layout while retaining the existing functionality. The key things you need to take care of are : Establish the key functionality of the app i.e what does it do and what it should to continue to do after the redesign Look at how the existing layout is designed and ...


7

It really depends on the situation. One anecdote might help: I design an app that included an HTML Email editor. The original design was error prone and had alot of problems. There was no way to "fix it" so we scrapped the design and rebuilt from scratch...much better this time. However, the customers freaked out. "You moved my cheese!!!" I had to ...


7

I am actually in the middle of a large redesign project for Cisco. The first thing I did was ensure I had a master list of all pages. Most pages are templates, and have the same page structure. So I could group similar page structures together. I then analyzed our site analytics database to see what users are using. This may not be as straight forward, so ...


6

What you want is to re-design a user interface (UI) taking into account user-centered design techniques. To do so, basically you need to get feedback from the users and then apply common interaction design patterns. Getting feedback from the user: Read the app reviews. Users like to rant, so it's a good source to directly tap into the discontent of the ...


6

I can think of three critical questions to ask upfront. What are their business goals? What sorts of behaviours are they looking to encourage over the next three to five years? More sign ups? More word-of-mouth circulation? Did they already have any ideas how the site could support this? What issues have they already identified with the existing solution? ...


6

Don't underestimate the beast. It would be like taking Photoshop away from a designer. Excel is actually a phenomenally useable tool that people are familiar with. I've tried and failed to get analysts off Excel. Perhaps you could try watching some of your users to see what they do with Excel - show them that you really do want to help simplify their ...


6

Users hate when you change things beyond their control. To prepare them for change, make it look like something special. In Designing for Emotion, Aarron Walter shows how the key to preparing users for a site overhaul is to make sure that your beta release is private and that the users invited to it have been (or at least appear to have been) chosen based ...


5

Two things. First, you need to decide what you're doing before deciding which type of card sort. Are you validating an IA you've designed or letting patterns emerge without an existing IA. You'll need a closed card sort for the first and an open card sort for the second. Second, my favourite tool is OptimalSort. They actually have a bunch of online ...


5

If you are trying to redesign it for another platform,a good place to start would be to look at the UI design guidelines for for that specific platform.For example,for apple the Human interface guidelines (HIG) document is a good place to start. Similarly for Windows, There is a Windows Phone 7 Series UI Design & Interaction Guide by MS. MSDN link ...


5

From my own experience I have found that an application can outlive the developers that wrote it and in this case, it is often the users who know the system better than the team that is supporting it. The problem is then that when the user has problems there is no one better off to help. I recently wrote an internal application and with this in mind, one ...


5

In my primary dayjob such projects are usual. And they are really the mess, and the experience is worth a book :) But I'll try to be short. At first accept in your mind that huge projects can't be perfect when you are alone warrior strugling. This will save your spirit from depression and months of nightmares with ugly controls and prototypes (I had). But ...


4

While it can often be tempting to throw away everything when you have to work with an unpleasant application, it is rarely the right answer. Instead, start with an internal refactor to clean up the back end and make the site easier to work with. Then work towards consistency so that your site feels more unified as a single experience; make disparate areas ...


4

I'd (rather laboriously) go through the site page-by-page and log it all down in a spreadsheet, such as the example I've attached: Give each page a reference number based on the hierarchy in the site, list the usual details (title, URL) and a brief summary of the content. I've also started listing out all the features found on the page (text, imagery, flash ...


4

They don't want to fix it, since it ain't broken. Point out that usability work actually involves functionality and not just eye-candy. Increased usability will lead to increased efficiency. Usability engineering! Short description: Establish some measurable goals for the ux-factors of the system and work towards these goals by iterative design (prototype ...


4

Another tool you could consider is websort. It's quite easy to set up and gives nice visuals of the results. If desired you can add images to the cards, which can be useful for example when sorting webshop items. It gets a bit cluttered if you need to sort a large number of cards (>30) though. Also consider the real-world alternative with post-its if you ...


4

We redesign sites for non-profits to add usability, accessibility, standards and train their people to maintain using these. We work hard to keep a similar Look and Feel, keeping any colors that pass contrast, not redoing logos, if they have top/left/right navigation, keeping the navigation in same spot, just improving it's use and structure. The sites ...


4

I like the metaphor - a big web application is like an airport. This statement has some consequences: People usually don't visit it just for fun - they need something. So you should help them reach their goals and provide great experience. You can't just close an airport to build a new one. If you need to improve something you should try to create as ...


4

+1 for the incremental approach, realigning instead of redesigning. Google, Yahoo, Amazon do only small changes at a time: you don't see big changes on their websites, though they're constantly changing, tweaking something. You can find more info on UX Myth: You need to redesign your website periodically.


3

For some organsiations - specifically two that I work for, gradual enhancement is the practical reality of managing their websites, while a complete rebuild might be a long term vision. Take organisation number 1. Huge site, vast number of users across various segments, millions of visitors each month. Given the complexity of the business, internal and ...


3

Since you are throwing away the entire (old) code, the usual approach of small changes is not applicable in your case. What you can do is get the users excited for the change. Use a header display or overlay whenever the user arrives at website saying that we will soon be changing the design. Make it something which resonates with your audience "Get ready ...


3

Other's have given good advice, so just a minor addition here. If you can't do a gradual change, get your users involved, let them feel like they're taken seriously and that they've contributed to the change. Hopefully you'll get a few enthusiasts to evangelize about how great it all will be. Also read this: http://www.uie.com/articles/radical_redesign, ...


3

Good question. I would say there are two approaches to handling this situation Do incremental updates to small sections to see the user feedback and adoption : This will allow users to quickly adapt to the changes slowly while also retaining the existing user flow. You can also use tool tips and information bubbles to inform users of the change so that ...


2

In my experience, alot of redesigns are spurred by new hires. "I am the new sheriff in town and I want to redesign the website!" Sometimes it's based on a new product launch like, "We are changing all those other pages, why not refresh the look." Personally, I change my blog theme once in a while because I get bored with it. Summary: Most redesigns have ...


2

I would say phased is better than complete swap. But you have to manage it well. A complete swap is indeed too rough for people. Joel Spolsky once said that rewrite from scratch is something you should never do. Although that related to writing code, I think it applies to users as well. You'll loose experts when they have to get used to something completely ...



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