There are occasions when you feel it’s time to make a complete overhaul of your app. Maybe your current design doesn’t adjust to the last platform guidelines. Maybe you’re using old navigation patterns that make your app appear outdated. Or maybe you simply need to revamp your app to infuse a new look and new functionalities.
We’ll give you here 7 reasons why making a complete app redesign all at once is not such a good idea. The following points are always taken into account when we introduce new changes in TimeTune, and we can assure you the benefits are huge!
1. PEOPLE ARE RESISTANT TO CHANGE
Even if your new design is better, clearer and more functional than the old one, many people will complain about it. Why? Because people in general don’t like change. They are used to the previous design and now they must start learning how to use your app again from scratch. Your long-time users need your app to be up and ready when they open it, but if you make a complete app redesign you’re slowing down their performance until they get used to the new model.
Instead of making a big app update, consider making smaller updates to introduce your changes progressively. This way you can guide your users to the final design without getting them overwhelmed and making their transition to the new structure smoother and painless.
2. YOU WILL AVOID AN AVALANCHE OF SUPPORT REQUESTS
When you make a complete app redesign, it’s common for your users to get a bit disoriented. Some options might have been reallocated, some navigation patterns might have changed, or the new interface might just distract them too much and prevent them to find all the functions. In any case, a lot people will contact you to ask where their favorite feature is now or how to do something you thought it was easy and intuitive in the new design. Or worse, they will write to bitterly complain about it.
This is natural. Imagine you go to your old favorite restaurant to suddenly find they did a complete renovation. Same menu but different tables, different walls and different waiters. You may acknowledge the new place is nicer and cleaner but you can’t help feeling a bit out of place.
Contrary to a restaurant, you can redesign your app step by step by making gradual changes. If one of the updates introduces a significative change, some users will still ask for support, but questions will only be related to this small update, and they will be limited and easy to handle. After a while, when people become more comfortable with the change, you can move forward and make a new gradual update.
3. YOU MIGHT INTRODUCE TOO MANY BUGS AT ONCE
As you already know, app development is delicate, very delicate. Changes that work perfectly in your tests may break the app in specific devices on under certain circumstances. So, the bigger the redesign, the bigger the chance to get unexpected bugs.
But if you make your changes gradually, you’ll avoid a lot of headaches and panic attacks. You can solve first the bugs related to a specific change and when the fire is extinguished then you can move to the next gradual update.
4. YOU’LL CATCH DESIGN MISTAKES SOON AND AVOID BACKTRACKING
Let’s face it. Sometimes our new app redesign might be just wrong. Maybe not all of it, but only a part. We’ve seen it happen to very popular apps. After publishing a big update, users start complaning about how some feature is now more complicated than before or takes more steps to complete. The only solution is going back and undoing part of the design or adapting the new feature to a different behavior.
There’s no problem in making some mistakes. We’re human. Sometimes what we think is a good change is in fact a step back. But publishing a huge app redesign and then being forced to undo some of the changes reflects very poorly on our apps.
Try instead progressive updates, ask for feedback before implementing a significant change and test it with your beta users before pushing it to production. Besides, this is a very good agile development practice and allows you to quickly react to unexpected events.
5. YOUR WORKFLOW WILL BE MUCH EASIER
Whether you work alone or in a team, everybody will work better if they can concentrate on a single change instead of a whole app redesign. All the effort can be put at once into that change to make it as good as it can be. The outcome will be outstanding and the update will lay a good foundation for the next one.
On the other hand, a big app redesign might lead you and your team to a hectic workflow. Implementing all the changes in the same update and trying to connect all the new pieces together in a seamless may take a lot of time, effort and headaches.
6. YOUR USERS WILL KEEP ENGAGED
A complete app redesign may take months to implement. Meanwhile, your app will stay practically untouched in production until the new version has been completed and thoroughly tested. This is not good for user engagement. Even if you tell your users that you’re working on a new design, not everybody will be aware of that and they’ll start contemplating other options. Besides, new users will think twice before downloading your app if they see it hasn’t been updated in months. Everybody wants to know their apps are always up-to-date and constantly improved.
An app looks fresh and alive when updated frequently. It keeps users engaged and creates expectation in every update. This is another reason why gradual changes work better than a big overhaul. Update your app progressively and people will cheer you every time you publish a new change.
Beware not to update your app too frequently though. Too many updates in a short period of time might end up annoying your users. Pushing a new version every 2 to 4 weeks has been proven to be a good publishing rate in general (although it might depend on the type of app). And of course don’t push an update just for the sake of it. All updates must be significative for your users.
7. YOU’LL GET BETTER REVIEWS!
The added bonus of using a gradual approach instead of a big app redesign is that you’ll get much better reviews. Your users will feel your app is constantly evolving for the better and every change will be received with joy. You’ll avoid those ‘I prefered the old version’ reviews we always see in major redesigns, and people will have a better time adapting to the new app structure.
And not only that. As we said before, the fact of avoiding unexpected bugs or design mistakes will help you avoid a ton of low ratings too.
So as you can see, there are many reasons why making a complete app redesign could not be a good idea after all. If you use the gradual approach instead, it can be a win for everyone. Your users won’t feel overwhelmed, you’ll avoid many problems and your app will have a better overall evolution.
WHAT’S YOUR EXPERIENCE?
Did you use gradual updates in your app redesign? Or did you make a big overhaul? We’d like to know your experience. If you think there are other reasons to use one approach or the other tell us down below, you can help a lot of developers too. Cheers! 😉