In February 2023, approximately 87,000 new mobile apps were released through the Google Play Store. These apps bring new features and shape trends for the appearance of interfaces. In this rapidly changing environment, products that have been on the market for a while also need to go through a redesign process to remain up-to-date, perform well, and provide a relevant experience to users.
Today we will discuss how and why to redesign a mobile app and the steps you can follow to keep this task manageable.
Reasons for App Redesign
Mobile app redesign is a costly and time-consuming process. Companies choose to take this step for many reasons, but here are a few common ones:
- Outdated design. Even successful and stylish applications require updates sooner or later. Perhaps the layout does not follow the latest best practices, or the interface does not look pleasing on the newest devices. Maybe users' tastes have changed. Whatever the main reason for making a change, the design of applications should evolve over time.
- Negative feedback. If users constantly complain that the application is difficult to use and they leave bad reviews, it is probably time for a redesign.
- Poor metrics. Low conversion and retention rates also show that something might be wrong with the app design.
- Complex interface. Adding many new features to the application can often lead to a cluttered and hard-to-use interface. To ensure a positive user experience, it is sometimes better to redesign the app entirely.
- Rebranding. When businesses rebrand, they should redesign their mobile applications according to new guidelines to make different color palettes, logos, and fonts clear to users.
- Targeting a new audience. Companies' marketing plans can change. They might aim to attract new users. If the look and feel of an app do not currently appeal to the new target audience, businesses often turn to redesign.
When Is Redesign Not a Solution?
Although companies redesign their products for many reasons, the ultimate goal is always the same—solving specific problems. Redesigning an application without a clear understanding of necessary changes rarely leads to a robust design. Companies should not make surface changes like adding stand-out animations or beautiful graphic designs without considering user behavior or the usability issues that must be solved.
It is crucial to start the redesign process after identifying current inefficiencies, prioritizing changes, and aligning them with the company's business objectives.
Steps for App Redesign
What is the best way to approach a mobile app redesign project? Although the process might vary depending on the product, company, and other factors, most redesign projects can be broken into seven steps.
Step 1. Start with "Why"
As we mentioned before, the first step in any redesign process should be defining the goals a company is trying to achieve. During this stage, you need to outline the problems you are trying to solve, what end users are looking for, and how new solutions can improve the app's performance and functionality. The team should decide how to measure success and which KPIs to track, such as conversion and retention rates, time spent interacting with the product, or the Net Promoter Score.
Step 2. Gather Customer Feedback
The next step is to evaluate available information on how customers interact with the current version of the application. Since you are working on a redesign of an existing app, you will probably have enough data. Work with different types of data, including:
- Quantitative (in-app stats, pageviews, session length, etc.)
- Qualitative (reviews in the Google Play Store and the App Store, messages to customer support, comments on social media pages, etc.)
In-depth interviews with users can also help you understand customers' pain points and gather other valuable information.
Enroll in our UX Design training if you want to learn more about different user research methods, including usability surveys, user interviews, and focus group studies.
Step 3. Conduct a UX Audit of the Current Design
Take time to review the current version of the application. Even if the current app does not work perfectly, each solution probably has a lot of work and research behind it. By inspecting the existing design, you can gather valuable information, identify possible interface bottlenecks, and gain ideas for improvement.
Step 4. Review the Competition
Examining competitors' applications is a great way to learn about the latest design trends and better understand why some customers choose alternatives to your product. Review the features of competitor apps, analyze how their user flows differ from yours, and try to find any possible gaps in the market.
If you need more inspiration, look beyond your domain. Someone out there has probably successfully dealt with problems similar to yours. Interesting solutions can be found in unexpected places.
Step 5. Analyze Gathered Information
Next, assess all the information you gathered, including feedback from users, usage data insights, competitive analysis, UX audits, etc. Your goal is to get a clear picture of the main problem areas you need to address during the redesign process, define improvement opportunities, and outline changes you want to make in your app.
Step 6. Create a New Design
Once you determine the necessary changes for an app, you can start working on a new design. At this stage, you will go through all the main steps of the design process, including creating user stories, sketching ideas, preparing prototypes and presentations, testing with users, adjusting the design, and testing it again. Hopefully, after a few iterations, all stakeholders will agree on a final solution, and the company will be ready to implement the changes and release them to the public.
Step 7. Monitor User Response Upon Launch
A designer's work does not end with launching the redesign. You have to review key metrics after users start interacting with the updated app. Did usage increase? Did the conversion rate improve? Do you have more positive reviews in the Play and App Stores? At this stage, you should review the reasons for redesigning the product and examine the outcome. In-depth analysis not only helps you to determine if the redesign was a success but also allows you to uncover opportunities for improvement in the future.
While this article outlined the main stages of a mobile app redesign, it is essential to note that this process is rarely linear. Designers often go back to certain steps and iterate activities as necessary. This way, designers can test new ideas quickly to achieve better results.
Redesigning an app helps enhance the user experience and improve key metrics. To do a redesign project properly, designers need solid knowledge of UX research techniques, an understanding of ideation best practices, and proficiency in prototyping and presentation. We cover all these topics in our UX Design program. Instructors from companies like Meta and Google will teach you all you need to know to redesign mobile apps successfully. Apply for training today!