Chapter 69. To Design or Redesign?

It is only a matter of time before you have to choose between improving the thing that exists or creating something new.

Sometimes a new design from scratch is the obvious choice. Like when your company still uses its site from 1998, and that multicolored, animated unicorn background just doesn’t say professionalism like it used to.

Sometimes an improvement to the old design is the obvious choice. Like when the designers update the brand accent color from a nice forest green to a fresh, minty green, but all the features stay the same.

No brainers.

But what about when the site is two years old, and several users have mentioned that Thing A and Thing B aren’t quite as good as your competitors? Not so obvious.

Define the Problem First

If you don’t know what you’re solving, you don’t know how to solve it. So, first, decide exactly what result you’re aiming for, and think about how far your current design is from doing that.

If users are confused because they often overlook a button, you might be able to solve it by changing the button color. If users are confused because the structure of your site makes as much sense as Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, then you might need a bigger change to solve the problem.

Make the Smallest Change You Can Make

Sometimes doing everything is simpler than doing one thing. When you have a sense of the problem and what it might take to solve that problem, don’t look for the biggest, coolest way to solve it. Look for the ...

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