Sometimes there is a need to rewrite the application. Stakeholders are often convinced that the best thing to do is to copy an existing solution one-to-one when it comes to the visual part. However, this is not always true – with a UX designer on board, the application rewriting process should adhere to certain principles. Here are some of them:
1. UX designers should understand business goals and stakeholders need to be open to understanding UX designers
It is extremely important that the UX designer is involved in the process of rewriting the application from the beginning. UX designers should be involved in discussions with stakeholders as they need to understand their point of view. At this stage it is important that the business side is also aware of the importance of UX and that in order to make good UX, designers need to talk to the users. They need to agree on common goals and plan tasks also connected with the research.
2. Current application users are a treasure
Rewriting the app is an ideal moment to consider whether everything is OK with the current solution. And believe me, it can always be better. How to do it best? By asking users! Interviewing, conducting surveys, focus group discussions – these are the things that show the real state of things. UX designers should investigate users requirements, needs, motivations and goals – especially be focused on pain points!
User feedback can also show you what is worth to invest in and which functionalities are just a waste of your money.
3. Carrying on UX audit is also important
In order to fully use the powers of a UX designer, it is also good to take advantage of their expert knowledge. Some of the methods of UX audit are Cognitive Walkthrough, Content Audit, Accessibility Review. UX designers can also ask experts who created the existing app about its features and design decisions. Competition analysis seems to be valuable at this stage too.
4. Research should be summarized
A lot of data was collected in the previous steps. In order to have a full overview of them and be able to process them into concrete ideas and solutions, they need to be summed up somehow. The data can also be used to create User Journeys, User Flows, Personas and other insights.
5. There must be a joint discussion
After the research phase, the results must be presented, which always triggers a discussion between the business side and the designer. It is important that they come to a consensus and agreement on future UX/UI steps.
6. If a redesign is needed
Every redesign should start with lo-fi sketches and wireframes, maps of inspiration and be interspersed with feedback from team members and stakeholders. Only when low-level sketches are approved the work on higher level can start. Consultations with developers about all technical limitations are also especially important.
Designers should be prepared to create multiple iterations of the design and to gather feedback from users and stakeholders at each stage of the process. This will help to ensure that the final product is well-designed, easy to use, and meets the needs of both the business and the end-users.
7. Be aware of the importance of UX writing
Unfortunately, UX writing (creating highly useful content with the user experience in mind) is often forgotten or overlooked. This is a mistake because the text in an app can significantly impact the user experience. Poorly written or confusing text can lead to frustration, confusion, and ultimately, users abandonment of the application. The UX designer should check if everything is understandable for them.
8. Don’t forget about usability testing
Remember that testing can take place not only on the implemented solution. The sooner you know something is wrong, the lower the cost will be. Validation of the design with users can be done not only on interactive mockups – prototypes, but even on ordinary printouts of mockups. It’s just important to get an answer to the questions: Is the flow understandable for the user? Do end users know how to interact with it? Does it provide the desired solution to user’s problems? If the answer to any of these questions is negative – we should take a few steps back and re-evaluate.
1. Understanding between the business side and the designer is essential.
2. Never assume that you know what users think about an existing solution. They should be able to speak for themselves.
3. Introduce research and use the expert knowledge of a UX designer.
4. Start from low-level sketches, take care of the feedback culture, iterate and test.
And remember that copying is never the best solution. The world is changing and your application can always be even better.
I prepared this article with the support of my UX friend – Sonia Brych.
Check out the linked article if you want to know why UX designers should be included in the project from the beginning.