Graphic of eyes looking through a pair of binoculars. Around the binoculars are red flags the pair of eyes are looking at but missing.

Due for a Digital Rethink?

Identifying the signs of an overdue digital product redesign will help you make the right call at the right time.

Telltale Signs You Need a True Redesign

We’ve all used a glaringly outdated digital product at some point — the rickety website copyrighted in 2007, the app with a login that was built before Google existed, the mobile view that makes you say yeah, I’ll do this on desktop. Products showing their age solve real problems and have real value. But they need a true redesign to reach their full potential (or simply reach the modern era). So why do we still see so much old, stale stuff online?

The Redesign Dilemma

Organizations neglect their next big, evolutionary step for lots of reasons. They can’t spot the red flags that plague their current product, or they’re choosing to ignore them. They know their product is somehow lacking, but don’t know how to really improve in any deep, meaningful way. Sometimes, budget is the real roadblock.

In any case, putting off a true digital rethink is, at its core, failing to understand the depth of your digital issues and how those issues impact your business (aka, your users). As the product owner, it’s your job to check your site or app for the telltale signs that a redesign is due, then send up the flare gun for anybody else that is hesitating.

What to Watch Out For

If this sounds like your digital product, it may be due for an overhaul.

1. It is ancient (slow, built on pre-historic tech, and otherwise outdated).

The most obvious signs are often the best. Slow loading? Can’t update anything without a developer? Design that screams “velveteen track suit”? You can only make so many surface-level changes before it’s time for a true remedy. Moving to an enterprise content management system or radically upgrading underlying technology will do wonders for your product. At some point, your choice becomes: modernize or die.

2. Your users have evolved.

And that means their needs and expectations are different, too. Maybe you’ve learned that many people are using your digital product on their phones (or at they least they want to). If half of them didn’t have smartphones when you first designed the thing, that’s a big problem.

Even if your users still need to complete the same primary tasks, they likely have more advanced, nuanced needs today than they did at first. Perhaps your site shouldn’t be a site at all anymore? If your users only want a mobile version, maybe it’s time to reimagine your product as an app.

3. Your organization has evolved.

Your company is growing along with the rest of the market. You may have shifted values, set new internal goals, or overhauled the services you provide. If your team is finding it difficult or impossible to represent these changes in your digital product, it’s time for your next version.

4. The market has evolved.

You must meet the ever-changing needs of the market. Think about digital accessibility, making your product usable for everyone. Many companies claim accessibility compliance on some level now. That was largely unheard of five years ago. The same goes for many other features and claims. Products are simply offering more, which means your users expect more.

5. You’re getting complaints. Lots of them.

And these complaints almost always involve two things: usability (your product is too hard to use) and features (you don’t have the right ones or what you have isn’t good enough). You might notice these in official channels (like a feedback form) or off-hand.

If you aren’t getting complaints, make sure it isn’t because people are avoiding your digital product altogether. Avoidance and complaints are both flashing red signs that user satisfaction is low. Suspect that’s the case? Test your theory with a simple user satisfaction survey.

6. Your staff is stretched thin.

Many a staff member has wasted valuable time, energy, and sanity grappling with digital inefficiency. Keep an eye out for convoluted workarounds. A digital rethink can help you make better use of your limited resources (with a lot less hassle along the way).

7. Others are doing it better.

Companies are pouring resources into digital products, and that means they’re offering more, faster. You can’t afford to lag behind your competitors. The way your digital product looks, works, even feels to users can make a massive difference. If you haven’t modernized your tools, you’re probably struggling to work around issues that your competitors have already solved.

From the Ground Up

Noticing some or all of the signs? Odds are, it’s time for a true redesign — not just quick, surface-level changes.

You’re not just out to redo what you’ve already done with your digital product. You’re out to re-envision it as it could be and should be. And that calls for more than just a repackaged UI. It calls for a wholistic rethink of business challenges (and their best solutions).

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About truematter

Our team has been doing the real work of user experience since the earliest days of the commercial web. We’re out to make your digital products a whole lot better.

And sometimes, that means starting from scratch.

Author: @JessandAmen
Graphic: @djosephmachado

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Online experiences don’t have to be frustrating. We’re user experience experts making digital products useful, usable, and loved. #UX #UI #userexperience #web

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Online experiences don’t have to be frustrating. We’re user experience experts making digital products useful, usable, and loved. #UX #UI #userexperience #web

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