redesign_why

The word 're-design' – If something isn’t broke, why fix it?

The word 're-design'

Recently, I have been looking into visual communication and the role of hierarchy in screen layouts. This stemmed from hearing the word ‘re-design’ far too much over the past few months.

 

I found myself saying – what actually is a re-design?

Coming from a UX background, a 're-design' would relate to an element on a site which has been underperforming and needs looking at in-depth. By this I mean understand the analytics, carry out customer-focused research and collaborate with the wider team to work towards the desired goal.

I was struck by how wrong I was in this situation. In fact, for many organisations, a 're-design' means to start from scratch (yes, really!) – new navigation structure, page layouts, typography, and colour palette.

 

I couldn't help but think why?

  • Why redesign the whole website when you have no evidence to back anything up? How do you know what you're designing?
  • Why create extra work, set unrealistic deadlines and potentially lose customers?
  • Why redesign something just because you feel like it, it will waste so much time and money?

I have so many questions, all starting with, why? I could guarantee that none of the questions above could be backed up with evidence.

[ Blank Stare ].

If you find yourself in a similar situation be sure to ask agnate questions about the reasons behind such a rational decision.

 

How would I deal with a 're-design' brief?

Well, to be honest, I would potentially walk away from the project unless I could shadow users for 2 weeks. I would try to analyse what is actually happening and determine what is the real underlying cause of the problem?

From there I would take a UX focused approach:

  1. Define the Problem(s)
  2. Background Research
  3. Brainstorm, evaluate and choose a solution
  4. Prototype the solution (low fidelity)
  5. Specify requirements (based on the research found from testing the prototype)
  6. Develop/prototype the solutions
  7. Test (Does it meet the requirements?)
  8. Build and test the solution

 

If you have got this far, you're probably thinking 'thank the lord, I'm not going crazy'. Below I have a great example of how you can follow trends and work on your website without starting from scratch.

Apple.com have shown years of consistency without making radical changes.

 

apple-2001

apple.com – 2001
Source: Web Design Museum

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apple_2018

apple.com – 2018
Source: Web Design Museum

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Each iteration displayed (over 17 years) has the same site structure; a navigation, main promo image, 4 secondary promos and a footer navigation but the visual style has followed the brand development.

 

In Conclusion

If (I hope never) you are given a brief that is to 're-design' the whole website, please ask the most important question:

"What evidence do you have that these requirements will solve the problems?"

[ Blank Stare]

 

There is no need to re-design a full website, so much will be missed and the website will make no progression - ok, it might look better but the UI without key features is pointless. Take a moment to do some background research and define the problem(s) – work into these first and see how your metrics change. The resource is always limited at the best of times, this will save the organisation time, money and stress.

If in doubt, show the example of apple.com above. Their site structure isn't broke, so why fix it?

 

Let me know how you handled the brief, I would love to hear the approach you took.

 

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6 UX principles that will guide you to create killer content

UX writer, product copywriter or a content designer (whichever you prefer) is one of the most in-demand skills in the world today. In a sea of competition, brands are beginning to realise just how important content is – if you create valuable content, more people will engage with your brand and in return, make you more money.

Business’ are turning to content in their digital strategy – Social media, blogs, videos and email campaigns – to differentiate themselves from their competitors. The phrase “Killer Content” is being used more in workplaces, but what is content without an audience?

Writing exceptional content with the reader (user) in mind will help you build an audience. I am going to share with you 6 principles that will guide you to create killer content.

 

1. Add value to your content

People want to feel good about themselves, if you can do this you have added value to them. There are 3 key ways to add value to your audience;

  • Entertain –Can you make the reader smile, laugh, be excited or even cry (with happiness of course)? Changing the emotional behaviour will have an impact on the reader and this will add value to your content.
  • Teach or Inspire – It’s a true fact, humans seek to learn new things whether it is news, trending fashion or the latest space rocket launch. By making the user more knowledgeable will add value to their everyday life.
  • Solve a problem – Everyone needs answers at some point. Does your product or service solve a problem? Share this with you audience, you never know what answers people are looking for. It could be product or service that adds value to their lives.

 

2. 80/20 Rule

The title of the blog post, campaign or collection is the most important section of your whole post. Why?

The 80/20 rule suggests that 80% of your results comes from 20% your actions.

  • 80% of people will read your headlines.
  • 20% of those people will read the rest of your content

You may be wondering why? Well, the title is the most read element of your post, campaign or collection, if people aren’t intrigued in the title they aren’t going to read anything else.

Never heard of the 80/20 rule? Learn 50 terms you should know as a UX Designer

 

3. Create content that is clear & concise

It is really important your user is not left confused after reading your content – it is crucial to be clear and concise. I have a perfect example for you; Don’t use ‘discover’ when you mean ‘find’

Take out the words which are not necessary and avoid ambiguity if possible. Being clear is the guide to users receiving a good experience.

 

4. Consistency is Key

This is a key principle in UX design, without it we can’t get far. Consistency is intuitive design, users will learn fast how to interact with your content and eliminate confusion. Content that has been predefined saves time and money.

 

5. Trust your instincts 

Believe in yourself! You never know, someone may fall in love with your style of writing, brand or campaign. Go by the rule of thumb, if it doesn’t sound right, it’s likely your users will feel the same way. 

 

6. Leave readers with questions

By this, I don’t mean write an unfinished post – quite the opposite. What I mean is, include questions that make readers reflect on what they have learnt. An engaged audience hangs on to every word and takes in all you write.

 

content design quote

 

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