8 clear signs your software product needs a UX redesign

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November 22nd, 2022, posted in for_founders
by Saiona

Deciding on the right time to redesign your application is never easy. Too soon and you probably won't have enough user feedback to work with or a brand mature enough to drive this process. Too late and you might end up with an obsolete software product. Not to mention, redesigning your entire product sounds daunting in terms of time, cost and the sheer effort of managing everything. Fighting over button styles can bring out the worst in people.

 

However, there are a few things which can make this decision easier. Including clear signs that tell you it's time for an UX upgrade. Redesigning your application doesn`t have to be painful if you work with the right partner, and it definitely doesn`t mean throwing everything away and starting over. 



Pick your UX redesign battles

The UX redesign process can range from small touch-ups to reimagining your entire software product. The good news? This is very much an iterative process, so you can always work your way up towards bigger changes. Here are three scenarios with an increasing level of effort cost:

 

Small UI touch-ups - in some cases, you might only want to redesign certain UI components. For example, you might want a nested menu with three instead of two levels, or a responsive design for your tables. At this level, the redesign process doesn't really affect the user flow logic. 

 

Redesigning certain features - based on your research, you might notice that users struggle with certain actions or a particular portion of your application. Redesigning a certain feature will change how users interact with your app, so it has a higher level of complexity. The upside? A basic investment in UX research, redesign and some usability testing might do the trick.       

 

A complete UX redesign - while it requires the highest level of effort and commitment, a complete UX overhaul can be a game-changer for your app, depending on where you are on your journey. Think custom design system tailored to your brand's visual identity, a rich, interactive experience for your users and potentially new features.       



Signs it's time for a UX redesign

As you and your team prepare for the next product strategy meeting, here are some things to consider. Think of it as an “emergency redesign needed” checklist.         

 

1. Your performance metrics are not performing well.

If you notice important KPIs like conversion rate, adoption rate or retention are performing poorly, design may be to blame. Tracking user journeys across your app is useful in pinpointing which parts of your software product need to be redesigned.        



2. Your UI looks outdated or too much like a ready-made template.

In the race of getting to market quickly, many businesses initially skip design. They rely either on frontend developers with an eye for design or on ready-made templates purchased online. The problem is that, as years pass, these applications continue feeling like MVPs. Software products which maintain the same look & feel year after year are bound to lose out to their competition. Especially if UI/UX design hasn't been a priority to begin with.    



3. User feedback isn't great.

User feedback can come in different forms. From reviews and support tickets to actual user interviews, there are plenty of ways to understand what works and doesn't work for your users. Negative user feedback is the most obvious sign you need to improve your UI/UX. In fact, users have come to expect new and improved versions of the apps they engage with. Just think of Apple, Google and other software companies that launch entirely new or partially redesigned UIs regularly.       



4. Users have to rely on support or written documentation to use your app.

If users need a manual to use your app or need to write to support to get basic things done, then it might be time to rethink some of the key flows. Solving the underlying UI/UX problem is less costly in the long run than trying to keep up with the increasing number of support tickets and requests.   




5. New users are struggling to onboard your application or navigate through it.

New users are your barometer. Use them to gauge the amount of pressure you should be feeling to start redesigning your app. Existing users, especially if they are early adopters, are already invested in your app. And therefore more willing to overlook certain issues or already familiar with the workarounds. New users however can show you exactly what's wrong. Both literally, through their actions, and figuratively through the amount of time they need to onboard, navigate and understand your app.   



6. Lack of advanced features is discouraging users from staying.

In a fast-paced market, users themselves are experiencing a mindset shift. They are expecting constant UI/UX improvements and new features delivered regularly. In fact, more and more product design teams are moving towards continuous product discovery as a way to stay relevant. If your users are leaving, it might not even be because your competitor has more advanced features. It's simply because you don't have them.   



7. Users need to work across multiple software tools or platforms to get the job done.

This is particularly true for enterprise software, where employees often have to work across multiple tools to perform a task. This makes training new employees and re-training existing ones each time a new tool is added quite costly. If you are breaking down functionality across multiple platforms, sometimes with an overlapping or confusing effect, redesigning your suite might be an opportunity to consolidate some of these workflows.  



8. Your software product isn't on par with the competition or is not keeping up with the workflow changes.  

Software products age quickly and they can start losing out to the competition sooner than expected. Even the best UI/UX can fall behind given enough time. This is true for enterprise software as well. Although enterprise applications are known for being efficiency-oriented, rather than visually appealing, this is beginning to change. Enterprise software also has the added challenge of keeping up with the changing workflows. If your application looks unappealing and is no longer mapped to what employees are doing in real life, it might be time to invest in redesigning it.



        

Still struggling to make the big decision of redesigning your application?

Sometimes not knowing where to start is just as troubling as not knowing when to start. Drop us a line and we can help you with a free UI/UX assessment highlighting your app`s biggest pain points. We evaluate your application against several core criteria modeled after Jakob Nielsen's usability heuristics and our own UI/UX framework, UFOs.

We developed this framework based on thousands of hours of design meetings and feedback. UFOs is a set of best practices we apply in our day to day UI/UX work. It`s also an acronym for the key four steps in designing an app:

 

  • Understanding
  • Foundation
  • Original design & functionality
  • Stress testing

 

UFOs UI/UX framework banner

 


About the author

Saiona

I play with Figma and words. UI designer by day, copywriter by background. I enjoy creating worlds in which people feel connected. Either as user experiences or as poetry and short stories. I am forever fascinated by human creativity.

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