Upgrading and updating mobile applications is necessary to constantly enhance the user experience. But, there are challenges of app revamp that, if not addressed, can do more harm than good.
More often than not, app revamp becomes a necessity if your app is experiencing severe issues related to user retention and acquisition. However, a complete overhaul might not always be the right answer and if your app is already popular, changes made to its design or content should be incremental, small, and based on thorough A/B testing.
Does app revamp mean rewriting an app from scratch?
One of the challenges of app revamp is deciding whether to rewrite an app from scratch or opt for refactoring the app.
This term implies writing your app again from scratch by using new technologies and approaches. The advantage here is that you will be free from the limitations of the legacy code of your app. You can change everything, from frameworks to the programming language. Also, you can avoid the mistakes that were committed when designing your app for the first time. However, the problem is that rewriting always doesn’t go as smoothly as it may sound. Unless you’re working with professional app designers and developers, rewriting might be risky and cost you a lot of money.
On the other hand, refactoring is a technique that is used to restructure and improve the existing code without completely changing its behavior. Refactoring helps to improve code readability and also reduces code complexity. It makes sense to refactor if you are working on a big app project and wish to improve on the structure of the app rather than getting rid of the legacy code altogether.
Whether you will rewrite or refactor, depends on your project and your specific requirements.
Tips to overcome the challenges of app revamp
1. Communicate graphic updates to explain their value
Users care if there are any changes in the applications that they love. They might be waiting for new features to come out, for you to fix some bugs, or for fresh looks that bring more diversity to the application. By communicating the value of your graphic updates, you will see much better engagement in your app. You can let users know changed, updated, and fixed with each version. Make sure to release detailed notes. This way, users know exactly what to expect when they open the app after updating it.
2. Don’t fix something that isn’t broken
It is not wise to undertake an app revamp if users like the design and features of the app. Unless something is broken and needs to be fixed, you don’t have to spend your resources to redesign your app. This is the lesson that the app redesign of Scrabble Go teaches you. Formerly known as Scrabble, it was one of the most popular board games of all time and this is why EA decided to turn it into an app. The app was well-received. However, EA sold the app to Scopely and they undertook a major app redesign. The resulting app was an overwhelming, confusing mess of its former self.
After the redesign, users found it to be extremely confusing and distracting. Therefore, the app owners were forced to go back to the old design, but added a new feature called the ‘Mode settings’.
3. Introduce changes gradually and steadily
Studies prove that people don’t like changes, especially if there are a lot of changes at once. This is why you must proceed carefully and steadily with your app revamp. After all, users need time to get used to the changes or updates. You can start by fixing a few bugs and adding one or two new features, and wait for the users to get accustomed to the changes. Then, you can slowly introduce design changes to enhance the user experience. When you are finally sure that your app redesign is working, you can release the date when the older version of the app will stop working.
4. Understand users and their journey
Understanding users and their journey are crucial when it comes to redesigning an app. Create customer journey maps to illustrate the user flow through your application. This will help you to identify the bottlenecks in your present app design and overcome them with a redesign project.
5. Don’t be afraid of experimenting and rolling back updates (like YouTube did)
You are free to experiment with app redesigns and new features, but don’t be afraid to roll back an update if it doesn’t work. For instance, when YouTube played around with hiding its comments section, users could only read the comments when they clicked on it.
And, YouTube received a lukewarm response from its users. They did not hesitate to roll back the update. However, YouTube experimented with the comments section again in 2020 and we are all familiar with the current version.
6. Define the business challenges you wish to tackle with the app redesign
Mindlessly redesigning your app will not fetch you the rewards or results that you’re looking for. Your app revamp must be based on proper research and A/B testing, and you should also define the business challenges that you wish to overcome with the new update. For instance, Spotify wanted users to listen to more podcasts and this is why they introduced a new version of the ‘Your Library’ section for its paying users. The goal of the redesign was to make it easier for users to move between podcasts and music.
To sum up, app revamp challenges can be solved if you focus on researching, understanding your users, and keeping an eye out for the latest technological advancements that should be included in your app. If all of this seems like too much to handle on your own, connect with us at Divami and check out our portfolio to learn about our UX/UI design capabilities.