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7 Best Practices to Successfully Redesign and Optimize Web and Mobile Applications
Web and mobile applications are playing an increasingly significant role in our personal and professional lives due to the many advantages they offer. Today, innovations in application development are making it easier for us to purchase goods and services, manage our finances, meet and communicate with healthcare professionals, and even collaborate with colleagues while working remotely. At the same time, the push to deliver a better user experience is resulting in applications that are more accessible, powerful, and easier to use.
Today, mobile and web applications must provide innovative features and a flawless user experience to be successful amid strong competition.
It’s not uncommon for brands to redesign their web or mobile applications to improve their ability to meet users’ needs, achieve new business goals, modernize, and remain competitive.
As an investment, redesigning an application is not without risk. There are, however, steps you can take to guarantee that the redesign improves the application’s overall usability and that all coding errors or bugs are eliminated before the application is relaunched.
So, how can you successfully redesign web and mobile applications to achieve your goals?
REDESIGNING APPLICATIONS: WHAT ARE THE BEST PRACTICES?
1. Review the Data
The path to a successful web or mobile app redesign starts by reviewing and analyzing your application’s existing data or metrics. Evaluating this information can reveal significant problems with the app and help you understand how to resolve them to create a better user experience.
Which metrics or data should be reviewed? This will depend on the type of application you have and its objectives. There are some general aspects that apply to most consumer-facing applications. Analyzing the monthly performance of the site along these metrics is a good place to start:
- Goal completion
- Activation rate
- Drop-off rate
- Active user ratio
- User satisfaction
2. Evaluate User Feedback
While certain data helps to measure the performance of any mobile or web application, data and statistics alone do not paint a complete picture. To get additional insights, analyze the reviews of your application left by real users in the app store, on social media sites, and through surveys, if possible.
Direct feedback from real users will provide valuable insight into what aspects of the application work well and those that create pain points. Using this information will ensure your team is well informed and equipped to improve the app.
3. Analyze the Competition
Before drawing up wireframes, explore the competition. Using competing applications is a great way to understand what your application is up against. Take notes on what elements or aspects you like, or think could bring additional value to your app. The point of this exercise is not to copy their layout or features, but to differentiate your application to best serve your users.
4. Understand the Journey
Building a great application requires a real understanding of how it is actually used. Referred to as the user journey, it represents how users navigate and interact with the application.
Creating a user journey map, a visual representation of the user journey, based on real feedback from users and analytics can reveal issues or flaws that make the app harder to use or navigate. A user journey map can also provide insight into the challenges users face and why certain features or pages are rarely utilized or accessed.
By considering the user journey, you can begin to identify opportunities to optimize it and implement solutions that make the app and its most important features easier to use.
5. Define the Goals and Objectives, and Get Stakeholder Buy-In
The importance of defining the goals and objectives for your application redesign cannot be understated. These objectives justify investing the time, resources, and capital into the redesign.
To best define the objectives, we recommend speaking to the different stakeholders within your company who will be affected by the redesign. This can include members of Sales, Marketing, Customer Service, Human Resources, IT, etc. Understanding each stakeholder’s needs will enable you to best identify and establish the main objectives for the redesign.
In general, the use of data-focused objectives will allow you to produce clear and measurable goals that can be pursued by the team or organization in charge of redesigning the site.
6. Execute the Redesign
Before starting your redesign project, make sure that members of your team, the project manager, product owner, and stakeholders, are on the same page regarding the strategy and objectives of the project.
Use wireframes or mockups to visualize what the app will look like. Wireframing will also help your team understand the layout or UI of each page, where content is needed, and how everything will generally work.
Once all parties have agreed on the layout of the app, begin by building more detailed mockups that serve as working models. This step will enable you and the entire team to get a clear understanding of the look and feel of the app once it is finished. It will also allow you to identify any issues and provide key feedback or directions before investing too heavily in designing and implementing the app.
7. Quality Assurance (QA) Testing
Whenever a web or mobile application, is updated or modified, as is the case of a redesign, it is necessary to ensure those changes or updates do not result in unintended bugs or anomalies that can negatively impact performance, stability, or the user experience. In this way, QA testing acts as a safety net protecting the application from bugs that could cause major problems.
Even when testing is incorporated into the development lifecycle, user acceptance testing (UAT) is highly recommended to ensure the newly redesigned application functions as expected and provides the optimized user experience the redesign aimed to achieve.
Since UAT is carried out at the very end of the project, when every aspect of the application has been delivered, integrated, and operationalized, the project team and stakeholders receive the most accurate assessment of the application in order to make a well-informed Go/No-Go decision. In the end, testing provides tremendous value to the project, and plays a critical role in the success of any application.
To learn more about how CTG can help businesses overcome the challenges of building, redesigning, and testing web or mobile applications, check out Testing Solutions and/or Application Solutions, or contact the CTG team directly.
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