How to transition seamlessly to a new design from an old one?

8 Jun 2009 - 10:27am
4 years ago
2 replies
801 reads
Bhooshan
2009

This is my first post, since I have been an avid reader of ALL the
advices and comments from intellectual people over here. But a small
question popped in my mind when I came across a website that was
redesigned and I was completely lost. Pardon me if this query has
been answered before.

It's an employee intranet portal which had been operational for
around a decade. The UI wasn't changed one bit in all this time.
Later the organization decided it was time to move on and did the
best they could with the UI design. For a few weeks the new
(completely overhauled) design lived beside its older cousin and the
users had the choice to peek in while still continuing in the old
mode. One day they launched the new avatar.

Now this overhauled UI has a new information architecture - complex
if one is accustomed working in the order scheme of things. Links
that were easily spotted previously had been moved around and/or
hidden under heaps of fancy labels. When I went looking for one
frequently visited section, it took me a good 10 minutes to find it!!
That's unacceptable and a waste of employee time.

My question is, how does one accomplish the difficult task of
introducing a new design? how does the organization shift seamlessly
from the older version UI to the new one without any surprises for
the user? how can the user begin using a new system starting from
where he left it earlier? Thanks in advance for all your help.

Comments

8 Jun 2009 - 3:55pm
Jared M. Spool
2003

On Jun 8, 2009, at 8:27 AM, Bhooshan wrote:

> My question is, how does one accomplish the difficult task of
> introducing a new design? how does the organization shift seamlessly
> from the older version UI to the new one without any surprises for
> the user? how can the user begin using a new system starting from
> where he left it earlier? Thanks in advance for all your help.

Hi there,

It's called designing for embraceable change.

I wrote about it here: http://is.gd/TEJr

Hope that helps,

Jared

Jared M. Spool
User Interface Engineering
510 Turnpike St., Suite 102, North Andover, MA 01845
e: jspool at uie.com p: +1 978 327 5561
http://uie.com Blog: http://uie.com/brainsparks Twitter: @jmspool
UIE Roadshow: Seattle, Denver, DC in June: http://is.gd/gxwe

9 Jun 2009 - 12:47pm
Bhooshan
2009

Thanks for your replies. I got some great insights from Sarah and
Jared's article.

I'm not too sure if this organization I spoke about undertook the
card sorting exercise. My guess is they didn't - like any other
place, the team simply exercised their choice over the hundreds of
users and faltered. I term this as 'shock treatment' given to the
inmates in the mental asylum -- perfectly normal users are treated as
'inmates' and their common sense is misjudged every time. Nothing
new.

The team in this case has assigned a temporary link to the new
website beside the usual old screen during the login phase. My take
on the choice being offered for both the sites is doubtful because
firstly the old user might still be tentative in trying out the new
site. Secondly, if the user cannot find the link in the new design,
he/she might simply enter the old website again. Doesn't that defeat
the whole purpose of redesign and helping create a new mental model?

My suggestion is what if we update each section in phases finally
completing the entire site. This will allow the late adopters to
'wet their feet' in the new design while still completing their
tasks efficiently in the old version. Does this sound lame? My
suggestion comes from an understanding of the eBay process which
designs each section feature by feature rather than update the entire
website all at once? that makes sense to me to avoid any 'shock
treatment'. Thanks for your insights once again.

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Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=42676

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