How to Redesign an Application: a step-by-step guide

You might remember that 10 years ago the world was crazy about Gangam style, The Walking Dead, and Edward Cullen. But years passed, we have new trends and barely remember what was a decade ago.

In UI/UX design trends come and go just as fast. Some mobile app from 2012 with all the trendy dark mode sliders and skeuomorphic elements can make a 2023 user’s flesh creep. Luckily, you can always turn a new leaf with redesign. Keep reading if you want to know how to arrange an app redesign process with the best profit possible.

Reading time: 11 minutes

Table of contents

    Reasons for the app redesign

    Entrepreneurs nurture their products from the very idea and sometimes get blind as most parents do. Therefore it’s easy to miss the moment when it comes to app redesign. Here are some cases prompting you this is a good time for a makeover.

    Outdated interface

    It’s only natural to stay biased towards your product. But waking up and smelling the coffee will do you better. As it did, let’s say, for Apple. Released in 2007, the very 1st iPhone generation was a break. Back then 6 million people bought it, but you would scarcely do the same today. Still, we keep on buying next generation products, as Apple knows full well how and when to upgrade.

    The first version of iPhone interface versus the new one. The left image represents the old era of realistic elements which lost their popularity to flat design

    Metrics dropping down

    Another thing hinting at app redesign are poor results for metrics. In regards to mobile apps you should specifically look into retention, conversion, and adoption rates. Besides, considering churn rates, daily active users (DAU), monthly active users (MAU) and lifetime value (LTV) might be helpful.

    Run through this article to learn more about most crucial metrics for app development

    In case you see low results for the basic metrics, consider this a sign of some flaws that might need corrections.

    Company rebranding 

    Similar to interfaces growing outdated, you may find the entire business identity going dead as a dodo as well. While running a rebranding process, you shouldn’t stop at a brand-new logo, but preserve consistency and revamp all company’s products. App redesign included. This is important to preserve design heredity, build associative flow between a company and its solutions.

    This is how Netflix logos evolved through times

    And this is how website design changed accordingly

    Negative reviews

    Mobile apps are created for users. Sad but true. If they say black comic sans font looks awfully unreadable on dark green background, then it most possibly does. Some entrepreneurs take it personally, but that’s just digging yourself a grave. Feedback highlights areas for improvement of user experience and app design in general.

    Users prompting an app needs some revision

    New target audience

    There are cases when entrepreneurs had been long targeting specific groups of users but someday set new business goals. App design has to evolve accordingly. Let’s say you released a home fitness app for women aged 25-45, but then decided to cover ladies 65+. Then product UI/UX should grow more accessible: employ larger fonts, simpler navigation patterns, and more succinct texts.

    Why app redesign is important

    App redesign process takes time and costs a pretty penny, that’s for sure. However, it will pay for itself and then some more. Here are the perks product-owners may enjoy after application redesign.

      • Crafting a well-versed image. Products that follow design trends seem pleasant to use on a daily basis and therefore inspire respect for developers nurturing them.
      • Standing out in the market. If a mobile app gets timely upgraded, an entrepreneur uncovers an opportunity to make a highly compatible offer.
      • Increased conversions. As redesign includes a UX makeover, it influences the rates mentioned above and not just that.
      • Building brand awareness. Brand awareness helps differentiate a mobile app from others in stores, make it recognizable and trustworthy in users’ eyes.
      • Enhancing chances for new investments. Your product makes a sartorial statement for you in investors’ faces. And nothing speaks in favor better than an application constantly releasing new features and updates.
      • Having a product to boast of. Any app redesign builds on replacing outdated patterns and ideas with new ones. Rolled out in the fashion of the hottest design trends, the software will obviously make you feel proud and voguish.
    Looking for a company to redesign an app for you?
    After 300+ completed projects, we can design an app in any niche — from healthcare to IoT. Contact us, and get a free project estimation in 48 hours.
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    When you don’t need website redesign

    With all the perks and reasons convincing you to start a new chapter in app design, don’t regard a makeover as a plaster for all sores. In some cases it’s just not worth it.

    Case #1. Target audience left out in the cold

    Building an app redesign process with an eye on trends sounds like a smart idea. However, fashion just for the sake of it won’t do you good. To create a friendly and enjoyable user experience, a product-owner should consider trends from the customers’ point of view. If they are 45+ respectable businessmen wearing tuxedos 5 days a week, the whole Memphis look will hardly hook them.

    Case #2. Judgment calls mistaken for proper feedback

    Users say useful things to consider like in the comic sans example mentioned above, but occasionally they just pour out everything they have in mind. Like button colors don’t fit the whole mobile app scheme, name and last name go in line in forms and that’s poor user experience. These solitary comments look too subjective and don’t give occasion to redesign an app. Better look into design trends to find the truth.

    However, when it comes to usability and user experience flaws, product-owners have to be all ears. Low page loading speed, misleading navigation, vague CTAs, poor content composition will always remain the causes for upgrade.

    Top app redesign mistakes and how to avoid them

    Obviously, an entrepreneur won’t enjoy all the benefits of application redesign if they fail to do it properly. Here’s the list of common mistakes to avoid.

    Don’t do this Instead do this 
    Indistinct purposes and objectives for redesignSet KPIs and specify why you need product makeover
    Negligence towards users’ needsRediscover the audience to adjust the product to its needs
    Interface overloadKeep UI/UX balanced and remember that utility and friendliness come first
    Disregard for marketObserve competitors and make sure to follow market trends and communities
    InconsistencyStick to one concept and don’t let it change dramatically in the course of work
    Newbie solo journeyAsk for help, there are professional developers out there ready to guide you
    Current version left unassessedConduct a UX audit of an existing app to uncover points of growth 
    Scant attention to feedbackCollect all the responses and reviews possible to discern the level of user satisfaction
    Unheeded trendsAdapt your design to current trends
    Vague idea of user behavior Gain insight into the behavior patterns using Google Analytics tools
    In case you need some assistance with app redesign, check this list of top 10 UX agencies for your project

    As you see, entrepreneurs often play a dirty trick on themselves right on the start by leaving out the preparation stage. Mobile app redesign process won’t let it pass. The essence of makeover is to fix bugs, remove barriers, and enhance existing design. That’s why we insist that preliminary analysis should come first in your redesign strategy.

    How to properly prepare for the app redesign process

    Let’s say redesign is justified, you have solid reasons, a pack of KPIs to track success, and somewhat of a concept in mind. Rush is not a friend when we talk serious business like redesign. We strongly recommend taking time and prepping for the journey.

    Here’s what you need to do before the start:

      • Secure a realistic budget considering what you can and cannot sacrifice.
      • Think over the deadlines and reckon up a desirable release date in your head.
      • Share the plans with stakeholders.
      • Give your knowledge of UI/UX trends a brush-up.
      • Decide on the features: do they stay the same or not?
      • Assign a person responsible for arranging the process.
      • Choose your path: you can arrange the thing yourself or get in touch with professionals.
      • In case you’ve chosen the second option, study the development market and find your team.
    Let’s start redesigning your app today!
    We look forward to hearing from you. Contact us for a free project estimate within 48 hours.
    Let’s start

    How to redesign an app in 8 steps

    In this chapter we’ll describe how to redesign an application pursuing our approach specifically.

    Step #1. Conduct market research 

    The initial stage of any app design process, total makeover included, is market research. Since you are definitely aiming at the store’s top, your mobile app has to provide some unique value. Market research helps narrow down the focus, find out what competitors have to offer and how you can outdo them.

    There are plenty of methods and approaches of analysis, but judging by experience you can manage with just three. 

    Brand research. Well-known brands have certain identities that make them stand out. This affects brand perception and acts like an online voice for the product. Therefore when you redesign an app, it’s crucial to interview, bring together focus groups to see how users react to your existing app.

    User research. Any mobile app redesign project is initiated to make a product more appealing. If you want to provide such an experience, observe user behavior with Google Analytics. It shows how the audience interacts with user interface and interface elements and based on that you can identify areas of improvements.     

    Competitive analysis. There are over 9 million apps available on Google Play. This means that a software like yours or somewhat similar is more likely to already be there. And worse, the number can be growing. Pay respect to what your opponents have to offer to know the new best practices in your niche.

    Step #2. Conduct a UX-audit of the current version

    The grossest blunder one can make is to disregard the existing interface. We never go there. Instead we deconstruct current app design giving the most heed to user experience. This job should better be done by a professional UX-researcher, who knows how to read metrics and enhance user journey.

    Professional design teams always start with a UX-audit of the product which includes

      • revision of visual design including color palette, fonts, illustrations;
      • reassessment of product architecture; 
      • going over user scenarios;
      • formulating hypothesis of improvement;
      • providing recommendations for leveraging UX potential.

    Step #3. Study customer feedback  

    The last of the three pillars of app redesign research is evaluation of user feedback. This includes gathering reviews on App Store and Google Play, as well as on social networks. Besides, often entrepreneurs create surveys for customers.

    In-app surveys that reveal the true level of general user satisfaction and willingness to recommend the software.  

    Interviews that allow you to reach out to your target audience and specify details about product use.

    Step #4. Develop UI/UX design concept 

    You must have gone through this stage before the very first iteration. The plan remains practically the same. Wireframing. Prototyping.

    Though there are things that make mobile app redesign a bit different. Here’s a small checklist: 

      • In case of rebranding, develop the concept that visually supports your new identity.   
      • Make sure UI design still builds strong association with your brand when it comes to tone of voice, colors, visuals. 
      • Check if the new design is based on the latest user behavior data.

    Step #5. Test the new interface  

    UI/UX testing aims at figuring out flaws and gaps in user experience and the interface in general. In terms of UI it means eliminating inaccuracies like uneven paddings or incorrect displaying on some devices. When it comes to mobile app UX researchers conduct interviews, A/B-tests and create life scenarios.

    Step #6. Do the coding job

    After the design stage is over, developers enter the game and start writing a project codebase. There’s always a frontend developer involved and depending on the amount of new features a backend-coder enters the workflow. Sometimes mobile apps need a makeover from scratch, then it’s way better to simultaneously roll out both on iOS and Android markets using React Native, a JavaScript framework.

    Step #7. Make sure the app works properly and release it

    Testing again, but here a QA team assesses the product and points out bugs. Besides, developers make sure the software meets all the requirements of platforms.

    Finally, here comes the major milestone of the whole mobile app redesign, the release itself. Here’s a tip: you can try soft launch. Soft launch is a release approach when you roll out a new version to a limited audience. Based on feedback your design team fixes some features, UI elements and user journey. Finally you enter the target market with the best-fitting product.

    Step #8. Conduct the post release research 

    “Was it a success or not?”, that’s the thing you uncover at the last redesign stage, However, product lifecycle doesn’t just end like this. As you release the application, it requires support and development.

    Don’t forget about post-release analysis including the data like:

      • The number of signups or registrations,
      • The amount of active users per day/week/month,
      • Engagements rates,
      • Retention rates,
      • Conversions rates. 

    Based on this you can release iterations with UX or UI design fixes and build a more user-oriented product in general.

    How much does it cost to redesign a mobile app

    The ultimate price varies from one design team to another. App development always depends on task complexity. 5 screens can set you back $7 000 or less. But if we’re speaking of a sophisticated e-commerce platform like Etsy the number can reach $1 000 000.

    For the table down below we’ve roughly estimated the cost for mobile app redesign in partnership with Purrweb. The example includes the redesign of approximately 15 blocks (e.g sign-in, feed, etc.) with 3-5 screens in each. The process covers the stages described below guided by the approach reflected in the article.

    For your convenience we discuss costs at the very start while doing the entire project estimation. This takes approximately one day and is free.

    StageTimeApproximate costs
    Project estimation8 hours$0
    Market research2 hours$90
    UX audit4 hours$180
    UI/UX design90 hours$4 455
    Development215 hours$10 600
    QA86 hours$1 720
    Project managementduring the whole project$1 750
    Total 3 weeks $18 795 

    Purrweb’s experience in redesigning apps

    We’re tirelessly insisting that newborn entrepreneurs shouldn’t enter app development all by themselves. Do it in partnership. Choose a company with experience in redesign and relevant cases. 

    Let’s see what a redesign case can look like. Down below you see interface screenshots of Order Up, a food order application. Its owners needed a makeover to leverage outdated UX and make the product user-unfriendly. Food on the app wasn’t categorized and order time and shipping options were hidden in a drop-down menu.

    Order Up interface

    See Order Up before and after

    As you see, we created a new interface with easy navigation through menus and added a drop-down on every screen. The design still looks minimalistic though now it has acquired teeny-tiny details that make interaction more pleasant. To know more about the things we changed see Order Up case in our portfolio.

    Quick recap

      • There are several reasons and signs prompting an entrepreneur to redesign an app. These are last century UI/UX design, change of company’s identity, loads of negative reviews from users, shift of focus in favor of a new target audience, and poor metrics.
      • If done right, application redesign contributes to entrepreneurs’ image both in the eyes of users and investors, helps grow brand awareness and earn credibility on the market.
      • To ensure a smooth and slick revamping, set distinct goals and KPIs, do some user research to gain audience insights, and monitor the market. For some entrepreneurs words like ‘redesign an application’ sound too Greek, they’d better partner with professional developers with a suitable background.
      • Do some prep work before going all out for redesign. Consider the budget and deadlines, discuss the plans with stakeholders and assign the one who’s going to take a hit and manage the process from your side.
      • App redesign process has much in common with the ultimate design workflow. It starts with research, but now you have to go over the current UI/UX to top it off. Then do customer review analysis, coding, testing and release. After the roll out you gather user reviews as well to see if you are moving on the right way.

    If you’re planning to start your app redesign and looking for a team of professionals to help you, contact us using the form below.

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    FAQ s

    • What should be the team for a successful redesign?

      There is always a UI/UX designer, and a frontend-developer involved. Project-managers guide the work of the entire team, and they are there too. As the case might be, a backend-developer joins the team. His presence depends on whether you are planning any changes in the server components.

    • How long does it take to redesign an application?

      This is a thing to discuss with a developing partner, as it depends. Purrweb team releases an MVP in three months. We create a basic version, observe the feedback, and make all the necessary adjustments.

    • How to check the quality of the redesign?

      There are several ways and methods. First, you should investigate audience perception of UI using recruit tests, surveys, 5-seconds testing, and the first-click. Then it’s essential to dwell on user experience. Researchers turn to battle-approved tools of usability assessment: scenarios, recording tools, heatmaps, and so on.