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

You might remember that ten years ago, the world was crazy about Gangnam Style, The Walking Dead, and Edward Cullen. But as the 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 apps from 2012 with all the trendy dark mode sliders and skeuomorphic elements can make a 2024 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. We’ve also prepared a checklist to help you through the redesign process.

Reading time: 15 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 mobile app redesign. Here are some cases prompting you that this is a good time for a makeover.

Outdated interface

It’s only natural to stay biased toward 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.

first version of the iPhone interface

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 The left image represents the outdated design with realistic elements, which lost their popularity to flat design.

Metrics dropping down

Another thing hinting at application redesign is poor results for key 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 the 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Similar to interfaces growing outdated, you may find the entire business identity going dead as a dodo as well.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 the company’s products. App redesign included. This is important to preserve design heredity and build associative flow between a company and its solutions.

Netflix logos

This is how Netflix logos evolved through time

website design changed

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 a dark green background, then it most possibly does. Some entrepreneurs take it personally, but that’s just digging yourself a grave. Negative feedback highlights areas for improvement of user experience and app design in general.

Users prompting that an app needs some revision

Users prompting that an app needs some revision

New target audience

There are cases when entrepreneurs have been long targeting specific groups of users but someday set new business goals. Thee 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, the product UI/UX should grow more accessible: employ larger fonts, simpler navigation patterns, and more succinct texts.

App updates

If you want your app to have as many users as possible, you need to update it regularly. The app must be compatible with all the latest devices, and the design should adapt to different screen sizes.

But mobile app redesign is not only about changing the visual. As the market becomes even more competitive and new technologies constantly appear, it’s crucial to keep your app up-to-date. This means improving the already existing features and adding new ones. There are many ways to learn about new trends in app development. You can read tech news on TechCrunch, monitor social media, or participate in discussions on forums like Reddit and Stack Overflow.

Why app redesign is important

The application 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 and makes 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.
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When you don’t need app 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

consider trends from the customers’ point of view

Building an app redesign process with an eye on industry 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 five 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, and name and last name go in line in forms, and that’s a 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, and poor content composition will always remain the causes for an 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 a list of common mistakes to avoid.

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

As you can see, entrepreneurs often play a dirty trick from themselves right on the start by leaving out the preparation stage. The mobile app redesign process won’t let it pass. The essence of the 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 about serious business like app 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 industry 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!
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How to redesign an app in 8 steps

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

steps to redesign an app

Step #1. Conduct market research 

The initial stage of any app design process, the 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 and find out what competitors have to offer and how you can outdo them.

There are plenty of methods and approaches to 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 and 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 the user interface and interface elements. And based on that, you can identify areas for improvement.   

Competitive analysis. There are over 9 million apps available on Google Play. This means that 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 the existing 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, and illustrations;
    • reassessment of product architecture; 
    • going over user scenarios;
    • formulating the 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 the evaluation of user feedback. This includes gathering reviews on App Store and Google Play, as well as on social networks. Besides, entrepreneurs often create surveys for customers. But it’s not that simple. Reading what users have to say in-store comments is not enough. There are several tools you can use to leverage this stage:

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

User 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.

However, some things make mobile app redesign a bit different. Here’s a small checklist: 

    • In the case of rebranding, develop a concept that visually supports your new identity.   
    • Make sure UI redesign still builds a strong association with your brand when it comes to tone of voice, colors, and 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 apps, UX researchers conduct user interviews and 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 number 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 a soft launch. A soft launch is a release approach when you roll out a new version to a limited audience. Based on the feedback, your design team fixes some features, UI elements, and user journeys. 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, the 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 number 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.

Checklist for mobile app redesign 

We’ve covered the steps of the redesign process in detail. But to make sure you don’t forget anything, we’ve prepared a checklist for you. We also created a template in Google Docs format for your convenience. You can download it here

If you do the redesign with your team, you can go through the checklist to make sure you follow the steps. If you work with a contractor, you can use the checklist to monitor their work.

Here’s our brief checklist of how to redesign an app:

Checklist for mobile app redesign

How much does app redesign cost?

Now, you know how to redesign an app. But what about the costs? The ultimate price varies from one design team to another. App development always depends on task complexity. Five 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 of mobile app redesign in partnership with Purrweb. The example includes the UI/UX 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.

Stage Time Approximate costs
Project estimation 8 hours $0
Market research 2 hours $90
UX audit 4 hours $180
UI/UX design 90 hours $4,455
Development 215 hours $10,600
QA 86 hours $1,720
Project management during the whole project $1,750
Total  3 weeks  $18,795 

Popular programs for app redesign

The following are the three most popular tools used for app redesign:


Figma is a web app with features for collaborative work. With Figma, team members don’t have to wait until someone shares the newest version of the file. Everyone, from designers to analysts, can access the same workspace, view the current state of the project, and work on it simultaneously. This greatly accelerates the mobile app redesign process.


Sketch and Figma are very similar, though some features work differently. Sketch has an extensive ecosystem of plugins, that can expand its capabilities. However, its real-time collaboration features are more limited than Figma’s, which can make teamwork a bit more challenging.

Adobe XD

Apart from designing, Adobe XD allows you to create usable, high-fidelity prototypes. Designers can switch between designing and prototyping, make quick adjustments, and share the result in a high-resolution vector format. Also, it can integrate with other Adobe Creative Cloud apps, providing a comprehensive toolkit for application redesign.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution here. Design agencies choose the tools based on how their workflow is organized. For a client, the program choice won’t make much difference.

Top 8 mobile app redesign trends for 2024

As new technologies emerge, mobile design trends evolve. And along with them, the users’ needs and habits change. So, let’s take a look at the latest trends in mobile app design that will leave a lasting impression and increase user engagement.

Artificial intelligence

The emergence of artificial intelligence has led to the creation of platforms that can improve workflows and assist with various matters at any time. Integrating AI into your app will help you enhance the user experience and increase personalization. This can be chatbots, tailored recommendations, or analytics tools.

For example, chatbots can operate autonomously. They improve customer service by answering frequently asked questions and providing relevant information about the services. This increases the productivity of employees who can focus on more important tasks.

Augmented reality

IKEA’s AR feature

The AR brings digital objects into the real world through the camera view. This way, developers create immersive and interactive experiences in fields like education, gaming, and retail. People can “try on” clothes and see how well they fit. Also, this feature makes it easier to visualize how the new piece of furniture will look in their home.

See also  How to write an effective design brief that explains your product goals

Voice user interface

This technology provides an alternative method of interaction with a device through voice commands. Users don’t have to type anything or interact with the app manually, which increases accessibility. Therefore, the VUI becomes especially useful for people with disabilities or when circumstances make it impossible to use your phone, for example, while driving.

Dark mode

light vs dark theme

This mode is still popular for its convenience and practicality. Imagine you’re lying in bed in dim light before bedtime, and you want to read the latest news or check social media. The bright light from the screen blinds your eyes, and you can feel them straining. That’s when dark mode comes in handy.

You can see it on almost every website and app now. This mode has several advantages. In addition to improving aesthetic appearance and reducing eye strain, it also extends the battery life of your device.

Minimalism with bold typography

Minimalist design is simple. It is often characterized by ample whitespace and limited color palettes. Designers usually pair minimalism with bold typography to create visual impact and hierarchy within interfaces. Minimalist design enhances readability and draws attention to key elements.


Microinteractions are animations that occur when we interact with buttons and perform gestures like swiping and scrolling. They provide instant feedback and guide users through processes, making it easier to navigate and understand the status of the performed action. Microinteractions increase usability and contribute to a more satisfying user experience.


Over the past four years, this design trend has been gaining more and more popularity. Neumorphism is a modernized version of skeuomorphism. The latter involves recreating objects from the real world by copying their shape, shadows, and texture. Skeuomorphism cluttered the design and made it look heavy, which caused designers to switch to a simpler style over time.

Neumorphism is a flat design characterized by soft, minimalistic interfaces that mimic real-world objects through subtle gradients and shadows. It looks more gentle and reduces load time.

skeuomorphism vs neumorphism

The differences between skeuomorphism and neumorphism can be seen in iOS 6 and iOS 17


It is a design trend characterized by transparent and glass-like UI elements. Designers use blurred backgrounds, semi-transparent overlays, and soft shadows to mimic the appearance of frosted glass. The elements float above the background, creating a multi-layered and dynamic visual effect.

Purrweb’s experience in redesigning apps

We’re tirelessly insisting that newborn entrepreneurs shouldn’t enter app development all by themselves. Create a redesign strategy with the help of a company that has experience in redesign.

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

Order Up interface

See Order Up before and after

As you can 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 the interaction more pleasant. To know more about the things we changed see the Order Up case in our portfolio.

Quick recap

    • There are several reasons and signs that prompt an entrepreneur to redesign their existing app. These are last century UI/UX design, change in the 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, a redesigned app contributes to entrepreneurs’ image, both in the eyes of users and investors, helps grow brand awareness, and earns 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 who’s going to take a hit and manage the process from your side.
    • The 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, usability testing, and release. After the rollout 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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  • What should be the team for a successful redesign?

    There is always a UI/UX designer and a front-end developer involved. Project managers guide the work of the entire team, and they are there too. As the case might be, a back-end 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 steps to include in your redesign strategy. First, you should investigate audience perception of UI using recruit tests, surveys, 5-second testing, and the first-click testing. 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.