If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that. Cliches aside, I often hear this from Product Owners with a short time before launch. Perhaps you are in this situation right now and wondering what to do. Invariably, you have received some kind of feedback on the UX UI design from early adopters, advisors, prospects, or worse — potential investors.
While 2 weeks may be an exaggeration, you have anywhere between a few weeks to a very few months to upgrade your UX UI design before launch. The designer you spoke to — perhaps an agency or a freelancer — told you in no uncertain terms that it takes several weeks to months for a major design overhaul — and that’s just for the design changes and your development team starts talking schedules for implementation and your eyes start to glaze over. While they all may be right, you don’t have that kind of budget and more importantly time.
Everyone acknowledges that UX UI design ideally is done at the beginning of the product lifecycle and very difficult to retrofit after the fact. Perhaps this was how you started, or perhaps you didn’t. How we got here is not important now — business priorities, budgets, time constraints always take priority over the ideal scenario. It is what it is and we are where we are. So let us explore what are our options now based on how much time we have left.
Timeline to Update your UX UI Design:
2–4 weeks to launch
Within such a short time frame, major changes to the application are out. I’d certainly rule out making any UX / Interaction changes at this stage. Given the limitations, I’d only focus on upgrading the visual style of the application — brand elements, overall color palette, fonts, icon styles — usually things that can be changed in CSS (perhaps a bit of HTML — but not too much). Of course, someone could say that that’s not really changing much in the way of usability, that it is just lipstick on the proverbial hog (no offense to the hogs worldwide nor to lipstick for that matter). Then again, that’s what we have time for and we are being pragmatic. In UX UI design, UI attracts and UX retains, and I’d settle for an attraction at this stage.
4–8 weeks to launch
The value of great looking dashboards cannot be overstated. So, if you have some more time, I’d invest in sprucing up the main landing page (aka Dashboard) of the application in addition to the visual styling. Especially if it is a B2B SaaS platform or an Enterprise Application, the Dashboard is important. You can check out the dashboards we worked on for our clients by visiting our portfolio page. The dashboard lets you instantly communicate the USP of the platform to your audience at one glance. The value of Dashboards and their significance to your application is a topic for another blog. So, let’s not get into it now. Also, when we talk Dashboard, we mean “Dashboards” — customized for each persona or functional role.
8–12 weeks to launch
If your development team has started resenting you for all the rework they had to go through so far with the visual styling changes and new Dashboards that were out of scope when you negotiated the release dates, they are going to truly hate you now. Because you are going to change almost every page of the application. However, there hate might reduce when you assure them you are not going to completely re-engineer the platform. How so…?
Well, we are going to play a trick. Changing the flows of the application would need a lot of changes to the server-side app. So, without changing the flows, we can evaluate each page and make layout changes. Then, we can add incremental UX UI design changes on the page. Especially in enterprise applications, we oftentimes see data/information overload. The layout changes — including graphical elements, micro-interactions, use of fonts, segregation of information — can all ensure a clean and uncluttered look. You can also focus on on-page interactions and bringing in contextual links and information to better match the user journeys.
12–20 weeks to launch
Now we are in the realm of complete UX UI design revamp. Not that the redesign itself will take this long, but the development will. One thing to recall is that a significant UX revamp will not only mean a redo of the UI. It will also lead to significant changes to the server-side API.
There is a reason why UX UI design should be ideally done at the beginning. Fundamentally, design defines not only the UI but also drives the interactions and hence is connected to the server-side application as well.
In summary, regardless of the timeframe, there are always options to improve the UX UI your platform. It is not an all or nothing proposition. However, the direction to the design team has to be according to your overall plan. At times, we have worked on a complete redesign project, with short term deliverables focusing on the immediate go-to-market release.
Well, you can also contact us at Divami for some expert solutions to your UX UI design issues.
Originally published Divami Blog.