I have a friend, Alex. He is a successful businessman who owns a couple of online marketplaces. It’s hard to find a person who will be as much a perfectionist as Alex is. He likes it when his workplace is perfectly clean; he gets irritated when his wife puts milk on a wrong shelf of the fridge; as I was saying, Alex loves it when things are in a flawless order. Which is why, when it came to redesigning one of his marketplace websites, Alex couldn’t sleep for a couple of nights. As it turned out later, in vain, for their new redesign sucked.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t awful in terms of design itself or its visualization. On the contrary, the design itself was really great. However, the sales decreased significantly. A logical question is “Why?”. Another logical question is “What should they have done to improve the situation?”.

Why do sales deteriorate after your redesign?

One of the questions in terms of a redesign is how it affects users. In general, it’s almost impossible to predict the way users will behave after visiting your redesigned website for the first time. No matter how hard you try to prevent a user engagement failure, you cannot prevent everything. However, you can lower the risks you take by sticking to some ground rules.

Warn your users

First and foremost, you need to warn your users that your website is going for a redesign. You might think that people like surprises (and they do). However, when it comes to business, it’s better to always stay on the safe side. There are several ways you can tell your users about the upcoming redesign.

Email announcements

This option will work with your registered users or those who subscribed to your newsletters. Though it doesn’t have an active user engagement rate, it reaches more clients than any other option. What’s more, email announcements can be of different kinds. You can make them entertaining, witty, and engaging so that your users will want to check out the new design on their own. Unconsciously, they will have a better attitude to the new design and user engagement won’t be reduced.

In-app tours and tutorials

In-app tours, tutorials, and walkthroughs can boast about having the best user engagement rate because they are perceived as the kind of a game. Users like clicking on a brand new call to action buttons; they enjoy new colorful design options, especially when it’s a demo version. New things can be much more exciting. Everything depends on the way you present them.

Blog and news post announcements

This is a highly popular way used by different websites like The New York Times, Entrepreneur etc. Such announcements don’t require lots of resources to be prepared. Nevertheless, they have their own impact on users. If the message reaches its target audience, your clients will most likely want to find out what your new design is going to be. Thus, do your best to make this post intriguing and exciting.

Takeaways for website owners

Why should you warn your users? Except for the reasons mentioned above, you can turn your redesign process into a winning venture. In the first place, we’re speaking about your business’ PR. A redesigned website or mobile app is a perfect newsbreak to discuss. Which is why the marketing preparation would mean a lot. What’s more, not only can you keep your user engagement steady, you may also get lots of new clients, depending on the marketing campaign you provide.

Test your new design

There are different ways for you to test your redesigned website in terms of users’ perception. One of the most common tests that give the most precise results is A/B testing. Being a controlled experiment, such testing helps to understand the reaction of users to the changes made. If user engagement in A/B testing is lower in a redesigned website, it only means that the engagement will keep decreasing. In this case, you need to make some additional changes in order not to lose your website’s visitors.

Takeaways for website owners

My friend Alex didn’t want to go for an A/B testing ‘cause he thought it would be more time-consuming. Instead, he gathered a target group on his own and conducted a questionnaire. The results of such kind of testing were quite satisfactory, which is why the beta version was launched. The beta version of the new design wasn’t so successful after all. Thus, you need to look for the tests that would give more accurate results.

Bottom line

No one can answer the question why user engagement decreases when you go for a redesign. However, it can be predicted and, what’s more important, prevented. While providing your website redesign, don’t forget who it is aimed at: your users. Make sure their interest doesn’t get hurt after your website gets its new design.