Guide to coupling app redesign with feature updates



Feature updates and redesigns are essential parts of any app’s journey. As resistant as humans are to change (only 21% of users install iOS app updates within a week of release), the new generation has no dearth of options for almost every device or app. Designing a new feature and releasing it in the right manner has the following key benefits:

  • Reduction of churn through re-engagement of users who are evaluating competitors or are not fully satisfied with the current app features.
  • Improvement in loyalty by giving existing users and fans proof that they are being heard and their needs are being addressed.
  • Boosting retention by giving users more features to get used to and adopt in their lives.

As important as it is to reinvent your app and release new features, it all depends upon how you communicate these feature updates to current and potential users. All updates are not starkly explicit and might lose their deserved attention, if not hyped adequately.

Communication of feature updates

Communication of app feature updates is a little tricky, in that it doesn’t work like communication for a new app, new product, or new variant. It has to be subtle but noteworthy enough and has to use innovative channels. Here are 4 common routes you can use for feature update communications.

  • Blog posts: Blog posts, especially if you have an active and frequented blog, are great tools for communicating everything you need about your feature update. You can have one or more blog posts as permanent assets explaining the why, what, how, and when of your update in great detail. These posts could be promoted through social media for maximum reach and awareness.
  • Emails: Emails are the best means in a situation where your users have been churning out and you need to re-engage them by communicating that the problems they were facing have been resolved. With email, there’s a great amount of measurability in terms of how many people could’ve actually checked out your feature update.
  • Walkthroughs: This is one way of designing a new feature and putting it right in front of people’s faces to notice. Be it modals, tooltips, slideouts, animations, on-screen highlights, or dedicated walkthroughs, in-app announcements are irreplaceable. They must not be too distracting, or too subtle to notice either.
  • App redesign: Why just stop at modals and smaller UX add-ons when you can go for a redesign altogether? There’s no better way to announce feature updates in-app than UX UI redesigns.

Why app redesign for feature updates?

First and foremost, app redesigns can help you with both in-app and external promotions for your feature updates. There’s nothing like a visual key-in to a functional update. It is like serving your technical feature update on an attractive platter to grab the attention of even those who won’t pay much heed otherwise. Plus, your product and brand remain fresh in the minds of users with visual identifiers for product improvements.

Redesign + Feature update: The process

Designing a new feature along with an app redesign is a collaborative and cohesive process, which needs all hands on deck. Here are the steps for the process:

  • Research: You will always have an upper hand in this step. That’s because, you already know who exactly your target audience is, what they need, and what their preferences are. However, that must not make you complacent. There still is a lot more to do in terms of measuring the impact of the new update, gauging and forecasting reactions, targeting new segments, etc.
  • Defining content: Based on research, you then need to define each detail of your update and design. This includes bug fixes, performance improvements, security updates, design specifications, user flows, wireframes, user journeys, etc. For such a comprehensive overhaul, each detail needs to be looked into separately and then brought together by the project manager for the big picture view.
  • Tools: Once you have your working blueprint, you then need to bring in tools to put it into action. This would require tech tools, design tools, UX tools, coding tools, and other specific tools. If your existing tool stack isn’t the best choice, always take a leap and get new ones.
  • Testing/measurement: The penultimate stage before the launch is the testing stage. Here, you test the app redesign and the feature updates as a package with your own colleagues, end-users, market experts, and all sets of people who could provide perspective.
  • Onboarding: This is the most crucial step which comes after the launch. Whether it is walkthroughs, tutorials, interactive sessions, or simple videos, onboarding needs a design and strategy of its own.

Redesign for feature update: Approach

There are two approaches you can take for this: a design refresh or a design update. While a design refresh is like a coat of paint, a design update is a major overhaul. If your feature update is major, you might want to and need to go for a design update. In case of a minor update, a subtle refresh would suffice.

If you go for a big update, in this case, users might be disappointed with very few substantial feature updates in comparison. But since some issues don’t resolve with just a coat of paint, you will need a grand update at times which could potentially come with a product and brand overhaul.

Final thoughts

While you set out upon the ambitious task of a redesign+feature update, don’t forget to maintain cohesiveness and continuity. An app that looks newer is great. But an app that looks completely new must be a well-thought-out decision and not a sweet accident.

Going through the redesign process on your own while also handling feature updates might put stress on your team. Plus, external help always comes with unique expertise. For UX UI redesigns and other UX UI requirements, get in touch with Divami. We offer premium UX UI services and boast of a rich and diverse portfolio that you can check out here!

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