The power of iterative design

I recently began my seventh year at Connected. In that time I’ve worked on more projects I can remember, many of them redesigns of existing websites. I love building a new site from scratch, it allows me to create a structure that makes sense to us and also gives me the chance to flex my CSS muscles and apply some fancy new techniques. While I love seeing new designs arrive and getting my fingers dirty with some code, I sometimes wonder if a full redesign is required?

Redesigning a site can be risky. On a large site, regular users become accustomed to how it works, they develop their own behaviour patterns and ways of doing things. A major design overhaul could demolish these patterns for users and put them off coming back to the site as often. Facebook has fallen foul to this a number of times, had it not been for it’s millions of users willing to put in the time to relearn the system, it could have proved fatal for them.

Make small changes to improve the bigger picture

Imagine you’re driving to work and you hit a pothole, then imagine the pothole could be corrected overnight as if by magic, without the need for traffic cones and workmen. The next day, you drive down that stretch of road and, whether you notice or not, the road just seems better than before. To put it simply, rather than ripping up an entire stretch of road and relaying it, creating confusing diversions and inconvenience to the end user (or the driver in this case), solve the smaller problems individually and the user journey can continue uninterrupted whilst being improved at the same time.

We’re big believers in A/B testing and over the years we’ve performed hundreds, maybe thousands of tests on many client sites. In my experience, changing smaller sections of a site have made a much bigger difference than making big sweeping alterations. Experiment with different words on your form submit buttons or make your primary cta look more enticing, encouraging your user to make an action.

Making small improvements to your site over time can reap huge benefits.