When you make big changes, make them properly.
Don’t implement something because “you know it’ll work” or “because you know your users”. Worse yet, don’t think that you know better than your users what they want. This usually ends in a disaster.
If you want a big redesign, consider gradual changes, each one A/B tested if possible. This way it will be easier to roll back a failed change and still move forward. When the whole redesign makes your conversion rates drop (which usually happens) then you have no idea what is causing the drop. You can either blindly try changing a few things, or rolling everything back, with lost of wasted time, money, and no real learnings.
For big changes:
- Do as much research as possible (surveys, user testing, session recordings, heatmaps, analytics)
- Build simple prototypes or mockups and do some user testing to see if it makes to implement them or make changes to them
- Implement changes in batches, related in nature (first maybe just product pages, then checkout, homepage, site structure, etc.)
- A/B test each batch
- Implement the winning batch and move on to the next one
With this process, you will:
- Avoid an inevitable conversion rate drop after a big redesign
- Improve overall effectiveness
- Know which changes worked, which didn’t, with a good enough idea why
- Save a lot of time and money in the long run. While it’s faster to implement everything in one batch, it takes much more time, to try and troubleshoot it after, figure out why it’s not improving conversions, and either test everything one thing at a time, or scratch everything and go back to the old, tried-and-true design.
Have yourself an effective redesign, don’t punish yourself with your version of the last season of Game of Thrones.