How to start a product redesign - a playbook

A few months back I was working on a large, ground-up redesign for a product I own. I had a little trouble getting started. I realized I needed a playbook to remind me of the basics. I am sharing my playbook for those who are having trouble and procrastinating getting started. Enjoy.

Before you start

  1. At the highest level, in one paragraph, what is a representative user's goal and the problem you are solving for them? 
    • If you can't answer this succinctly you have many, many features or you don't know your users well enough to continue. 
    • Slow down, answer #1 for each feature set before you go to #2.
  2. What's working for them now?
  3. What's not?

What you need to design for them

  • Verify you are building all the tools they need.
  • Show the process they will use to reach goal - give them a map or trail to follow.
  • Indication of progress toward the user's goal - "You are here"
  • Make sure you build in escape hatches because they find a better way.
    • Very few user's "flow" from point a to point b. You can force them into a wizard pattern, but its more likely you will bore them and/or lose them in your flow.
  • Build in tracking of user activity so you can verify users are reaching goals.
  • Build in an internal review process to periodically review how well the features you built are working. I always learn from usage metrics as much as talking to actual users.

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