Horrors of Redesign

Tropicana recently learned a very important lesson in design and human nature.  The company chose to redesign their packaging, which removed the iconic orange with a straw in it, and replace it with orange juice being poured into a wine like glass.  The new design was not a bad design, it was well done and really had a clean look to it.  Here take a look for your self.

The design, even though it is an updated design and a clean design caused Tropicana to loose 20% profit causing the company to revert back to the former packaging.   This will most likely go down in history as one of the largest marketing failures, similar to the New Coke marketing in the late 80s.

As designers, we should learn a lesson from Tropicana.  Too dramatic of a change can actually cause the opposite effect then what we want.   Designs have to evolve, similar to Tropicana’s parent company, Pepsi’s globe which itself was redesigned not too long ago.   The product is still recognizable from a distance, and the user is familiar with the design.  When doing a redesign on any site, you must remember your core base and listen to what they are wanting.   Too much of a change can drive them away from what your design, but at the same time if you do very little changes, they may go unnoticed.  We also must remember that humans are creatures of habit by nature.   Most humans find that following a set schedule is easier for them than the chaos of not having a schedule.  Since we are born, we are told that we should wake up at a certain time, go to bed at a certain time, eat at other certain times, this also effect other parts of our life.   We are use to things the way they are and any sudden changes can turn people away from your site.

It is always good to test a redesign before making it official.   Have a group of people you trust to try your new designs.  Don’t depend on very close friends or family, they are more likely to tell you what they think you want to hear.  Using regular visitors on your site will return better and more accurate results.   Listen to what the users are they are telling saying, not just what you want to hear.  If they think that the shade of blue you have in your design is horrible, then ask them what color they would use.  At the same time, understand that one person’s ideas doesn’t represent everyone.  Also, know when your choice should override the person giving you the feedback.

All redesigns aren’t a good thing.  As designers, we tend to think that in order to drive more traffic to a site, the site should be redesigned, when that may actually drive away the current user base.

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