I’m all for updating and upgrading mobile apps. I think if you’re not constantly looking at ways to improve the user experience, it’s just too easy to fall behind.

That said, a redesign should be done for the right reasons.

If it’s an existing app that’s already popular with users, any changes made to the design or content should be done in very small, incremental, strategic chunks through A/B testing.

If your app is experiencing serious issues with user acquisition or retention, then a redesign is probably necessary. Just be careful. You could end up making things even worse than they were before.

Let’s take a look at some recent redesign fails and review the lessons we can all learn from them.

Lesson #1: Never Mess With A Classic Interface (Scrabble GO)

Scrabble is one of the most profitable board games of all time, so it’s no surprise that EA decided to turn it into a mobile app. And it was well-received.

However, that all changed in early 2020 when the app was sold to Scopely and it was redesigned as an ugly, confusing and overwhelming mess of its former self.

Let me introduce you to Scrabble GO as it stands today.

The splash screen introducing gamers into the app looks nice. Considering how classically simply and beautiful the board game is, this is a good sign. Until this happens:

Scrabble GO home screen

The Scrabble GO home screen is distraction overload. (Source: Scrabble GO) (Large preview)

I don’t even know where to start with this, but I’m going to try:

  • The colors are way over-the-top and there are too many.
  • Since “Start New Game” is the primary action users want to take, it should be the only button in that color, but “Level 5” and “Level 6” distract from it.
  • The interface is so cluttered that it’s hard to focus on any particular part of it.
  • There’s no sense of control or priority within the design.
  • The navigation has gated pages! And I’m not sure what that icon on the left is supposed to be… gems and rewards? Why then is there a gem counter in the top banner?

Beyond the UI of the homescreen, the UI and UX within the game board have been altered, too.

#mobile app

Is Redesigning Your Mobile App A Bad Idea?
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