Thursday, May 31, 2007

Fast Iteration :: Redesigning a Living Web Site

Just came across this article on User Interface Engineering (UIE) discussing Netflix's approach to redesigning their web site: it's constant. They are constantly designing and building new things for, but they remove it when it doesn't work.

"We make a lot of this stuff up as we go along," the lead designer at Netflix said in the UIE article. They found that about 90% of what they develop doesn't work. And by doesn't work they mean users don't like it or respond well to it.

Fast iteration is the freedom for a design team to continuously redesign and tweak features of the web site. It means that a company doesn't need to keep such a grand "when we redesign" list, because many of the changes can be made along the way, and removed if the research shows that users are not liking it. It also means, however, that the company will need an ongoing budget to fuel such enhancements.

The article mentioned how some web site designers don't like fast iteration because it diminishes the lengthly design and development phase, where hours are poured into perfecting a design, only to have it under-perform. With fast iteration, those hours can be trimmed, and added to if the feature shows signs of promise.

Most of the fun of the web for me, personally, is that it is changeable. It is not print where a book is printed and the colors work or they don't, or the glue from the binding holds or it doesn't. To embrace your website as a living and breathing thing, something that can get dusty and just needs touch-ups to maintain its healthy glow, you might just save some money and have a fabulous website.

Read "The Freedom of Fast Iterations: How Netfliz Designs a Winning Web Site" for the liberating details >

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