Danger… reskin!

It's a well-known fact that every designer wants to do a reskin of the product they’re working on. After tinkering away out-of-hours, designing a dream version of the app, we decided that the benefits of a refined user interface were absolutely worth it. Together we began to rethink our brand image and who the product was for. In the past, Pelican had suffered from little to no brand identity. Nothing made it stand out or appeal to its target audience. This made the business reluctant to spend money on advertising, and simply bought about a lack of confidence in the product.

The reskin not only created excitement in the team it improved legibility through type hierarchy and sequenced styles. We added colour to help decision-making and the processing of information. We also build reusable components to help improve developer time and add new features to multiple pages quickly. We launched a brand new website and accompanying marketing videos. The reskin arguably had the most effect on the business. It not only gave us confidence, but it gave our users confidence they were part of something cool and expanding. It was something they saw change over time and could be proud they were a part of.

While it felt frustrating at the time, the reskin took several months to complete. But staggering its release on a per page, per component or per feature basis was essential. Not only was it more manageable for our developers, but it let us gather crucial user feedback which went on to inform further design decisions. This was absolutely fundamental to effectively implement such wide-reaching changes and ultimately create the best, most effective user interface for our users.

Just the start

When we started this project there was no big meeting where we outlined a grand vision on post-it-notes. The process developed over time, it was tough, dirty and we made mistakes. Arguably some would say if we paused, had creative sprints and bean-bag blue-sky-thinking sessions, we could have been more effective. But not every business has that luxury. There’s a trust that needs to be formed with stakeholders and investors, big changes take time. To begin with, selling those changes were equally as hard as implementing them. Pelican did solve problems. It just needed help to be more efficient in practical ways that kept the business going and kept their existing users happy.

Over 18 months the data clearly points to improvements in all the areas we released, but naturally, any release only exposes new problems. Pelican is far from finished. The team is actively iterating, responding to user feedback, and designing new experiences.

As a team over 18 months, we've unearthed Pelican’s unique selling points and gave each of them space to evolve. We developed a process that was effective for us. We got better at releasing faster, on time, meeting expectations while improving all areas of the app equally. We learned to ask the right questions, change what we got wrong and stop when we lost sight of the goal. Every improvement opened a new door and is only continuing to do so.