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The 3 Most Notable Website Redesigns of 2015

| December 30, 2015
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2015 was a great year for UX.

The once-trendy buzzword is now becoming a universal standard. And many influential organizations in the U.S. are making design a top priority.

A movement towards user-centered product design is taking shape, and it prompted three highly trafficked websites to undergo substantial redesigns in 2015.

A movement towards user-centered product design is taking shape, and many well-known organizations are leading the charge

Whether you love or hate their new designs, the websites included in this list are collectively used by more than 150 million people every month. Which means they have a wider impact on a larger number of people than any other redesigns in 2015.

And even if these sites didn’t get it perfectly right, they still made huge strides in the right direction that deserve to be noted. So without further ado, here are the three most highly trafficked websites that underwent the most substantial redesigns in 2015.

(Note: If you want to see how real people interact with these sites, be sure to watch the sample user testing video at the bottom of each section.)

1. Netflix

Netflix launched their new website redesign in June 2015. With 62.3 million subscribers worldwide and 10 billion hours of movies and shows streamed in Q1 2015, making such a big change to their UI was a risky move. But overall, the results were positive.

netflix-before-after

Click to see the full-size image

The new, sleek design looks more up-to-date. And it looks and feels more like their mobile, console, and smart TV apps than the old site did, creating a more consistent experience across all channels.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Netflix redesigned their website to create a consistent experience across all channels” quote=”Netflix redesigned their website to create a consistent experience across all channels”]

With members spending more time using their mobile and tablet apps, Netflix said that they wanted to create “a richer, more visual experience, and a website that works more like an app and less like a series of linked web pages.”

Now exploring the Netflix catalog and finding the content that you want is faster and easier than ever before. Information about shows and movies now appears in-context when you hover over an image, rather than opening up a separate page. And you can start playing a video with a single click.

Sample UserTesting session:

2. ESPN

In January 2015 ESPN had 94 million users. And of those users, 61% of them accessed ESPN’s website solely on a mobile device. So their product team began to work on a responsive site that provided a seamless experience across all devices.

Click to see the full-sized image

Click to see the full-size image

Their new site launched in April 2015 with the goal to make it as easy as possible for users to access the sports news and information that matters most to them, the moment they want it, wherever they are.

[clickToTweet tweet=”ESPN’s redesign helps fans access what matters most to them, the moment they want it, wherever they are” quote=”ESPN’s website redesign makes it easy for fans to access what matters most to them, the moment they want it, wherever they are”]

Not only did they make the UI cleaner and more aesthetically pleasing but, like they said in their official statement, they also “improved personalization so that when you access ESPN.com, the stories, videos, predictions and rumors about your favorite teams are just a touch or click away.”

Now their website uses your location to guess your favorite sports team, and uses this information to prioritize the most relevant content. It also allows you to tailor your preferences so that the next time you visit, the content will be customized to your unique personal interests.

Sample UserTesting session:

3. Whitehouse.gov

The White House released its first-ever responsive homepage in April 2015 in an effort to bring their website in line with modern best practices, and to help visitors find the most relevant content as quickly as possible.

Click to see the full-sized image

Click to see the full-size image

To make their online platforms more accessible and user-friendly, the development team at the Office of Digital Strategy designed a new site that, “now displays content in a consistent way, no matter which device you’re using—desktop, laptop, mobile phone, or tablet.”

Rather than trying to overhaul the entire White House website in one, large-scale undertaking, they released new features on a section-by-section basis. This allowed them to make changes based on user feedback and improve parts of the site that were most valuable—rather than building things nobody wanted.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Releasing few features on an iterative basis allows the White House to avoid building things nobody wants” quote=”Releasing few features on an iterative basis allows the White House to avoid building things nobody wants”]

Ashleigh Axios, the Creative Director who led the redesign said, “the processes we’re using now are known as ‘iterative design’ and ‘agile development,’ and reflect a larger user-centric effort within the Federal government to transform the ways we design, build, and deliver technology.”

Based on user feedback, the White House added a series of sections to their website such as the State of the Union, the biographies of Presidents and First Ladies, the Press Office, and the White House Blog.

Sample UserTesting session:

What do you think?

So, what do you think? What was your favorite website redesign of 2015? Tell us about it on Twitter.