Impact of an outdated UI on B2B business and what to consider before a redesign

Yeshika Senadeera


4 mins

Why do businesses fall into the trap of not updating UI

Many businesses put off updating their user interface (UI) for a few common strategic and operational reasons. They fear that changing the UI might upset their existing customers who are used to the way things are. This is especially true for businesses that have been around for a while and have customers who don't like changes.
Second, as more features are added to a product, the UI can get more complicated. Redoing it can be tricky. Overhauling such a complex interface is not only technically challenging but might make the product less efficient during the transition period.
Lastly, It's a common belief that updating a UI is too costly and time-consuming. Often, businesses decide to spend their resources on other projects that they think have quicker returns on investment. This can lead to delays in necessary UI updates, making the interface feel outdated and potentially putting the business at a disadvantage in a competitive market where modern, easy to use interfaces are important. However, this perspective might be short sighted.
But on a positive note, UserZoom’s State of UX Survey shows that 62% of executives recognized the significant impact of high quality design in enhancing the perception of their B2B brands. This underscores the role that well designed user interfaces play in shaping the image and reputation of B2B products.
Positive returns are significant even for the most complex products with the right plan in place. First, let's talk about the impact of outdated UI and then discuss essential factors to consider when initiating a redesign.

The real cost of an outdated UI

Although it's natural to worry about the costs and disruptions that may come with updating a user interface, holding off on these changes can cause bigger problems down the line. If a UI feels outdated, it can frustrate users and eventually might cost even more to update as technology advances. Let's look at the real costs of sticking with an old UI.

Fewer new customers are attracted to the business.

Having an outdated UI can really set a business back, when it comes to attracting new customers. A study done by Gitte Lindgaard shows on average, people make an aesthetics driven first impression based on a product's appearance in just 50 milliseconds. That's faster than the blink of an eye. This means that within a very short time of landing their eyes on an interface, a potential customer has already made snap judgments that can determine whether they find the product appealing enough to consider further. If the UI looks old or cluttered, they are likely to view the entire product as less valuable and not worth their time. Which can lead potential customers to abandon it before exploring its features or true benefits.

And another study conducted by InVerve Marketing shows 93% of consumers rely on visual appearance when considering new products. This is why it's crucial for businesses to keep their product UIs modern and user friendly, as the first impression can directly influence consumer decisions and affect overall sales and customer retention.

Statistics about user behavior regarding the visual appeal of a product.

An old UI could push your loyal customers to start looking elsewhere.

As technology and design trends continue to evolve, customers often expect and appreciate modern, user-friendly interfaces. When a business fails to update its UI, it risks appearing out of touch with current standards, which can make even its most loyal users start considering alternatives. This goes beyond just losing customers. It can place a business at a competitive disadvantage, leading to lost market opportunities and a decline in new client acquisitions. In today's fast-paced market, users have little patience for cumbersome and outdated interfaces, and they might view a company's failure to invest in a quality UI as a lack of commitment to customer experience.

Over time, this perception can severely damage a brand's reputation and credibility. Which could have a direct impact on its revenue. Users have a very thin patience with cumbersome and outdated interfaces, in fact “Ingredients for great experiences” study by PWC found that 32% of customers would stop doing business with a brand they loved after one bad experience. Customers drawn to competitors with modern interfaces might lead to a decrease in sales, affecting the overall financial health of the business.

An example of this would be MySpace. At its peak in 2008, MySpace had about 75.9 million monthly active users, but by 2011 as per Similar web statistics, this had reduced to around 34.8 million a 54% drop as users migrated to more newer looking and user friendly platforms like Facebook.

Statistics about the impact of bad experiences on business.

Failing to communicate the real value of the product

Even if you are trying to market a product with a valuable set of features with the latest tech when your UI looks like it’s from the 90s, it will not be a buyer magnet right? It just sends the wrong message. This will make it tough to charge a premium price and maintain healthy profit margins.
A study by McKinsey called “The business value of design” revealed that companies that focused on design had 32% higher revenue than the ones that didn’t.

Companies that transformed with updating their UI

Updating a user interface often leads to significant improvements for a business. In this section, we'll look at some companies that have revamped their UIs and seen real benefits.


In its early days, Dropbox faced challenges with its user interface, which was not as aesthetically pleasing as competing services. After recognizing this, Dropbox went through multiple redesigns to improve the appeal, which significantly enhanced user engagement and satisfaction.
This redesign in 2017 became the talk of the industry and the company itself called this “the biggest change to the Dropbox look in our 10-year history.” according to their release note. And this helped the company position itself as a "living workspace" for creative collaboration, rather than just a file storage service.

Before-and-after UIs of Dropbox redesign.


While being one of the most powerful CRM for business, Salesforce struggled to find its balance with simplicity. They addressed the problem head on and in 2015, introduced the Lightning Experience. This redesign focused on a cleaner, more modern interface.
This led to a significant increase in user adoption. State of the Connected Customer Report by Salesforce found that users on Lightning were 40% more likely to customize their dashboards. Also noticed a 10-15% reduction in time spent on administrative tasks.

Salesforce Classic and the new Lightning look.

Things to keep in mind when getting started with a redesign

Starting a redesign doesn't have to be a complex task, it's all about careful planning and keeping your users at the heart of everything. It’s important to fully understand what needs a refresh so you can plan your resources wisely and avoid any last minute hiccups. Here are three things to keep in mind as you get started.

Listening to your users.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you know what users need without really asking them. Talk to team members who regularly interact with users, like sales or customer support, to collect insights about users. If possible, use screen sharing tools to observe how users interact with the UI in their own environment. This can give you valuable contextual insights without needing to be physically present.

If you're short on time or resources, start by looking at the feedback you already have. Analyze past support tickets, user reviews, and feedback forms. This can provide valuable insights to Identify common user feedback patterns and frequent support tickets without requiring much extra effort.
Short, targeted surveys are also a great way to gather insights. Tools like SurveyMonkey or Google Forms make it easy to distribute these surveys quickly and efficiently.
Creating detailed user personas based on user data and team knowledge can give you understanding of what is the behavior of your users.

Additionally, consider creating a small panel of users who can give quick feedback regularly. This approach is less resource intensive but highly effective. According to Vitaly Friedman “Research doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive, ask for a small but steady commitment to gather evidence. Explain that you don’t need much to get started: 5 users × 30 mins, once a month might already be enough to make a positive change.”

Avoid relying too much on gut feeling.

Sometimes, it’s easy to make decisions based on what you or your team think is best. But without data, this can be risky. Decisions based solely on instincts might miss the mark and not be well aligned with user needs. This can result in a redesign that users find confusing or frustrating, which then leads to lower user satisfaction. When working with different stakeholders, it is important not to cloud the decision with possible biases and assumptions. This could make the UI reflect personal preferences rather than user needs. If you don’t have analytics set up, start with something simple. Tools like Google Analytics are free and can provide valuable insights. There are plenty of online tutorials to help you get started. If you don’t have the expertise, think about consulting a UX consultant who can help interpret the data.

Don’t misjudge the scale of the redesign.

It’s easy to either underestimate or overestimate the scope of changes needed. According to a study by the Standish Group, only 16.2% of IT projects are completed successfully on time and on budget, which often stems from misjudging the project scope. Start with a UI gap analysis to have a clear understanding of what UIs need to be improved and prioritized. Gartner explains that a thorough gap analysis is important for identifying the specific areas where your product falls short and needs enhancement. As per Jakob Nielsen, one of the pioneers in usability, "Clear business goals help ensure that design changes are focused on delivering the highest possible value to the organization and its users.".
Read our detailed article about How to conduct a design audit.

Things to keep in mind when doing a redesign.


Wrapping up, it’s pretty clear that keeping your interface up to date is more than just a cosmetic fix, it’s a necessity for remaining competitive and relevant as a business. Updating your UI might seem like a big step, especially if things have been the same for a while, but the effort is definitely worth it. A fresh, user-friendly interface can make a huge difference, making your product easier to use and also more appealing to new and existing customers. Take it step by step, listen to what your users need, and keep improving. You’ll see the benefits in no time, from happier customers to better sales.

Yeshika Senadeera

Associate UX Lead

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