15 unofficial redesigns that are better than the originals

As designers, we can be extremely critical to different designs and details. If a designer told me they could never suggest a change to a design, I probably wouldn’t believe them. Whether it be on a poster or on a t-shirt, I can always find something I might change if I were the one in charge.

It’s honestly impossible for me to go a day without wanting to move a button on an app or even redesigning a logo so that it just works better. Rarely do we find perfect designs, but when we do, we make no mistake in lauding over them. Some designs immediately inspire and ultimately leave you desiring to make something as great, if not greater. Other designs don’t. It may upset us. It may inspire us to try to do something better.

And trying to make something better is exactly what some designers do.

It’s no easy task to try to redesign. I’m part of the line of thinking that it’s harder to redesign than it is to create a concept from scratch. These designers have found websites they dislike or see problems with and have tried to fix them. These are wonderful personal projects that have been shared, but are so wonderful that perhaps these companies should look into some of these ideas.

 

Pizza Hut

Right now, a lot of restaurants are going through rebrands that require them to have a more mature image. Take a look at fast food places such as Burger King, Wendy’s and even Taco Bell to see how they are creating a cleaner, more grown-up image for themselves.

One that hasn’t hopped on that train yet has been Pizza Hut. This redesign encompasses those more mature ideas by also giving it a touch of rustic naturalness that makes everyone feel better about their ingredients.

2ee430a2f48db11e0bd9727b059790c5 copy

 

Aol

We don’t hear a ton about AOL nowadays unlike like we did when they essentially had a monopoly on the dial-up Internet industry. These days it feels like AOL is still trying to find their way, but they’ve obviously been trying to go the more progressive and hip route.

This redesign isn’t necessarily anything more special than what AOL has now; as a matter of fact, it’s very similar. But you can see how this designer took the time out to really clean up the messes and create something easier and a bit more attractive to read.

aol

 

Craigslist

Craigslist was created with no design in mind. I believe the creators here just wanted to put something online and it ended up becoming a hit. In becoming that popular website, it seems like the developers are Craigslist never wanted to change the look of their site, maybe for sentimental purposes.

Well, this designer has created a site that’s cleaner and in the process, has created a site that looks like you can trust it more. 

craigslist

 

Deviantart

Deviantart is admittedly one of those sites I don’t go to unless I have to. Why? I absolutely abhor the design there, even though it’s a pretty useful and neat site. If you’ve not been, it feels kind of cluttered, bulky and overwhelming — oh, and dated.

This redesign makes the front page simpler and also brings it up to date with this edge-to-edge grid. If Deviantart looked more like this, I’d use it much more often. And also notice how the redesign keeps the same kind of essence of Deviantart — they don’t try to overdo the changes.

deviantart

 

Dribbble

Unlike Deviantart, I think Dribbble is actually a very well designed site from it’s layout to it’s social platform and more.

There are some really subtle changes in this redesign, but I must admit that I like it. It’s updated ever so slightly and also seems to encourage larger shots. They’ve tried to clean up the navigation a bit, and while it’s somewhat peculiar, I actually like it and think it makes sense. This is a very modern redesign for Dribbble.

dribbble

 

Facebook

One thing I dislike about Zuckerberg is I feel like he’s constantly attempting to improve his social network on the advertising side (for businesses) while leaving the user in the dust. I think he’s awfully behind the times and does not care too much about design.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let me tell you how much I love this re-imagined concept for FB. It’s more mature, it feels less cheap than the current Facebook and just seems to make tons more sense than what we have now. How can we forward this to Mark?

facebook

 

Gmail

Here we begin redesigns of all things Google: Gmail! I’m typically in love with most of what Google designs, but lately it seems they’ve been experimenting a lot with Gmail and the design tends to take a hit.

This inbox is obviously simpler and I think that’s what matters most for an email client. Right now Gmail puts lots of focus on labels, gTalk and advertisements that we really don’t care about. But this redesign does a great job of getting to the point and sticking to it.

gmail

 

Google Play

Up next is Google Play. And if you’ve visited it online recently, you know they’ve actually gone ahead and redesigned it themselves (which I think looks pretty stellar). This web design seems to put lots of focus on what’s popular, which I think is obviously important for an app store. It seems to borrow a couple elements from the Apple App Store, but all together I think this is a wonderful redesign.

googleplay

 

Google Plus

Last in our Google parade: Google+. If you’re anything like me and rarely use your Google+ account, your timeline probably looks very boring. On top of that, there isn’t much excitement on any Google Plus timeline as that’s just not how it’s created. This redesign completely rethinks Plus, giving it a little bounce of flavor — it actually looks fun to use. While the colors are probably up to personal taste, I’d definitely say this is one social network I’d like to use.

googplus

 

Linkedin

LinkedIn is one of those sites that I always wanted to get into, but never really could. For one reason, I have no clue how to properly use it and secondly, it’s a bit overwhelming to me. It seems like a very busy office with people running and bustling around trying to get attention.

This redesign does a good job of calming all that down and creating a really nice layout that utilizes the sidebars very well.

linkedin

 

NBA

Well, if you know me, you know NBA.com is one of my favorite websites. And while the NBA did recently redesign their website, it’s obvious they should probably stick to the lay-ups and crossover dribbles.

This redesign is very trendy and even a bit of a novelty, but I love the flat color and the simplicity of it all — something the current NBA site knows very little about.

nba

 

Nokia

Nokia’s site was recently designed to where it now looks a lot like a blog.

And while this designer’s redesign from below is kind of old, I think they were on to something. Mainly, that it doesn’t look like a blog and is actively trying to sell their product. That may or may not be the right thing to do depending on their strategy, but again, I’m not sure why an electronic retailer wants their site to look like a magazine rather than a store. Many customers probably go online to purchase.

nokia

 

Tumblr

Tumblr is one of my favorite spots on the Internet. You can sit there for hours and get lost in tons of animated GIFs and pictures of really yummy looking dishes.

Nevertheless, this designer thinks the sign up page for Tumblr should be a little more extensive. You’ll have to definitely click the image to see the entire thing, but I like how Tumblr is presented more clearly and with more bang than just a sign up page.

tumblr

 

Twitter

While I believe Twitter is the social network that prides itself on it’s simplicity, this overwhelming redesign is rather thoughtful.

Now, it takes some obvious elements from apps like HootSuit with the multiple columns, but it’s very nice to see things on one page. Minus the new logo, this would be kind of cool to see implemented if Twitter decided to go more complex.

twitter

 

Yahoo!

Yahoo is really an afterthought thanks to the innovation of Google and all they do. If you check out Yahoo’s current homepage, it’s not great. At all. They’ve tried to add some wonderful design elements, but all together it’s really cluttered and doesn’t look much different from any news site.

This designer completely rethought the news site as a whole, creating something truly unique for Yahoo. What I like is that it doesn’t just strip everything, but it also keeps a good amount of what Yahoo is obviously interested in, such as news, stocks, etc.

yahoo

 

Conclusion

Many of these designs are eye-openers for what we can and should do, not just on these particular sites, but in any site designs. There’s obviously a large role in the design of the user interface and what makes sense when designing for lots of people. I love the execution of these redesigns, because they happen to pinpoint solutions to problems and create aesthetically pleasing websites at the same time. That’s important in the job of any designer and is important for site visitors. Wouldn’t you want to use one of these redesigned websites?

Are these redesigns better than the originals? What sites would you like to see redesigned this way? Let us know in the comments.

0 shares
  • http://ryry.im/ Ryan Murphy

    No.

  • Bogdan

    Honestly, no they don’t. There’s a lot of work and planning put behind a big site’s design and if there are elements that don’t look as eye candy as some of the ones in this article is because user experience and conversions are more important than appearance.

    • Tim

      Agreed. Most of these are pretty bad, especially the Google stuff.

      • Austin2222

        Yep. The Gmail design isn’t very good

    • Vaidas

      Totally agree.

  • RAYMON

    Gmail.. thank god its not what you want it to be…

    • bzle

      lol It’s like, “Wait, why are there contacts above my inbox? And I do have some unread messages, right?” I do like some of the redesigns, but that gmail one is terrible.

  • shvelo

    Hipster designers

  • Ivanov Karmazov

    I am diggin’ these designs. From a design perspective some of these are pretty cool. But then again design isn’t just about how pretty something looks. It’s about functionality. I mean, these designs would go through about a million iterations before becoming final. You’d have a bunch of UI and UX guys running around crazy.

    Just sayin’

    Great article! :)

  • thefairystamp

    Im sorry, but these examples are not that well thought out. And I personally do not think, that deviantart’s UI is outdated. In Fact, they are constantly improving. I would even refer to deviantart as one of the few webapps, that maintain a constant progress in iterating a good UI.

    I agree with the Yahoo example though. :)

  • bzle

    The craig’s list redesign is a step up… like a baby step. It looks just like the current craig’s list, but slightly cleaned up. Calling it a “redesign” is a bit of a stretch.

  • http://www.designmarkgraphics.co.uk/blog Mark Thomas

    I enjoy looking at these concept designs, actually. In a similar fashion to concept cars at motorshows, I don’t think anybody really expects these websites to ever take that exact form, but maybe one or two of the suggestions will eventually filter down to the available product, in time.

    What makes me chuckle though is the über-cool photos of über-pretty people that are always used in these design attempts. I’m sure if you took my facebook photographs and plonked into that layout, it would still look terrible!

  • http://twitter.com/yosurvivor Hugo Ruíz

    Nope.

  • tjunayed

    No. Well some of these could be visually better but not UX and lots of other area wise.

  • Dharmesh Barot

    General question from a learning standpoint.. When these kind of unofficial designs are created and shown to public in blogs, forums, etc. to get feedback and learn.. do they violate any copyrights or anything? I was thinking of doing something like this with logos just to practice and learn, but getting sued is my fear :)

  • James

    I think the response to this article should have been expected. Design is so much more than ‘making-it-look-pretty’ – and some of these examples are exactly that.

    The only one that strikes me is the linkedin redesign. That design actually has some merit and brings some new features to the table that i would agree with.

    The pizzahut one… don’t even know why that got a mention.

  • http://www.web123partners.com.au/ Bianca Board

    I thought the Twitter one was quite nice actually. Each to there own… but yes… Google + definitely needs a redesign… but maybe not *that* design.

  • zhuli

    I love the way you described LinkedIn. Made me smile… and oh so true!

    (great article too from a design point of view!)

  • bsaunders

    Is this satire?

  • http://www.tylerbrownvisuals.com/ Tyler Brown

    These comments are yet another example of the trend in an overly critical design community. Sure, some of these have pretty poor UI but most of them aren’t “bad” designs by any means.

    The reality is that some of these designers probably haven’t worked for a big site to learn the importance of click-through, lead generation, conversions, etc. which always overules “good” design but I’m only seeing a few completely miss the mark (Yahoo, DeviantArt, Twitter).

    • chasen54

      THANK YOU. Someone here gets it (well, there are a few others). Honestly, these supposed “bad” designs that are currently live weren’t just thrown up without proper thoughts, testing, etc. The Yahoo design COMPLETELY misses the point of what Yahoo! is… a news aggregator. Simplicity can be done well (see BING), but these, these are just designer wet-dreams.

      Performance is King.

  • Kinex Media

    Great I appreciate your time and effort on making these analysis…Thanks for the share…

    http://www.kinexmedia.ca/

  • Jeroen Marechal

    I can’t see what any of shown designs make it any “better” than the originals. Adding gradients, larger type, beautiful images doesn´t make any design “better”.

    • chasen54

      It’s trendy. That’s what makes it better? Right?! RIGHT?! Guys….

  • PitchStock

    There’s some really lovely stuff here, DeviantART could really do with a makeover.

  • Curious

    Where is Twitter redesign gone?

  • chasen54

    I’m gonna go with no as well. Again, many times the “better” design doesn’t win out with consumers (who make or break your site). Not to say “bad design works” but re-designing something without understanding the WHY (which most of these sites have tested) is what makes a fresh design tank.

  • cc

    Ouch. That g+ design is hurting my eyes in so many ways

  • http://notebookandpenguin.com/ Chatman Richmond Jr.

    And here’s where I’m split. I’m with Bodgan on this one. The fatal flaw of most, if not all unofficial redesigns, is that they look to solve interface problems as the DESIGNER perceives them. As designers we’re passionate, but we have to be aware that passion can also create some really dangerous myopia. If design is about solving problems, then style and layout are only part of it.

    Consider if these redesigns were launched tomorrow. What the designer thinks is an improvement may not be reflected by the people who are closer to the interface: the customers, visitors, users, whoever. First, there would be the inherent disconnect that comes with having to relearn a familiar space. That’s something anyone who has dealt with Facebook’s crap can tell you. Second, as Kendra hasn’t become familiar with a few of the interfaces, she wouldn’t experience that disconnect.

    Also consider this: a PSD is not the web. While the capability has expanded to the point where all of these designs are doable, there would be some massive performance hits. And performance as well as responsiveness (in the sense of smooth interaction, not fluid layout this time) are actual metrics. People leave if your site is too slow, and Retina imaging to the max will definitely add to that.

    Mark Thomas nailed it. These are exactly like concept motorshows. Our PSDs are Wonderland. Mockups don’t contain real data. The professional headshots in that Gmail profile are lovely, but they don’t account for the more likely smartphone selfie or the anonymous avatar. That Facebook redesign would look utterly weird as a backdrop to my friends and relatives’ meme obsession. The real Facebook is more like the world of Mad Max.

    When you’re dealing with a space that has so much disparate content, a neutral design with no clear aesthetic is probably your safest bet. The Craigslist redesign would create a ton of dissonance. You can sublet an apartment on Craigslist; you can also find casual sex on Craigslist. There’s the disparity.

    These designs aren’t bad. I do love the Craigslist and Yahoo ones. That said: they may be good but they may not be right. The ONLY way we’d know if they’re better is to get them on their real canvas in front of their real users. These redesigns are excellent demonstrations of design skill, but they’re not complete demonstrations of design thought. Not while they’re missing information you only get from context.

    I should probably stop these long responses.

  • HemanthMalli

    Not all but few are good like LinkedIn !! Facebook re-design is too bad !!
    http://www.jacksonvillewebdesignservices.com/web-design.html

  • Carly Parker

    I actually like the Google Play unofficial redesign. Resembles the word ‘play’.

  • Vincent Visser

    Cannot agree more with you on this one. http://www.behance.net/nerby

  • Rabbi Hossain

    I only liked the yahoo’s redesign. It seems kinda creative. Other redesigns are very poor. Mostly the facebook redesign was very much poor. I liked that this type of redesign. Because, it can give me a idea about my future designs.

  • OluwaseunLadeinde

    I totally agree with Bogdan. Lots and lots of work and planning goes on for any change whether UX or Functionality. Maybe the first impression of its eye ‘candiness’ would work for sometime but afterwards users begin to get cranky when things used to work properly and were properly laid out in a way the user is used to and all of a sudden a button that used to be big is now smaller and almost invisible. Making a drastic change like many of these designs suggest should be carefully thought through. It could make or break your UX completely. Haven said that much, I think Pizza Hut is simple and the design is quiet usable. Maybe…

  • http://www.stellarbuild.com/ Matthew

    It is really nice to see a new approach on old, but current technologies. It really keeps us on our toes. It would be interesting to see what these companies do.