A long-time client called the other day with a problem: their web application has some important functionality that their users were just not noticing and therefore not using. They wanted to re-design the UI for this “problem area” and wanted us to implement it.
We chatted for a while and we were able to convince them that there are a few ways to “skin that cat” in terms of solving the usability issue. We recommended that rather than make a hasty decision, it is better to first have a couple of variations mocked up by a designer, and then usability test those mock-ups with a few customers and/or prototypical end users.
This approach will enable them to see which approach might best solve the UI problem, and get valuable feedback from real customers before investing in the development cycles needed to implement the changes.