Users Hate Change

Whenever you launch a new design of an existing product, you’re going to get a lot of complaints from the existing customers. This is just guaranteed. It happens every time, you know, on social media, maybe your customer support line, people are going to complain. How did they find those incompetent designers? I used to like this design and now I hate it. This happens to everybody.

So don’t worry. I’m just going to assume actually for the purposes video that design is good. And you follow the recommended UX process and you did a lot of user testing. So you know that this design is actually more efficient for users and it’s easier to learn. Well, user testing shows as it is to learn for new users, but for the old existing users, the old design is what they know. And so for them, any changes is something new. They had to learn. And people just don’t like to spend time learning. They want to spend their time doing. And so that’s why they’re going to be complaining. And so if those user complaints are not about a lot of very different features at different issues in the design, then just ignored because it happens to everybody. After a few months, most likely people will have adapted and they’re going to like the new design. On the other hand, if all the complaints about the same one thing, then you should probably reconsider that one thing and you should do some more in-depth user research to find out if there’s really a problem there. But how do you overcome that general issue about user complaints and user frustration and users not liking change?

You can’t really overcome it because people just do not like change. But you can reduce the problem so you can have a small migration guide. Now, it does have to be small because users also don’t like to read. But you can say things like the features that used to be down here has now been moved up here, and that’s going to help people kind of adapt to the new design. You can also have a switch that allow people to change back and forth between the old design in the new design. But that’s, of course, only a temporary solution because you kind of support and maintain indefinitely multiple versions of a product. Best way to to reduce the problems with change is to reduce change, not having so many changes by shaping a really great design in the first place. So do a lot of work to really polish and refine and have a really, really wonderful best possible design that you launched in the first place. Don’t have this thinking that, oh, we can ship something as kind of OK and we could always make it better later because all those later changes are going to be detested by your customers.

So if you have a really great design, well, even though the best design after many years, you will have to do a redesign. So you will have that problem. But for quite a number of years, you can get by with just small incremental changes and that’s not going to annoy users nearly as much. So you are going to have much less use of frustration with that strategy.

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