Changes to user interface

So I'm in a meetign with a senior client (CIO actually), and we've finished working something out on the whiteboard, so I take a photo of it, and whist still continuing to talk to him I "share" the photo to Evernote before I forget. Easy to tag and save it while still talking right? Wrong. The ****ing sons of ******* at Evernote have pushed a whole new UI design and I can't find anything, and suddenly I'm not paying him enough attention and I'm rattled.

Many webby agile designers seem to think this is OK. That users won't mind the look and feel changing unannounced. That they'll be excited because it's novel and fresh. I want to punch them.

About a third of people are technophilic: they like unravelling tech puzzles, learning new things, making stuff work.
Another third can bear IT: they can work it out but they get no kick from it - it just does a job. They're interested only in the result.

And the final third are technophobic: they hate it. They poke until something happens. They get someone to show them the precise sequence of steps to a result, and the moment they fall off that trail they're lost. They fear and swear and struggle to get what they need. I remember a warehouseman on the phone to the service desk, absolutely livid because the button wasn't where it used to be any more. He didn't give a flying fox whether the new design was "better": he knew how to get his job done and IT was just an impediment to doing it which had suddenly got even more annoying.

Almost all IT people are in the first group - that's why we work here. And so many IT people forget the other two thirds exist.

They think everybody queues to buy the latest iPhone. They think everybody will spend hours configuring half a dozen wearables. And they think everybody will love a new UI.

Stop it. You are hurting people.

Google do it all the time: cryptic hidden menus that only appear when you hover over them or hide behind a single tiny triangle, and which change location every now and then.

The Evernote problem I had? You've got to pull the fadurkin' photo downwards! Which exposes an icon marked "i"! Which has the tags behind it. Talk about "beware of the leopard". That designer needs slapping, and so does whoever thought the UI even needed changing at all.

So many IT geeks are puzzled by the hostile reaction to Windows 8. After all it's so much prettier, and it suits new ways of poking at it. I get infuriated by this lack of empathy for the majority of the human race, for whom Windows is not a diversion but a utility.

Change the UI when the business ask for it, and when there is a demonstrable ROI. If you are creating a public tool, change the UI when the users are breaking down the doors demanding it, not when you think it would be cool. Learn from Windows 8.

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