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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Users Hate Change

Jakob Nielsen argues (his emphasis):

Users don’t care about design for its own sake; they just want to get things done and get out. Normal people don’t love sitting at their computers. They’d rather watch football, walk the dog – just about anything else. Using a computer probably rates above taking out the trash, though.

When people are visiting websites or using applications, they don’t spend their time analyzing or admiring the design. They focus their attention on the task, the content, and their own data or documents.

Thus, people love a design when they know the features and can immediately locate the ones they need. That is, they love a familiar design.

In fact, anytime you release a redesign, prepare for a flood of angry email from customers. It’s a law of nature that users hate change, and they’ll complain every time you move anything around or otherwise reduce their ability to just do what they’ve always done.

Nielsen adds, “Having users complain about a redesign doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s bad; if the new design actually has better usability, people will eventually grow to like it.”


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