Learn, adapt and evolve. You are also responsible for a successful user experience.
Software is a tool, a tool that needs to be learned and experimented with. Since the move to cloud-based software and mobile apps, changes and updates appear more often then in the past and users must adapt quickly as well.
It’s no surprise that people don’t like big changes specifically when it’s a software or website change, however they can cope with small, digestible changes if they are open-minded and a bit curious.
There are so many types of people and so many types of applications it’s impossible to please everyone but we can group users and categories basic interface paradigms across desktop and mobile devices to get a better picture of who is using what and who provides constructive feedback.
In the world of app development in particularly experience development (interactions and user-interface) every time a new update is released a large portion of feedbacks are based on an immediate reaction (emotion) to change, an ‘out of the comfort zone’ reaction rather then a constructive feedback after experimenting, learning and adapting.
One of the hardest yet quickest change a company can do to attract and retain clients is to update their product interface. UI and Interaction changes should be part of the company’s brand awareness and user expectations. Obviously each change must be validated and tested but for most parts even small typeface or colour changes seem to users as a positive progress.
When large free online services such as Facebook and Google update their interfaces even if it’s ‘just’ a brand facelift, many users jump of their seats and comment mostly negative comments without even given the change to settle.
When it comes to SASS products especially cloud-based ones that rely on a healthy internet connection and an above average hardware, user feedback to change is crucial for a healthy development progression and user satisfaction. However not all feedback needs to be logged-in and taken seriously. It’s crucial to differentiate between the ones that provide emotional feedback just because they can and the ones that try and test changes and provide tangible feedback.
I am pointing fingers here at users who expect magic to happen without learning and evolving, without updating or using adequate devices to match their daily tasks and in a stroke of a keyboard comment negatively against change. Sometimes it’s your responsibility to adapt the same way you adapt to fashion, cars, appliances etc.
Not every change is good or necessary but change and progress are what makes our society what it is and software experience is part of it.
So next time you update your app or see a change in your favourite online software or website take some time to truly adapt (or not) to the change, try clicking new icons, links and symbols. Use smart filters and search fields and try if you can, to use hardware from this century :-). You might find that spending a little bit more time and attention will free your immediate (mostly) negative feedback.