Curated by Dave Sukowatey
At a recent Product Camp, someone told me about an upcoming “Open Space” UX meetup. I don’t know much about the practice of UX design and was unfamiliar with the ‘Open Space’ concept. Plus, I had never been inside the Sandcrawler building. So I went.
It was my first UX meetup but I posed a question to the attendees anyway.
“How to upgrade a UI? (existing app) All at once (big bang) or little by little?”
I was simply wondering how other companies refresh the UI of their existing product to keep them current when measured against any new UI they’re introducing. Quite shockingly, my question was selected as one of the night’s ten discussion topics! By votes you can see this is quite a popular topic, actually.
I’ve added some color/perspective to a few of the comments that stuck with me:
“Why does looking newer even matter?” This is in response to my premise that new products make existing products look older. Maybe users like the familiarity, however. Since I’m not particularly experienced in UX I left with the impression I may be overly concerned about UI “freshness”.
“Pay attention to the initial comments” In other words, show it to a few prospective users and listen. If they don’t mention it looks old, it may be only you that perceives it this way.
“Maybe just refresh the font/white space/look” Could work. Seems easy enough.
“Good usability is timeless” Don’t chase fads. When the fad is gone you’ll be left with bad usability AND a dated UI.
“Not always possible to achieve incremental improvements” Some products are so old and under so much competitive pressure that being conservative in design is unacceptable.
“Even incremental changes can be big when upgrades are slow.” This would read more clearly as, “When customers only upgrade every 2, 3, or 4 years, they WILL notice a big change in UX even if the changes were phased in slowly.” Unless they upgrade every chance they get, they likely won’t appreciate the increments anyway.
“Induce BIG change as a shock (sticky anyway)” In short, if product is sticky, you’ll anger users for sure but what’s the worst that will happen? At least you’ll make major UI gains, quickly. (Many also added, however, that you better do enough testing to make sure you hit the target or it’s bye bye users – likely for good). This is a bold, risky idea but refreshing and definitely off the beaten path for some.
Last, I loved the Sandcrawler building. Even the elevators are really cool!
Thanks to all of my Open Space participants and thanks for reading,