Product Managers: Why Making Drastic Changes to UI is User-Unfriendly

confused boyThis seems to be a hot trend nowadays at many software companies: Drastically changing the user interface (UI).

In fact, this happened recently to several of the cloud software applications we use internally at our company.

There are many reasons why companies do such major changes: Modernizing the UI, making it prettier, making it more social, making it look more like Facebook/Google+/etc.

While most of these goals are well-intentioned, I believe a lot of the companies are forgetting one important thing…

Don’t Forget the “User” in “User Interface”

When a UI is so drastically changed to a point where experienced users can’t even figure out how to do basic tasks they have been doing for years – that is a very, very bad thing.

This is especially true for cloud software (i.e. SaaS). Why so?

At least with traditional (download & install) software, users can choose when to switch to the new version. With cloud software, users are force-fed the latest version.

What To Do Instead?

I believe the best way for Product Managers & UI Designers to approach this scenario is as follows:

Implement UI changes gradually and over time.

While this makes it harder for those who build the software – it makes it easier for the users.

Gradual changes allow the users to much more easily acclimate themselves to the new UI – over time, and without significant productivity loss. As a result, doing gradual changes to your UI is more considerate & user-friendly.

This is why we’ve made this a part of our promise to Accompa customers (see #5). If you’re a Product Manager or a UI designer – think about this point & make a conscious decision when it comes to major UI redesigns. Your users will thank you!

To your success…

Editor’s Note:
Interested in an affordable, enterprise-quality software to help you manage requirements? Check out FREE 30-Day trial of Accompa or Sign Up for a Demo.

Michael Shrivathsan

I'm your author, Michael Shrivathsan, an expert in product management with successful experience at several innovative companies in Silicon Valley, USA over the past two decades. I'm also a USPTO patent recipient. For my day job, I'm the VP of Product Management at Accompa, we make the popular requirements management software used by Product Management, Business Analysis, and related teams.

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