Making Drastic Changes to UI: Consumer vs. Business Apps

In last week’s post, I outlined why drastically changing the user interface (UI) is not a good idea.

We received some good feedback on Twitter about this (paraphrased):

Companies such as Facebook are doing drastic UI changes all the time. If it’s good enough for Facebook, isn’t it good enough for most companies?

This is a great question! In this week’s post, I’d like to share my thoughts on this…

Consumer vs. Business Apps

I believe this is an important point for Product Managers and UI Designers to understand…

For consumer apps such as Facebook – while drastic changes to UI will cause some user discomfort, most users seem to get over it. Perhaps it is because such apps are “nice to have” tools for most users – and are unlikely to disrupt most users’ livelihoods.

On the other hand, for business apps such as Accompa – drastic changes to the UI will cause serious disruption to the established workflow of users. As users of business apps rely on such apps to do their day-to-day jobs, causing such disruption will adversely impact their productivity & livelihoods.

Doing drastic UI changes to business apps repeatedly, will adversely impact users’ productivity again and again. Definitely not a good idea!

What Product Managers for Business Apps Should Do Instead

Just to reiterate my previous post, I believe that the best way for Product Managers & UI Designers to approach the scenario (where drastic UI changes are needed) is:

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.

This is why we’ve made this a part of our promise to Accompa customers (see #5 on that page).

Another possible approach was mentioned by Chris Sutton on Twitter:

… offer reimagined experience as beta. Builds excitement, sets expectations, works out kinks. (link)

Whichever approach you end up taking (even if you ultimately decide to go ahead with drastic UI changes) – I urge you to carefully think about & debate this point. And then make a conscious decision – instead of blindly following what Facebook (or anybody else) does!

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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