Awful Motors has introduced square wheels, a cool new feature on all of its models. Awful Motors stated in its introduction that round wheels were boring, they just went around and around.
This just in, after thousands of complaints of Awful Motors’ square wheels, the company has announced that by popular demand it will replace the square wheels with octagonal wheels, providing a significantly smoother ride.
Far-fetched? This is not far from the abrupt changes that so many software designers put into their products. A feature was working fine for millions of users, and then some designer has a “better idea”.
Some bothersome changes I’ve found recently are Yahoo! Finance’ rework of its pages and the Star Tribune’s changing relatively simple software to move between the print edition and an expanded article to cluttered software that never seems to work as one would wish. I have no idea how other readers perceive the changes to the Star Tribune, but Yahoo had a page for comments. These comments were almost all negative.
Google once had a simple way of moving from blog authoring to statistics without signing in again. Now one has to log in over and over again and there are several clutter pages between authoring, feed analysis, and income review.
Apple, once the computer for the rest of us, has morphed into guess how this cool new feature works. In the first few years of the Macintosh I was eager for a new version when real advances were made - hard drives, color, drag and drop, and on and on. Now, I update to a major new release only when I buy a new device.
Often I think these changes are not for the benefit of the uses but the employment prospects of the designers.