Fluent UI Team

In case you were wondering what the FAIL UI team have been upto – looks like they got sub-contracted to ‘help’ Facebook.

Did any of us contact newsbeat about Office 2007?

Has anyone even set up a FAIL UI facebook group?

Being too old for facebook I haven’t looked into it, but did they justify it by using woefully skewed user experience stats? Or too many new features for the old UI? Users couldn’t find existing features? Or did they just fess up and admit it was just to differentiate them from MySpace?



7 Responses to “Fluent UI Team”

  1. Ross Says:

    now there is something going on here, some sort of message; if only i could pick it out,

    Maybe users like things that work, and dont like it when they get changed for on apparent reason? But what the hell do I know?

  2. Johan Says:

    This summer we did a major redesign of a community platform that I work with. The old UI was, well, old. We’ve used frames, fixed font sizes and ad hoc features was scattered in everything but logical places.

    The new UI is without frames, very accessible,much cleaner and features are grouped logically. For new users the new UI is much better and it takes a lot less time to understand how the site and the features work. But the old hardcore users of cause wanted the old UI back. Surprise surprise. Now, three months later everyone seems happy, we’ve had a 25% increase of visits and unique visitors, Google indexes 400% percent more of out pages. There are a lot less question of “how do I do this and that”.

    People don’t handle change that well. Doesn’t matter if it’s Office, Facebook or a system for tickets on the public transportation. It doesn’t really matter if the new version is better or worse than the old one, it’s just the change itself that is bad.

  3. Simon Says:

    With any change there will be roughly 2 sides – those that like it and those that don’t.
    Those that do will argue that the others just hate (/fear) all change.
    Those that dont like the change will say those that do just love all change no matter how frivolous or pointless. Neither is particularly true or helpful.

    The key factors in a business are the numbers in each camp, the strength of feeling on each side and any influence mismatches. The bottom line being the business impact.

    Johan it sounds like your changes worked well for you and your community, well done.

    In the facebook example only 30% (30M) (Facebook numbers) have so far chosen the new UI. Of the 70 Million users who have not switched 1M have joined a protest group.

    According to Charley Kyd ( http://www.exceluser.com/explore/surveys/ribbon/ribbon-survey-results.htm )
    70% are negative on the 2007 UI, 25% positive and 5% don’t care.

    Neither of these sounds like a few hardcore ‘stuck in the muds’ who hate all change. Of course if they continue to use the product/service it doesn’t matter does it? (from a hard nosed business POV). But they aren’t are they? 2007 business deployments are pitiful.

    For me I have found the move to Linux for on line stuff way easier than migrating to Excel 2007 for development.

  4. Johan Says:

    If you have a possibility to switch between the new and old of cause people will use the old if they’re used to that. That doesn’t necessarily make it better.

    It’s always the same. When Google released the new Gmail everyone wanted the old one back. Don’t here much complaining now. The same thing the Google Analytics. And Hotmail. When Microsoft finally put tabs in IE people wanted the IE6 UI back. And… And… And…

    I totally agree that change just for the sake of change is pointless. Standards are great. And sure the old and familiar can be better than new and improved. Take qwerty over dvorak for instance. Dvorak is design to make you type faster, still everyone loves qwerty.

  5. Harlan Grove Says:

    Change for change’s sake vs beneficial change – how to distinguish them?

    Does the new UI make Excel easier to use? Apparently not for long time users. Would they learn it if forced to use it? Almost certainly, in the same way most people who suffer a traumatic limb amputation learn to make do.

    Then there’s the lack of Excel runtime customization using VBA with the new UI. That’s beneficial or productive change?

  6. Simon Says:

    Johan – excellent point about Dvorak (I have a keyboard layout printed out right here – but I have never bothered to remap to try it). I’d imagine it would go some way to reducing RSI too.

    The Dvorak farce illustrates an important point.

    You have to factor in the existing state. as in
    is Dvorak better than qwerty? yes
    is Dvorak better than qwerty for the world of users comfortable with qwerty? No

  7. jonpeltier Says:

    Harlan –

    Even if experienced users learn the ribbon (as I have) they will feel much less efficient, as if working with one hand tied behind their back, with the mouse cord.

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