Users don’t like change, and as a product becomes more popular, users will grow ever more resistant to change.
The entire article (about Facebook’s contentious changes to their News Feed) distills to that one sentence. It’s not a Facebook thing1, it’s a people thing.
Really, I grow tired of all this resistance to change. While I’ve been there too — it’s easy to get habituated — it’s annoying to hear. Microsoft Office 20072, Firefox 3, Safari 4, BlackBerry, iPhone, etc. etc.
It would seem that if people had their way, interfaces would become static (at some unspecified point) and remain there. Rather than fixing quirks, users would simply habituate to them. And there would be little room for innovation.
I understand that designers/engineers don’t always get things right, but especially with computers, there is a lot of change from year to year, and that’s a good thing. An inclination to embrace change would go a long way to enjoying the dynamic world of technology.
But I do understand that Facebook removed functionality in this update, and that is a problem. But a different problem. ↩
I hear complaints about the Ribbon all day at work, worst of all from my coworkers! ↩
I noticed two friends who use their mouse to repeatedly select and deselect text in web browsers as they read pages online. This is absolutely crazymaking for onlookers, but really satisfying for them.
I do this all the time (my favorite way is to triple-click the paragraph) and, yes, it drives people looking at my screen crazy.
Probably the other big one I do is to draw selection rectangles on my desktop or in a file manager window.
It’s inexplicable to me, but Chris mentions some possible reasons:
When I talk to each person about these behaviors, there’s not a lot of conscious decision-making going on here. The web-page-highlighters aren’t intending anything when they do this, it’s just something they enjoy doing. But even though these behaviors don’t help move any tasks or goals along, they’re satisfying. And because they provide a release for nervous energy and/or let us be expressive, they become an extension of ourselves to which we have some small emotional connection.
Ultimately, I don’t really care why, but it’s an interesting thing of note.