Every now and again, facebook will change it’s interface. Of course, they are trying to make their user experience better, but every time several thousands users protest the change. Sometimes the same happens with twitter. I have even heard people complaining about the recent changes to weather.com. The interface of any site or app needs to be thought on very careful.
People are habitual
People are very habit forming creatures. Most of the time this behavior enables us to quickly and efficiently do simple tasks such as brush our teeth. Our habit forming nature extents into web use. Once we are familiar with a certain website, we form habits of how we use it. The various tasks on that site we perform are somewhat subconsciously programmed, and we can preform them without much thought.
This is why when facebook (or any other populate web app) changes some people resist the change. They have to think and study the site again to reform their habits of how they use the it. If the changes are for the better, many users will be able to see that reforming their custom of use will be beneficial.
Since people form habits, it’s very important to have consistency across your interface. If your edit function is always a gear icon in the upper right, make sure that every page where there is something to edit has a gear icon in the upper right.
One of the sites that sephone does is mooseswap.com. This site is for people that win Maine’s much desired moose lottery tag. Once you get a tag through the lottery, you can’t win again for a two years, no matter what. This means that every year the users are new, this allows us great flexibility in the interface, so we can change it from year to year to tweak it based on our observations from the previous year. In fact, this site has been quite an experiment in user interface for us.
Your app or site
When working with us to develop your user interface, it’s important to think about how users will use the interface. Nearly every site will have tweaks that come up, these changes should be incorporated as an evolution, not as a change of direction if possible. Of course you can’t of every single contingency, and often times making plans that are too far reaching is detrimental to the interface. Trying too hard can result in “analysis paralysis” where decisions are near impossible to make, but careful though should be given to making a clean flexible interface that can grow with you.