An underlying assumption of ‘user experience’ is that we are Agents of Change

So, let’s talk about it.

This posting is inspired by (and extracted from) my contributions to a LinkedIn discussion thread “How correct it is to adopt UX/CX best in class trends unilaterally?”  It got me thinkin’…


On the one hand … “Improved is good”

Let’s also admit that improving an existing, well-accepted norm is a heavy lift.


But also … “Change is difficult”

… on general principle – no matter how good the new version is.

keep-calm-it-s-inevitableHope I’m not sounding like too much of a cranky old guy, but Inertia is Inescapable . It can be overcome, but it takes some doing.

Mind you, I’m not arguing against new forms, but feel that introducing a new way (especially of doing something that already ‘ works okay ‘) carries a bigger load than just time&motion improvement.

  • There should be lotsa ‘acceptance’ testing.
  • Plus+ probably investment in ‘handholding the change’.

Statistical observation: With every passing day, there are fewer and fewer “new (i.e. naive, inexperienced) users”.

… which means that we are likely to encounter the overhead of inertia.

And my personal bugaboo:

Nowadays easier-to-use is often in the form of you-don’t-need-to-think-any-more-silver-plattering.

We get the one button data driven by ‘dark decision-making’.

These one-click solutions may represent simplistic ‘ ease of use ‘, but there’s also a loss of autonomy and agency.


Case in point…

Consider the classic “e-mail” icon.

It’s an iconic paper envelope . The metaphor is already out-of-date. Many younger people have never used one. It will soon be a symbol-without-practical-meaning… even though it is an established “standard”.  At what point do we change it? Will the new symbol be object-based – or will it reflect function?  Will everyone agree on the ‘new standard”? Does our ‘e-mailing’ behavior change, as well?

et cetera …


(c) copyright John Vaughan / The Communication Studio