the IdeasBlog



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.

Hope 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 The metaphor is already out-of-date.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