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> That's a fair point, but also true is "don't let your product stagnate by keeping it familiar and unchanging". People get bored with similarity and want new shiny things.

I disagree. Users want something new if their current software isn't meeting their needs for whatever reason. But if it is meeting their needs and they know how to use it, then keeping that software the same isn't "stagnation", it's stability.

Whenever I hear users ask for change it's because there's a feature they wish they had or a bug that's annoying them. I've never heard anybody ask for change just for the sake of change, or complain that software was boring because it didn't change.

For games I guess it might make sense to keep changing things up just to keep them fresh, but for productivity software I think "boring, predictable, and functional" is the ideal state. Productivity software isn't supposed to be entertaining, it's supposed to be useful.


> Users want something new if their current software isn't meeting their needs for whatever reason.

What if their need is for something new and shiny?

Have you never heard people say they tried Chrome because it was new and shiny (even the word implies shininess)? Or how about how people want to buy the latest iPad or iPhone, it isn't because the old one isn't "meeting their needs" in some boring sense. They want something new and different.

> Whenever I hear users ask for change it's because there's a feature they wish they had or a bug that's annoying them

That is a very simplistic view of users. Users are human beings - they want conflicting things, both for things to work and be predictable, and for things to be new and interesting.

The right tradeoff is the hard part, not absolute black-and-white principles of "users never want change" or "users always want something new and shiny".


I'm banned? (My posts were showing up for me, so I had no idea.)

Did get banned because I broke a rule I wasn't aware of? Or is it that a newly registered account needs to be approved by a moderator before the comments show up?


Yay! You are unbanned now. The spam filtering algorithms are not open source, but I believe they are a bit trigger-happy when it comes to brand new accounts that post a lot of comments at once. My uninformed guess is that you were caught by an overzealous filter.


>The spam filtering algorithms are not open source //

The moderation of this social network is completely opaque and often, it seems, whatever algorithms or feelings the mods use to guide them are wrong. That's probably survivor/selection bias but who's to know ...


> "There's no UI better than one you already know, and no UI worse than one you thought you knew but now haver to relearn."

Yeah, I guess I was overstating the case for rhetorical purposes. I don't think there's never a UI change that improves on what you already know. Once in a while a new interface comes along that's so much more efficient that it's worth retraining yourself. What I'm trying to say is that these changes are rare. I think designers tend to overestimate the benefit of a change and underestimate the power of habituation.

(P.S. thanks for catching my typo ("haver"). Fixed it.)


Hi Smacktoward, I'm the author of the post and I agree with everything you said here.

How to reach out to new users while keeping your existing users happy is one of the oldest and biggest problems in software development. There's no perfect solution, but I like the suggestion of creating a new product name for the new thing. That can sometimes get you into trouble too, as you end up competing with yourself, Microsoft-style, or get users who are confused about which version they should use. But it might be the least bad option.


> I do think that they go half the distance sometimes with their privacy measures - "Do Not Track" is unchecked by default, and Firefox accepts and keeps "Third Party Cookies" until they expire.

There's a good reason "Do Not Track" is unchecked by default. If it was checked by default, then advertisers would have the perfect excuse to ignore it: "oh, that's not really the user's preference, they're just sending that header because their browser sends it by default; let's go ahead and track them."

By making it opt-in, we ensure that a site receiving a do-not-track header knows for sure that it represents an active choice on the part of the user.

You may remember that IE was going to turn it on by default. But then Mozilla and the rest of the do-not-track collaborators explained this principle to them and they went back to off-by-default.

The third-party cookie thing, though, I don't have a good explanation for. When I worked at Mozilla I spent a lot of time trying to convince people that we should block third-party cookies by default. (Especially after I started working on Collusion and saw how prevalent they are.) I kept getting the same response: "We can't block 3rd party cookies, it would break the web."

I don't agree with this, obviously. Before pop-up-blocking became the norm in all browsers, you could have made the argument that pop-up-blocking would "break the web" too. I believe 3rd party cookies are a giant security hole, and breaking sites that use them would be a small price to pay for closing it.

But, I couldn't convince Mozilla of that. It's one of the reasons I decided to leave.

> Are curved tabs really better than rectangular ones?

IIRC from the UI design talk where the new "Australis" redesign was introduced internally, the motivation behind the curved tab redesign was to look "friendlier" and more "organic".

One thing the Australis redesign does which I do think is important is that it finally provides a consistent location for add-ons to add buttons. (The status bar used to be this, but it was hidden in Firefox 4 to recover screen space for content.)


Hi, author of the post here. I never anticipated HN-style traffic on my personal blog. My poor lighttpd server couldn't handle it. I just rebooted; should work now.


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