Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board

Picking a Ship Date

'nother great essay, Joel. Thanks.

Stan Krute
Wednesday, April 10, 2002

One thing I don't necessarily agree with is the total makeover idea for websites (being involved in that area myself).

If you look at something like Amazon, it's more of an evolutionary process of change rather than giant leaps. Bits change here and there but the user is always familiar with the overall Amazon experience.

I agree that if major functionality is to be changed, that may need to be flagged up in some way (prehaps with a new UI or whatever as Joel says), but nothing is more irritating to a user than visiting a site,  discovering that they've completely changed everything and that you now need to 'relearn' the site.

Thursday, April 11, 2002

Joel said:

I figured the whole system would take
six months to deliver. "But let me
suggest something else. Let's get
the templating stuff working first. I can
get you that in 3 months and it will
save tons of manual work right away.
Once that's working we'll start in on
the workflow component; in the meantime
you can continue to do workflow with email."

Why does this sound so familiar to me. It sounds like a product I've been using for the past few months, but I can't quite put my finger on it...

Mark W
Thursday, April 11, 2002

Derek, I remember early on when Amazon was static for what seemed like ages (probably just two months in internet time, I certainly surfed it enough to make it seem like ages) and then unleashed all this new stuff, music, toys etc. I remember wondering if they had inflexible software that they completely recoded and released on the world.

Also, I think Amazon is big enough to apply this philosophy to individual components of the site. The Wish List changed last week (and it's buggy - change from "allow edit" to "don't allow edit" and the numbering starts at 26). They didn't incrementally change the Wish List, they changed the whole wish list in one fell swoop. When I visisted the wish list, I knew it was totally different.

Same philosophy, but applied to a section of the site. Don't get me wrong, I agree with you. To change the whole UI is wrong, however I don't think any designer worth is salt would arbitrarily change the UI. The new UI should be close enough to the old one that it feels familiar even if a few buttons are out of place.

The difference is, that one place where you clicked "tab tab enter" won't be the ONLY thing that's different and you won't end up cancelling your order instead of submitting it.

Mark W
Thursday, April 11, 2002

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home